The alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by around 30 men in the resort of Eilat on the Red Sea has sparked outrage and protests across the country in Israel.
Reports that the alleged perpetrators, allegedly over 20 years old, were queuing outside a hotel room where the minor was waiting for her turn to take advantage of her drunken state, led to Thursday in several Israeli cities Protests.
According to the country's Channel 13 news, the girl told investigators, “The next day one of the young men came up to me and told me he had videos. He asked if I wanted him to send it to me, but I was unable to handle it. & # 39;
Police said two suspects have since been arrested and the videos have since been deleted from suspects' phones, the news report said.
"Two suspects were arrested in connection with an incident in Eilat that involved a 16-year-old teenager," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
Protesters have taken to the streets in cities across Israel to express their outrage at the news that a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped by up to 30 men who were queuing outside a hotel room waiting for their turn . Pictured: Protesters gather in Tel Aviv's Habima Square
The girl told police investigators that one of the suspects in the case texted her and said he had video footage of the alleged attacks. Two suspects have since been arrested, but the videos have been reportedly deleted. Pictured: Someone holds up a sign in Habima Square in Tel Aviv that reads “30 men in line to rape a girl”
Speaking of how encouraged by the public support she has received, the girl first reported the alleged crime to Eilat police last week, but the case had previously gone largely unnoticed.
In addition to those who supported her, the girl said she received abuse online too. "I feel like there are a lot of people behind me and that really strengthens me," she said, but added, "Nobody knows what I've been through. So how do you judge and ask me questions?" according to channel 13.
As more information emerged, protests in major cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Thursday evening prompted Israeli leaders – including the president and prime minister – to speak out against crimes against women.
"It's shocking – there is no other word for it," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that all suspects be brought to justice. "It is not just a crime against a young girl, it is a crime against humanity itself that must be condemned by all of us."
President Reuven Rivlin wrote an open letter to the youth of Israel: "Sexual assault, rape, sexual exploitation, sexual violence – these are some of the stains that cannot be erased," he said. “These are cases of unforgivable loss of boundaries and they destroy us as a society. As people. & # 39;
Netanyahu's coalition partner and Defense Minister Benny Gantz asked, “What is a man who stands with dozens of others on his way to a room where a young, disoriented girl is lying down and trying to prove herself?
"The police investigation is still ongoing, but it is important that I convey a message to those who have participated or testified in this or other cases: the only thing you have proven is what the depravity of your soul and Morale you are able to. "
Thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest across the country. Hundreds gathered in Habima Square in Tel Aviv, along with people in over 30 other areas of Israel, to demonstrate their support for the girl.
In the picture: A view of the northern beach of Eilat – a famous holiday and recreation city in Israel, where the alleged rape is also raped
In over 30 areas of Israel, including Habima Square in Tel Aviv (picture), people took to the streets to demonstrate their support for the girl. Lots of signs saying "We believe you". Similar signs were halted last year after a British girl alleged she was raped by a group of young Israeli men in Cyprus but was instead charged with lying
Pictured: A woman in Habima Square in Tel Aviv holds a sign that reads "Do not be raped" with crosses through "Get" and "D" to change the sign to "Do not rape" and target the act the guilt of the victim. Every fifth woman, Isreal, has been raped in her lifetime, according to women's rights group HaStickeriot
The demonstrators united under the motto "We will not be silent anymore". Around 1,000 in the capital – where demonstrators temporarily blocked traffic – 150 in Jeruselam and more in Givatayim, Haifa and elsewhere.
Ilana Weizman of the women's rights group HaStickeriot said one in five Israeli women was raped while she was alive. 260 cases were reported daily.
"We need to educate our boys about consent … from a very young age," she said.
Many protesters referred to a case last year when a 19-year-old British woman alleged that she had been raped by 12 Israeli men aged 15 to 18 in a hotel in Cyprus. All 12 were initially arrested but released shortly afterwards.
She was later found guilty of rape and sentenced to a four-month suspended sentence. However, the case was convicted by women's rights groups, and the woman's lawyer said she had appealed her conviction.
The protest organizers said Thursday: "This case does not stand alone and is a direct continuation of the way in which the Ayia Napa 'youth' were received and a direct continuation of the public discourse on the soccer player affair."
According to an annual poll published last year, nine out of ten rape cases in Israel are closed by prosecutors without charge. Pictured: A woman holds a sign in Habima Square on Thursday evening as thousands take to the streets of Israel in protest
Protesters united under the slogan "We will not be silent anymore" while others carry signs saying "You are not alone". Pictured: protesters in Habima Square on Thursday evening
So far, two people have been arrested in Israel in connection with the case. Pictured: a protester wearing a mask in Tel Aviv's Habima Square on Thursday evening
In the most recent case, a suspect told investigators that a large group of men had sex with the girl but claimed it was consensual, according to the Times of Israel, while the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. made claims that some of the men allegedly filmed the attacks on their cell phones.
The first suspect was reportedly arrested after news emerged indicating that there was video footage of the alleged rape.
Police say the girl was not a guest at the hotel but went to the bathroom after drinking with some of her friends there. She was then allegedly taken to one of the hotel rooms and raped by the group of men who did not all know each other.
One suspect alleged the men "lined up" outside the girl's room before going in to attack her.
Another of the alleged attackers reportedly entered the girl's room under the pretext of being a paramedic trying to help and then "took advantage of her and slept with her when she got out of hand," said an Israeli friend of the girl Watch TV.
Authorities are now awaiting the results of a medical examination while a man has been ordered by a district court to remain in custody.
Local media said the suspect was a 27-year-old from northern Israel while a second suspect, also 27, was arrested this morning.
"Right now we have two suspects, but it is still the beginning of a complex investigation," an official involved in the investigation told Channel 12.
“We have an indication that there were several people in the same room. We don't currently know how accurate they are. At this point in time, we also don't know what everyone who was there did. & # 39;
Police have formed a special team to investigate the gang's alleged rape.
Israeli police investigate allegations that a 16-year-old girl was raped by 30 men in the coastal town of Eilat (file photo)
However, the owner of the Red Sea Hotel where the alleged attack took place – Pnina Maman – said there was no evidence of a large gathering. She told Channel 12 that she had made all CCTV footage available to the police and found that it did not show any groups of 30 people.
She told the news network that she had children of her own and had sympathy for the girl. She also complained that people were shaming the hotel and that she had received threats of rape in the course of the reports.
“We are a hotel, not an educational institution. I am not guilty of what happened. There were never 30 people in the hallways. We checked all the cameras. There was no meeting. Unfortunately, that could have happened in any hotel, ”she said.
"We have no way of knowing what is going on in the rooms," added Maman.
Earlier on Tuesday, an official involved in the case told Walla News, "It is not possible that there was massive alcohol consumption and men pacing up and down in groups – and that (at the same time) no one was in the hotel management or security didn't pay any attention. & # 39;
One of the arrested suspects said while more than 30 men had sex with the girl, the footage from surveillance cameras would prove that it was not done under duress – and that the men stood at the door waiting for their turn to come while the girl he says he was drunk and asked her to come in.
The other suspect has denied involvement, according to Channel 12 news.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) said the alleged rape was "not just a crime against the girl … it is a crime against humanity".
The first suspect was arrested after text messages were discovered between him and the girl, which revealed that there was video evidence of the alleged attack. However, he has denied telling the girl that someone else was using his phone.
According to an annual poll published last year, nine out of ten rape cases in Israel are closed by prosecutors without charge. The survey also found a significant increase in people reporting sexual assault and harassment to the authorities.
A separate report The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel found that police opened 6,220 investigations into alleged sex crimes and harassment in 2018, including 1,166 investigations into alleged rape.
This corresponds to an increase of 12 percent compared to the previous year and an increase of 40 percent compared to 2013.
In addition, in the midst of an ascent In high-profile group rape cases in Israeli schools, the report found that 63% of victims who reported group rape in 2018 were girls between the ages of 12 and 18.
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