Prosecutors have charged 11 suspects in the alleged gang rape of an Israeli teenager that has rattled the entire nation and sparked protests and fierce condemnations from the highest levels of government.
Four of the suspects are facing rape charges connected to the alleged attack, which took place last month in a hotel in the resort town of Eilat, the Guardian reported late Wednesday. The rest are dealing with assorted charges, including committing indecent acts.
Eight of the defendants are minors, Haaretz reported. As of last week, police had identified 17 suspects and arrested 13 over the incident.
The case has led thousands of Israelis to take to the streets to protest sexual violence, particularly after a suspect in the case alleged that around 30 men had lined up outside the intoxicated 16-year-old girl’s hotel room and waited their turn with her. About 2,000 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv last month. Workers also went on a half-hour strike.
A suspect who’d flirted with the girl and been rejected by her pretended to help her after she fell, according to Haaretz. He claimed to have medical training and took her into a room, where he and an accomplice allegedly raped her.
“At this point, the rumor spread in the hallway that there was a naked girl that was being screwed, and the flies started gathering very quickly around the room and swarming outside it,” a source told Haaretz. One of the suspects allegedly remained in the room throughout the rapes.
A friend of the girl eventually helped her leave, after the friend saw that someone was naked in the room, Haaretz reported. The girl and the friend did not put together what had happened until a few days later, when one of the alleged perpetrators texted her and said there were recordings.
Police believe they have obtained all copies of the recordings, but there’s no way to know for sure, according to the Times of Israel.
Late last month, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote in an open letter on Facebook in response to the incident, the Times of Israel reported. In the letter, he admitted, “I no longer have words in the face of the horror that was reported in the gang rape in Eilat.”
“Sexual assault, rape, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, are stains that cannot be erased,” he went on. “These are instances of unforgivable loss of boundaries and are destroying us as a society. As humanity.”
“This is shocking. There is no other word,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted. “This is not only a crime against the girl, this is a crime against humanity itself that is worthy of all condemnation and those responsible must be brought to justice.”
In 2018, Israeli police investigated more than 6,200 allegations of sex crimes and harassment, in a 40% spike from 2013, a report by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel found last year. Israeli prosecutors also close nine out of 10 rape cases without filing charges, the report found.
Cover: Hundreds of Israelis protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, following the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old Israeli girl by a group of males last week. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)