Gilboa Pimping Affair: Israel shouldn't see prostitution as 'normal' - opinion

I am sure that Golda is turning over in her grave, and I hope Ben-Gurion is as well, with the advent of this sick pimping of Jewish Israeli women to Palestinian Arab security prisoners, or at all.

 PIMP? GILBOA Prison warden Freddy Ben-Sheetrit arrives for testimony, in Modi’in, July 26.  (photo credit: FLASH90)
PIMP? GILBOA Prison warden Freddy Ben-Sheetrit arrives for testimony, in Modi’in, July 26.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

​Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion,​ is​ famously quoted as saying, “When Israel has prostitutes and thieves, we’ll be a state just like any other.”

“When Israel has prostitutes and thieves, we’ll be a state just like any other.”

David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel

Ben-Gurion’s vision of Zionism was the creation of a state for the Jewish people to bring about the normalization of the Jews. His normalization means having a country like any other, a great aspiration at the time, considering the urgency to restore the Jewish people to sovereignty in the Land of Israel. His roundly criticized quote suggested that a sign of normalcy would be that the State of Israel had criminals and streetwalkers just as every other country in the world. 

In hindsight, it would have been nice if he had thought of other social problems than those that go against morals and Jewish values.

Prostitution may be normal, but it is not moral, especially with pimping

Maybe prostitution is “normal,” but it’s not moral. It’s not a hook upon which to hang our hats, aspire to, or be proud of, even if it is an unavoidable element of any society. Yes, it’s known as the oldest profession. It’s even biblical, with Judah seeking out the comfort of Tamar, who disguised herself as a prostitute to avoid being identified as his daughter-in-law. As perverse as the scenarios are, somehow something good came from it, since the lineage of David was as a result of their relations. 

Maybe prostitution is “normal.” Maybe even good can come out of it, though I have a hard time explaining how. But in today’s world, it’s not something to promote, aspire to, participate in – or do anything other than save these women from it.

 Gilboa Prison (credit: FLASH90) Gilboa Prison (credit: FLASH90)

And even if it is “normal,” and we want to toss a bone to Ben-Gurion’s intent despite his poor choice of words, certainly pimping is not normal, nor good. Not in any way.

Israel's Gilboa Prison pimping affair

THAT’S ALL I am able to think about while reading the horrific accounts of pimping of female soldiers and guards at an Israeli prison. To be honest, it seems that there are now so many women coming forward that I have a hard time keeping track of who they all are, with the pseudonyms they have all given to protect themselves. Each has scarily similar details. I don’t need to keep score. One is bad enough. Multiple women being pimped out by commanders in the prison is horrifying. 

That these Jewish men in charge of the prisons, and the guards, saw no problem in this is repulsive. It’s about the most disgusting thing that can be done, making it all the worse doing so, with the Palestinian Arab terrorists being the ones to whom the Israeli Jewish women have been pimped. Sold out. Used for sick motives to keep the peace in the prisons. Dishonoring the women. Letting other men see that that is in any way normal. 

No, it’s not. That’s especially the case because these terrorists already think Israel is evil, and this behavior (albeit rare and not representative of Israeli society) gives them a reason to underscore that perception. It’s reprehensible in every imaginable way, and the men involved should be tried and sentenced not just according to the letter of the law in its most harsh reading but according to the morality and justice to which we should aspire as a society. 

When Nazi war criminal and architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, was captured and brought to Israel to face justice, some argued against the death penalty for a variety of reasons. One suggestion was that he be sentenced to live in Israel among the Jews he tried to exterminate, six million of whom perished. At that time, there were many Israelis who bore the tattooed numbers on their arms representing the concentration camps in which they had been interned and somehow from which they miraculously survived. No doubt, the idea of Eichmann living among us, among them, must have sent chills down their spine and caused repeated nightmares. 

Recently, Gilboa Prison warden Freddy Ben-Sheetrit was put on leave, reportedly as a result of his refusal to comply with orders from the northern commander of the Prisons Service regarding the ongoing investigation into the escape of six Palestinian prisoners a year ago. There are other allegations against Ben-Sheetrit, but it doesn’t help that this is the same prison in which allegations of pimping out female soldiers have taken place. 

If it were up to me, anyone among Israel’s Prisons Service found guilty of pimping out Israeli women to Palestinian Arab terrorists, or any other prisoners, should be sentenced to serve their time in the very same prisons. They should share cells with the terrorists, with no access to women. Anywhere. 

No doubt, Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth prime minister, had a close and important relationship. He entrusted Golda with things ranging from secret negotiations with Arabs to raising badly needed funds for the emerging state, serving as ambassador to the Soviet Union and as part of many other delegations overseas. But it seems they disagreed on at least one thing. 

In a 1973 interview, Golda was quoted about the ills of prostitution in Israeli society, representing a position the opposite of Ben-Gurion’s. “I thought that a Jewish state would be free of the evils afflicting other societies: theft, murder, prostitution… But now we have them all. And that’s a thing that cuts to the heart.”

“I thought that a Jewish state would be free of the evils afflicting other societies: theft, murder, prostitution… But now we have them all. And that’s a thing that cuts to the heart.”

Golda Meir, fourth prime minister of Israel

I am sure that Golda is turning over in her grave, and I hope Ben-Gurion is as well, with the advent of this sick pimping of Jewish Israeli women to Palestinian Arab security prisoners, or at all. May we never see such gross “news” or begin to think this is normal ever again. ■

The writer immigrated to Israel from the US in 2004. He writes for many prominent Christian websites from an Orthodox Jewish perspective, as well as hosts the Inspiration from Zion podcast. He can be reached at [email protected]