First Lady Mrs. Nehama Rivlin met Monday with women who were victims of sexual assault or abuse, who chose to tell their stories through a special cover story in Monday's issue of La-Isha women's magazine which was devoted to the subject in honor of International Women's Day.
The 22 women who were interviewed for the project entitled "You cannot force us to stay silent" (which in Hebrew literally translates to "You cannot rape us to silence") represented the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet – which are usually used instead of the victim's name in public cases of sexual assault. Sixteen of these women attended the meeting with the President's wife, and took the unusual step of revealing their identities.
Mrs. Rivlin said, "The meeting with you has been an experience. In my eyes, you are heroes and are brave; you urge yourselves to go on despite the painful wound. There is an earthquake happening within Israeli society regarding the willingness of women who were hurt, harassed, and the victims of sexual violence to speak out and attest in order to prevent the next victim. Hardly a day or week goes by without a courageous woman getting up and removing the veil. We almost always discover that she was not alone, that the assailant also attacked other friends or colleagues."
The 16 participants attending the meeting – Ruth Okashi, Karin Hodaya Shimoni, Mali Lev Marcus, Maya Ohev Ami, Daphna Argaman, Patricia Dor, Becky Seidman, Frida Mitelpunkt, Talia Weinberger, Shani Shtalryd, Uri Caspi, Rotem Elisha, Aude Abitbol, Keren Estrin, Racheli Greenberg and Adi Tannenbaum, introduced themselves and each in turn told the story of the sexual assault they endured, the strength and energy they required to reveal their stories, and the power the exposure gave them after which they felt proud of themselves.
Arutz Sheva noticed, however, that all of the women featured in the La-Isha article – which is modeled after a similar initiative by New York Magazine – are Jewish, and that none of the attackers are identified as non-Jews – except in one case, which involved abduction by two armed local men in Papua New Guinea.
This is odd, because it is a generally well-known fact that non-Jewish populations – especially Muslim Arabs and infiltrators from Sudan and Eritrea – are far more brutal and abusive toward women than Jews are, and that many of their victims are Jewish. Therefore one would expect at least some representation of victims of these populations, in a representative sampling of assault victims.
It has been reported numerous times, especially by Arutz Sheva, that women in southern Tel Aviv are afraid to leave their homes because of predatory behavior by the large infiltrator community that resides there.
Similar fear governs the lives of female students at the Mount Scopus Campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, French Hill and numerous other communities in Israel that border on hostile Arab communities. And yet, the women's movement and its Knesset representatives do not speak out about the suffering endured by these populations.
We asked the Presidents’ Office to comment, and were advised to ask the PR firm that works with La-Isha on the project. We did so and were told that all of the women in the project are, indeed, Jewish.
We asked why this is so and whether any of them were assaulted by non-Jews. The PR firm was upset with the questions but promised to answer them and we will bring their response when we receive it.