Israel says woman raped by British is war vet

Woman kept incident a secret until blurting it out in 1993 while watching TV program on rape.

british soldiers in palestine 88 (photo credit: )
british soldiers in palestine 88
(photo credit: )
Israel's Defense Ministry said Tuesday that it would recognize a Jewish underground activist raped by her British captors 60 years ago as a disabled war veteran. Israel Radio said the unnamed woman was 14 when she was caught by British forces in Tel Aviv distributing flyers for the LEHI militia, which fought British rule in Palestine until the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. It said the British beat her legs and interrogated her about hideouts, radio transmitters and arms dumps used by LEHI, known to the British as the Stern Gang after its founder, Avraham Stern. The woman's daughter Navah told the radio that when her mother refused to give information, British officers raped her. She said her mother kept the incident a secret until blurting it out while watching a TV program on rape in 1993. "She suddenly said, 'I went through the same thing'. I was in total shock," the daughter said, adding that her mother had always been remote, afraid to leave the house and had suffered leg pains. Today, the mother is confined to a wheelchair. After the mother's revelation, the family started lobbying for her to be classified as a wounded veteran, which carries recognition of sacrifice to the state as well as welfare benefits. Fifteen years later the government recognized her claim. "Some people carry these things in silence for many years, then it takes a long time to check them out," Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said. He said a medical committee would convene on Wednesday to rule on the precise level of her disability. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment.