Gender Equality

SDG 5 – Femicide Against Women in Israel

“An eyewitness told police in the past few days that she had seen the gang rape and murder of a young woman hiding from Hamas terrorists who were wearing military uniforms. ‘They bent someone over,’ the witness said. ‘I realized he was raping her and passing her on to someone else also in uniform.’ The witness said that subsequently one of the rapists shot the young woman in the head, and several of the terrorists mutilated her body.”

Take a moment. Like us, you might also need to fight back the tears aroused by this testimony from a recent “Haaretz” report about Hamas terrorists’ acts of sexual assault and abuse of Israeli women during its October 7 attack.

Don’t accept the report? Hopefully you’ll believe this captured Hamas terrorist, who recounted what they planned to do with the women: “to dirty them – rape them.” Still not convinced? Listen to this terrorist corroborate the statement.

Take another moment. This is not going to be an easy read.

By now there is plentiful evidence that Hamas committed rape and other forms of sexual violence against Israeli women; this fact has been confirmed by every possible source – from eye-witness accounts to forensic investigations.

So why are advocates for women silent? 

That is the question prominent Israeli women’s rights activists – a group known to reach out to suffering women the world over – have been asking since the attack. Their frustration with the silence is exacerbated by lukewarm declarations – such as the Gaza-centric “UN Women” statement, worded as if the fact that women in Israel – including foreign nationals from Sri Lanka and the Philippines – were murdered, kidnapped, sexually assaulted and separated from their children has nothing to do with them.

SDG 5 - Femicide Against Women in Israel - Social Impact Israel
@Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi: "The terrorist attack at the Nova music festival"

Undaunted, Israeli women’s rights frameworks are raising their voices in the hope of righting this wrong. The relevant Israel government minister sent an urgent letter to an array of international bodies, calling for immediate action while emphasizing the Geneva Convention stipulations meant to protect women caught up in armed conflict. The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel demanded (Hebrew) that the International Red Cross act immediately. The Israel Women’s Network joined the calls for condemnation.

So far, the needle hasn’t moved.

For that part of the world that likes to view itself as enlightened, let’s be clear: Hamas committed femicide.

This fact dovetails even with the UN’s own definition, which very much characterizes the crimes of Hamas – a terrorist group with medieval ideology and 21st-century weaponry.

Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those murdered – including the family of Shani Louk, 22, beheaded by Hamas after her body was paraded in the streets of Gaza to cheering crowds.

Our prayers are with the kidnapped – including Noa Argamani, 26, whose chilling cry “Don’t kill me!” continues to reverberate; and Naama Levy, 19, an activist in the “Hands of Peace” NGO who was displayed – her pants covered in blood – like an object to amused Gazans.

Hamas violated women and girls in Israel on a massive scale on October 7. Silence is violence when it comes to all of them – as much as to any one of their sisters anywhere in the world.

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