In light of what is happening to non-Muslim women in the Islamic State, where a single captive Yazidi or Christian woman often becomes the sex slave of an entire ISIS platoon, the absence of war-related rapes among IDF soldiers is a source of frustration for Palestinians and their supporters.
Two years ago, a young Israeli student at Hebrew University attempted to address this issue in her thesis.
The student’s conclusion was that IDF soldiers don’t rape because they are racists. “It is impossible to rape someone who is not human,” she wrote. This young woman’s perverted determination was that “just as Serbians formed their identity by publicly gang-banging Bosnian women, Jewish men define their unique identity as non-rapists … rape and non-rape are two sides of the same coin.”
Confusing the issue, some take the opposite approach. In a lecture to students at Oranim College a month ago, Israeli Arab teacher Naila Awad, who runs the organization “Women Against Violence,” claimed that Israeli soldiers are sexually abusing Palestinian women.
When asked where she had gotten this information, Awad insisted, without referring to any specific documentation, that “there are many studies that prove that IDF soldiers are sexually abusing and raping Palestinian women in the West Bank.” In unprecedented disciplinary action, Awad was suspended following a loud student outcry.
Awad responded with a weird reference to the Bible. “During war,” she said, “[Jewish] men can take women,” implying that Jews are actually encouraged to rape the women of the enemy. This same argument surfaced about two weeks ago in “Days of Palestine,” an online Palestine publication claiming to specialize in providing first-hand news.
The website regurgitated a 2012 article entitled “Israeli rabbi: Israeli soldiers can rape Palestinian women” by radical Israeli blogger Yossi Gurvitz, who himself had dug up some religious discussion that took place nine years earlier (so much for “first-hand news”).
Days of Palestine then claimed that “Israeli Rabbi Col. Eyal Qarim of the Israeli Military Rabbinate had permitted Israeli Jewish soldiers to rape Palestinian women.”
The obvious question that should follow is, why then, despite this permission, are Israeli soldiers not raping anyone? Like the deranged Hebrew U. “scholar,” detractors would probably answer that Palestinian women disgust the racist Israeli soldiers. Bizarre as it is, in this argument Palestinians are actually taking offense at their women being undesirable to the enemy.
Either way, Israel is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t.
Following Gurvitz’s insidious allegations, a senior Military Rabbinate official issued a short response, which was promptly ignored by those perpetuating the notion that non-rape is rape. “Basic human morality,” he said, to state the obvious, “as well as Torah, Halacha and army policy prohibit rape and denounce this vile phenomenon.”
Awad’s biblical reference deals with the rules of war concerning captive women (Deuteronomy 21:10-11). One does not have to be particularly bright to ascertain that the full passage, in complete contrast to the violence and degradation involved in rape, commands Israeli soldiers to show restraint and treat captive women with utter respect.