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Levels of Sexual Violence in Israel

A number of Israeli male commenters have objected to my characterization of the high level of sexual violence against women in Israel.  I promised I would provide some sources and statistics to support my claims.  The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel presents findings for 2007 which indicate nearly 9,000 cases of reported sexual assault (of which one-third were rape).  I presume this is the number of reports the Centers received and not the total number of all cases reported to the police or social workers.  But it is still a good indication of the prevalence of the phenomenon in society.  It should also be kept in mind that the vast majority of rapes and sexual violence are not reported to anyone by the victim, so we can assume that there are many more cases than those reported.  Here are some figures (Hebrew) maintained by the Knesset.

Statistics prepared by the United Nations indicate Israel’s 2009 per capita (per 100,000 women) incidence of rape is 17.6.  The following western countries report rates lower than Israel’s: Canada, Finland, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Spain, and Switzerland.  There were a number of western countries reporting rates higher than Israel.  My impression is that these countries aggressively encourage women to report and prosecute those who are accused of the crime.  If women feel they will be further victimized by reporting, as they do in Israel and many other nations, they simply prefer, as a rule, to keep their suffering to themselves.  Countries reporting higher rates were: United States, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Iceland, New Zealand, and Britain.

I’ll close this post by quoting a female friend of mine who grew up in Israel and lived there for several decades before moving to the U.S.

I do not recall meeting even one woman in Israel who was not harassed (at the very least).

To be clear, this does not mean that Israel has a problem other countries don’t.  It means that Israel has a seriously misogynist culture that allows some men to feel entitled to harrass and abuse women and it means that the police and courts don’t, as a rule, do enough either to protect female victims, or to prosecute and convict perpetrators.  It doesn’t mean the same problems don’t exist elsewhere.  But it does mean that Israelis, especially men, need to face up to this culture and do what they can to change it instead of burying their heads in the sand as a good number do.

One way to encourage more women to report sexual violence in Israel is to do away with gag orders that protect the identity of the suspect.  As it is, the playing field is not level.  It needs to be.

 

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{ 45 comments… add one }

  • fuster April 26, 2011, 6:16 PM

    great points.

    sexual harassment of women is a feature of all nations having a majority of citizens who practice or identify with one of the three major monotheistic religions. the worst offenders are in the newest of the three, followed by the second, but of all the world’s nations having a majority of the oldest, Israel has has highest level of harassment.

    • Richard Silverstein April 26, 2011, 8:36 PM

      Hey, this is not a stand-up comedy tryout. Or did you get mixed up about where you are? The ‘wit’ is falling flat.

      • fuster April 26, 2011, 10:24 PM

        Richard, you’re ideas about levels of sexual violence are entirely off the wall.

        It’s way too complex a subject for the anecdotal nonsense that you fooling with.

        • Richard Silverstein April 27, 2011, 10:11 PM

          I’ve presented evidence not anecdotes. You’ve presented bupkis.

          • fuster April 28, 2011, 2:26 PM

            Richard, what you’ve presented is a statistic and an impression/conclusion of an individual. This indeed is evidence, but it’s paltry and far from sufficient support for your conclusion of a “seriously misogynist culture”.
            unless, of course, you consider all the world’s cultures to be seriously misogynistic, Israel is, de facto and de jure, far better than the others in the Middle East and generally unexceptional.

          • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 8:21 PM

            No, not “a statistic.” But two different set of authoritative statistics, one Israeli and one international. It isn’t paltry nor “far from sufficient.” Only insufficient for you. But persuading you isn’t my business or anything I have any interest in.

            If you were an Israeli women you wouldn’t need to have explained to you why Israel is a seriously misogynist culture, which is why I quoted an Israeli woman who lived there for several decades & had scores of Israeli female friends, virtually all of whom had been harrassed or worse (her words). But since you’re a male and used to your male privilege, of course you can’t put yrself in the position of such a woman because it would require empathy of which you seem incapable.

            I’m not sure saying Israel is “unexceptional” is much of a recommendation.

          • fuster April 28, 2011, 10:37 PM

            —-I’m not sure saying Israel is “unexceptional” is much of a recommendation.—-

            it’s not. Israel has a usual problem and all it has to point to in it’s favor is that it’s light-years ahead of the rest of the neighborhood.

  • Duhay April 26, 2011, 8:52 PM

    Just a thought, maybe these “Israeli male commentors” would not object so strongly if you dont make this such a one sided criticism of Israel.
    One thing is for certain, Israel’s system may not be perfect, but it is an environment where a wmona can come forward and her identity will be protected and she will have her day in court. Israel, for all your criticism, is also a society, be it macho etc etc, that is progressing to the positve relative to woman’s rights.
    Contrast that to the society in Gaza, where you have a government sanctioned Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. The judging by the laws they are apparently trying to instill and enforce it is only a matter of time where rape victims there will be marched out at half time of soccer games and executed.

    I think for the sake of Tikun Olam, it may be beneficial for you to use your platform to draw attention to that situation with as much vigor as you bring to this current case…unless your only intention is to bring to light every single blemish of Israeli society.

    • Richard Silverstein April 27, 2011, 10:25 PM

      a wmona can come forward and her identity will be protected and she will have her day in court.

      But that’s not true. A woman may not get her day in court because of gags like this. Israel may be making progress toward women’s rights but it isn’t making progress quickly enough. My goal is to point that out.

      As for the rest of yr comment…it’s a non sequitur. I don’t judge Israel by Hamas’ standards. I judge Israel by western democratic standards and it’s found wanting in many respects.

      Stay on topic.

      • Duhay April 28, 2011, 10:39 AM

        So then why not judge Hamastan (Gaza) by those same standards in this and every other thing you post here.
        Why the double standard?

        • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 11:29 AM

          Hamastan

          Such a term is prejudicial, borderline racist, a non sequitur, & a comment rule violation. Read the rules and follow them. Consider this a warning.

  • Iron clad logic April 26, 2011, 9:56 PM

    Factually, what you have stated is that some countries have higher reported incidence of rape then Israel, and some have a lower rate.

    You later quote a lady you know claims most Israeli woman have been harassed. fair enough, even though I have a personal friend who has been to every country in the world and subsequently told me no Israeli woman has ever been harassed. I ersonally tend to take her word for it, as she has been to every country, and she is MY personal friend. convincing, right?

    However, there seems to be a leap of faith you take from these facts to your conclusions:
    You argue, following your “impression” that other countries encourage rape victims to complain, thus implying that that is not the practice in Israel. Is it? isn’t it? who knows.

    Later you argue, with no basis at all, that “the police and courts don’t, as a rule, do enough either to protect female victims, or to prosecute and convict perpetrators.” maybe this is true, and maybe it isn’t. but It is not backed by anything you said earlier.

    I too wish Israel was a better place for all its residents. but it isn’t the worst place, either: not even in the western world.

    • Richard Silverstein April 27, 2011, 10:19 PM

      I have a personal friend who has been to every country in the world and subsequently told me no Israeli woman has ever been harassed. I ersonally tend to take her word for it, as she has been to every country, and she is MY personal friend. convincing, right?

      Er, no…not convincing at all. How would she know “no Israeli woman had every been harrassed?” Does she know every Israeli woman?

      implying that that is not the practice in Israel. Is it? isn’t it? who knows.

      I’d say that Israeli women would know far better than you. Have you been a rape victim in Israel?

      you argue, with no basis at all, that “the police and courts don’t, as a rule, do enough either to protect female victims, or to prosecute and convict perpetrators.” maybe this is true, and maybe it isn’t.

      Actually, again, only an Israeli male could say that. An Israeli woman wouldn’t be stupid enough to say this with a straight face since she’d know otherwise. Why don’t you try seeing how the other half lives sometime. Why don’t you volunteer at an Israeli rape crisis center? Shall I give you a link to the website?

      it isn’t the worst place, either: not even in the western world.

      I didn’t say that either. I said it could be better, far better.

      • Iron clad logic June 1, 2011, 5:12 AM

        My point was that you take solid data which does not make Israel stand out, and add enough innuendo and hearsay to make Israel look bad. when I tried to make that point, you suggest there is something wrong with me. there is no arguing with a fanatic.

  • free man April 26, 2011, 11:17 PM

    We’re going low now are we ?
    So other western countries who has lower rate are OK and for countries with higher rate, we say that woman in Israel are more afraid to report.
    That is the best you can do to smear Israel ?
    How are they afraid ? When you have an Israeli president thrown out of office and convicted for such crimes, while the US president went clean on similar charges.
    Sorry, very poor, the gag order reports are much better. You should continue to do what you’re good at.

  • Job April 27, 2011, 3:14 AM

    It is a real problem in Israel. There are some misogynistic aspects in our society (some of which are closely related to the substantial role the inherently misogynist military establishment has in Israeli culture). However I would have to agree with free man above. It’s quite a logical leap to assume that all of these countries are rated higher than Israel because their governments deal with the subject better. What prevents us from assuming that the situation in Israel is the same as in Belgium or New Zealand, or that the women of Chile are just as afraid to come forward as Israeli women? Just to be clear, I’m not arguing on the facts or on the Israeli situation as you described it. I’m addressing your parallel to other countries.

    • Richard Silverstein April 27, 2011, 5:16 PM

      Two things encourage women to come forward in other western countries: first a police force that takes their complaints more seriously & a society that responds to their plight with more sympathy. You simply don’t have that in Israel on either account.

      • free man April 27, 2011, 10:41 PM

        That is so untrue.
        The police take it very seriously. Israel president was thrown out of office and convicted of rape, cause he claimed “he did not have sex with that woman”, while US president continued like it never happened. In Israel, when a superior takes advantage of a subordinate, he is very close to being automatically convicted if the woman files a complaint.

        In addition, the society does not look kindly on these people.

        • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 1:10 AM

          The police take it very seriously.

          Is that why a police officer told Hadas Shtaif that the alleged rape victim in the Even case was full of shit (& Shtaif essentially reported it on her Facebook page). Yeah, Israeli police are deeply sensitive creatures I know. We’ve heard all the stories about their level of empathy for victims. Read the blog post I wrote in which I translated Eyal Niv-Clyne’s amazing catalogue of police transgressions (including rape).

          • y April 29, 2011, 4:29 AM

            Is that why a police officer told Hadas Shtaif that the alleged rape victim in the Even case was full of shit

            Richard, you write ur reports in this case while assuming even is guilty. The problem is, the “rape victim” in this case really might have been “full of shit”, or in nicer words – lying. Of course this doesnt settle with what u want ot believe in – shauvinist Israel, where “powerfull” men like yoav even can rape whoever they want, nefilim from bereshit book style.
            How many times will people here have to write to you yoav even is not considered a known jouranilst by anyone here? How many times we will have to remidn u shery arisons husband, president kazav, and the general who was supposed to become the chief of the local police?

          • Richard Silverstein April 29, 2011, 3:37 PM

            ONce again & for the 20th time, I assume that he MIGHT be guilty, not that he IS guilty. YOu are falsely portraying my views & that is why you are moderated. If you were an Israeli woman you’d realize there is much more truth to your statement than you can conceive that Israeli men, especially powerful ones, get their way often in sexual encounters whether the women consents or not.

            yoav even is not considered a known jouranilst by anyone here?

            More hyperbole showing yr bad faith. If he is the health reporter for one of Israel’s leading TV channels how can he be “unknown by anyone?” You’re making yrself out to be ridiculous.

            The fact that a few powerful men have been accused of rape or convicted of rape does not mean there is no problem of sexual violence in Israel or that powerful men are always accountable for their sexual behavior. The opposite is likely true. These few are the tip of the iceberg. After all, only 50-60% of all rapes are ever reported let alone prosecuted according to NGO statistics.

          • y April 29, 2011, 10:05 PM

            YOu are falsely portraying my views & that is why you are moderated

            I am not. You are just not expressing urself very well, or have some secret agenda thats beyond me or anyone else here. Posting pictures of Yoav Even and mocking his appereance and his self confidence shows very clearly your position. This is exactly why there should be a gag order in such cases. What do u expect that will happen when people see ur comment on his picture? You are writing from an obvious anti-yoav even position without even knowing if hes guilty or not. What is the point of all of ur posts on the subject? if its about the gag order only – why there was a need to post his pictures and laugh at his machoism and self confidence?

            The fact that a few powerful men have been accused of rape or convicted of rape does not mean there is no problem of sexual violence in Israel or that powerful men are always accountable for their sexual behavior.

            Of course it doesnt, but it proves ur theory about powerfull men doing whatever they want without being punished is simply not true, just like the numbers u provided. Yet, for some reason you need to go the extra mile and prove to all the situation here is worse. Why? Because ur friend who used to live here claims so? You claim so many times people lie about ur views are falsely portraying them – so please, explain what was the point of this clearly un-based post.

            As of yoav even being known or uknown – this is a silly arguemnt. Let me put it this way: I knew who he was, though i probably wouldnt have recognized him without the picture. Even on channel 2 he is not quiet the most famous reporter, and generally speaking – i dont think anyone but you considers reporters here as powerfull people, especially not someone who reports about health issues.

          • Richard Silverstein April 30, 2011, 10:00 PM

            Posting pictures of Yoav Even and mocking his appereance and his self confidence shows very clearly your position.

            Only to you does it show my position clearly. My comments were purely about the photos themselves & were in fact rephrasings of comments found in Rotter. I never stated that Even was guilty of rape. If you made the leap it was your own doing & due to yr lack of comprehension of what I wrote or of your bad faith in interpreting it. And Even posted the photos, not I. If you have a beef w. anyone it should be w. him & not me. He left himself open to the ridicule by his own actions & words on his Facebook pg. And he does not deserve protection merely because he acted like a fool and wrote stupid, sexist statements on his FB page.

            What do u expect that will happen when people see ur comment on his picture?

            Those pics were freely accessible on his FB page for the entire time since he posted them. Again, if anyone harmed his interests it was him, not me.

            You are writing from an obvious anti-yoav

            I tend to think Even is an Israeli male archetype as shown in the pictures & captions. As for whether he’s a rapist, I want an Israeli court to get an opportunity to judge that publicly. The best way for that to happen is for the gag to be lifted.

            laugh at his machoism

            There may be a language gap here because that is precisely the wrong term to use in Even’s case. He’s certainly NOT a masochist, though he harmed his case by posting these compromising images. An Israeli male who thinks this highly of himself & his magnetic charms is not a masochist. The alleged rape victim has actually accused him of being the opposite, a sexual sadist. But I don’t know if that is true. It may be. It may not be. Again, that’s something that should be determined by a court & not by hidden processes not open to public scrutiny or input.

            powerfull men doing whatever they want without being punished is simply not true

            I never said all powerful men get away with their sexual aggression & you are again mischaracterizing my views. I said that a small number may be held accountable, but the vast majority are not.

            I warn you that at some point I’m just going to get so sick & tired of yr distortions that you’ll lose yr privileges. So either you can clean up yr act & portray my views carefully & accurately, or one day you won’t be here. That’s your choice. But I’m offering you the possibility of remaining if you can follow the rules & respect them.

          • Deïr Yassin May 1, 2011, 3:28 AM

            I think Y mentions machism/machoism (from ‘macho’/’machismo’) and not masochism. Maybe the two goes together, who knows :-)

  • Leonid Levin April 27, 2011, 5:08 AM

    I agree that making conclusions based on rape statistics is not accurate. Let’s look at something more comprehensive that can help us compare the level of gender based disparities and gender equality among the countries of the world.

    Let’s look for example at the Global Gender Gap Index compiled annually by the World Economic Forum: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2010.pdf

    What does this index tell us? Israel occupies a comfortable 52nd place in the lower part of the first half of the 134 countries surveyed, in between Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Croatia and Honduras, scoring 0.6957, which is 0.1539 lower than the best score of 0.8496 (Iceland) and 0.2354 higher than the worst score of 0.4603 (Yemen).

    Among the 46 high income countries Israel occupies the 28th position. Israel by far outperforms all the other countries of the Middle East and North Africa, the closest being UAE (ranked 103, score 0.6397). If ranked among the countries of Europe and Central Asia, Israel would be the 28th of the 44 countries. Among the European countries, Israel would be ranked 26 out of 37, and in Western Europe(incl. the Baltics) it would be 20 out of 22, with Greece and Italy lagging behind.

    My conclusion from this index is that Israel is a pretty average country of the world as far as gender equality is concerned. I don’t know how this correlates with the rate of physical abuse of women, as I haven’t been able to find any comparative studies on this topic.

  • Moti April 27, 2011, 1:35 PM

    How would you know anything about the culture in Israel? When was the last time you were here? You did the research and found several Western countries with higher rates of sexual violence, so what leg do you have left to lean on? An anonymous friend “who did not mean one woman who was not harassed”? Great evidence Richard. That sounds very reliable. Your obsession with bashing Israel is driving you out of your mind. A truly desperate attempt. Israel, where a former president is about to start a long prison sentence for rape.

    • Richard Silverstein April 27, 2011, 9:47 PM

      You think someone needs to actually have their feet on holy soil in order to understand Israeli culture? How quaint. Has anyone introduced you to the computer? Internet? Telephone? Skype? Facebook?

      I found far more western developed countries with lower incidence of rape than Israel and I found fewer with higher rates & noted why I felt that might be possible. None of this redounds much to Israel’s favor regarding the status of women.

      My friend who told me she didn’t know a single Israeli woman who hadn’t been harrassed or worse has a vantage point far superior to yours: she’s a woman who lived in Israel for years and knows what it’s like to be a woman living in Israel. How ’bout you?

      As for Katsav, yeah the hasbarists hold up Katsav’s conviction as proof that all is honky dory in the Land of Israel. Only a few problems w. that case. First, the State ultimately didn’t even want to prosecute him for rape & wanted to drop the case. Feminist groups persisted, brought a case to the Supreme Court. Even then the prosecution offered Katsav a sweetheart deal which would’ve avoided a rape sentence or charge. He dumbly decided he would fight on & vindicate his name & failed. So it doesn’t look quite as good when you examine all the particulars, does it?

      • free man April 27, 2011, 10:47 PM

        Did it occur to you that more Israeli woman feel free to file complaints and the justice system of Israel is more strict than in most of those countries ?

        Or maybe you think that because there are virtually no rape cases filed in Saudi Arabia, there is less rapes there than any western country. We can stretch this logic further and accept Ahmenigud’s claim there are no Homosexuals in Iran.

      • Deïr Yassin April 28, 2011, 4:45 AM

        Not only do the Hasbardim use Katsav’s conviction as a ‘proof’ that in Israel nobody is above the law, but also that it is a real democracy as the judge who convicted him, George Kara, is an Arab. Long live the Hasbara and Tel Aviv is the paradise for Palestinian gays, and WE made the desert bloom, of course, nobody lived there before !

        • Duhay April 28, 2011, 10:50 AM

          You are right. Palestinian gays are much better off in their own west bank and gaza cities and towns.
          George Kara is not an arab or a judge and technology such as drip irigation for growing crops in low rainfall environments was not developed in Israel.
          Your constant dismissal of any truth or good welfare that comes out of Israel reminds me of the Scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian when John Cleese says…”All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
          Here is a link to the scene as a demonstration about howcomical it and your constant attempts at deligitimization of Israel’s achievements have become.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSELOCMmw4A

          • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 11:31 AM

            La-la-la-la-lah, singing the hasbarists tune. I think the drip irrigation meme must be taught in elementary Hasbara 101 in the Foreign Ministry for all new recruits. It was used here by another hasbarist quite a while ago, but no one’s trotted it out in some time. And I’ll bet George Kara loves being exploited as the token Arab judge who’s “made it” in the Israeli legal system.

        • y April 29, 2011, 10:10 PM

          La-la-la-la-lah, singing the hasbarists tune. I think the drip irrigation meme must be taught in elementary Hasbara 101 in the Foreign Ministry for all new recruits.

          Just notice its deir yassin who brings this up time after time, even though it has nothing to do with the discussion here.
          And der yassin – I probably wrote this already, but please, stop using ur imaginary word “hasbardim”. You asked someone here to respect the arab language if she doesnt respect the people – well, why shouldnt it work for both sides?
          No one here uses katsav conviction as a “proof” to anything. As of ur usual mocking of israel – please do explain to me how its better to be a gay person in west bank, gaza, or one of the surrounding arab countries.

          • Richard Silverstein April 30, 2011, 9:49 PM

            No one here uses katsav conviction as a “proof” to anything.

            That’s rather laughable since the Israeli English lang. press & the comment threads here are full of people boasting of Katsav’s conviction as a sign of the robustness of the Israeli legal system & Israeli democracy & a sign that the powerful are not above the law, none of which this case proved at all.

            please do explain to me how its better to be a gay person in west bank, gaza, or one of the surrounding arab countries.

            WAY off-topic. Stay on topic. You’ve just made yet another comment rule violation.

          • Deïr Yassin May 1, 2011, 3:39 AM

            You apparently didn’t get the sarcasm in my comment. The Katzav-sentence just as the George-Kara-Is-An-Arab is part of the same propaganda as the rest I mentioned, on another scale but the propagandists easily jump from one level to another.
            Does ‘Hasbaradim’ (sorry, I missed an ‘a’ when I typed) exist in Hebrew ? I didn’t know. I thought it was an invented word like Hasbarista. ‘Shehadeh’ and al-sharq al-awsat are real words and their transcriptions thus follow a minimum of rules.

  • jubran April 27, 2011, 11:21 PM

    I don’t get your point, richard.

    You claim that there is something unique about ISRAELI rape and then present data indicating that the level of rape cases in Israel is somewhere between those in Denmark and Sweden. So way is rape in Israel different then rape in Sweden? Is rape in Sweden also caused by the famous aggression of the male dominated and militaristic Swedish society?

    As for comparing Israel to “western” countries. Are you implying that arab society is measured by different moral standards?

    Finally, your relying on quotes from your friend dana shunra (the cat?) is simply ridiculous.

    As a honest scholar I would expect you to simple retract your erroneous statements regarding rape in Israel. After all the hallmark of a true scholar is his ability to admit mistakes.

    • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 1:05 AM

      If you’ve followed the Julian Assange case you’ll know that rape law in Sweden is indeed far different than in any other country in the world. THey’ve defined rape so broadly that it traps many more men and many more sexual encounters in its net. Sweden has the most sweeping rape laws in the world, which is part of the reason why Assange has been captured (metaphorically speaking) as well.

      Finally, your relying on quotes from your friend dana shunra (the cat?) is simply ridiculous.

      It is typical of the Israeli male to discount the perspective of the Israeli woman. Talk about patriarchal nonsense. When you can turn yrself into a woman & tell us what it’s like to be an Israeli one then you can talk. Till then…

      Thanks but no thanks for yr offer of being called a “true scholar” by you if I concede that I’m full of crap. It’s an offer I think I’ll turn down.

      • Moti April 28, 2011, 3:52 AM

        “It is typical of the Israeli male to discount the perspective of the Israeli woman”

        Hey look at that, yet another sweeping unfounded generalization. Isn’t that what most people would call: prejudice? I guess prejudice is ok when it is used against the Israeli people, right Richard? Just not against the Palestinian people. Your hypocrisy is beneath contempt. No one in their right mind would take seriously the perspective of an anonymous figure who is claiming that every Israeli woman in the country was harassed. Continue to prove how bigotted you really are against Israelis Richard. Please continue.

        • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 11:39 AM

          She didn’t claim every Israeli woman was harrassed. Don’t they teach reading comprehension in Israeli schools? She said every Israeli woman she knew had been. Do you understand the difference? Or not?

          I note you’re not denying you’re an Israeli male, which helps explain your obtuseness on this issue. Though of course not ALL Israeli males are like you, thank God.

          • Moti April 28, 2011, 6:34 PM

            Stop pretending this is about sexual abuses in Israel. This is about your obsession with beating Israel with any stick you can find, even if, as is the case every time, that stick is made up of lies, distortions, half truths, and bigotted unfounded generalizations of Israelis based on pure ignorance and malice.

            So it’s ok for you to say it’s typical of Israelis to be so and so, but if I said it’s typical of Palestinians and add any negative quality you would be screaming from the rooftops that I am a “racist.” This double standard is so blatant only you cannot see it. Self delusion does that.

            “Every Israeli she knew” – sure, that sounds a lot more convincing.

            Are you still sticking to your laughable claim that you understand Israeli culture from thousands of miles away through Facebook? Not to late to admit that was silly.

          • Richard Silverstein April 28, 2011, 8:09 PM

            Stop pretending this is about sexual abuses in Israel.

            Major comment rule here: you don’t tell me what my motives are. You argue with my views if you wish. If you put words or motives into my mouth you’re chopped liver. Do you understand? You don’t know what my motivations are. You know what my stated views & opinions are. YOu argue with them & not w. what you think or claim my values are. Is that clear? It had better be.

            And if you continue with the lies & value judgments you’ll be gone here pronto. I should note that you haven’t raised a single viable point above based on substance, which is typical for you I’d say.

            Are you still sticking to your laughable claim

            I’m sticking to my dead serious claim that you’re a mean-spirited SOB.

  • vera April 28, 2011, 12:03 AM

    First of all, why is Israel always compared to Western countries? It’s not western and its claims to the contrary should be undermined, not enforced. Second, I think if you talk honestly to women you will discover that women all over the world are liable to be harrassed once or more during their lives (harassment is not rape, mind). Third, Israel, where I was born and raised, has a problem of sexual violence, certainly, as do most other countries. The problem is most societies are patriarchal. The differences are only in style. I do agree a legal system and educational efforts that protect victims might help women speak out more, but I am not sure your certaintly about US and Britain (which are the societies I know more about in your list) is justified. Judges, police and officials, not to mention the media, still tend to see rape more as sex and less as violence, and can therefore slip into the trap of re-abusing women once they have reported rape. Finally, rape and sexual violence are only a small part of what women (and men) must contend with in any heavily militarised society (dunno if you noticed, but US and Britain are pretty militarised too). Demilitarisation is the answer to that.

  • Leonid Levin April 28, 2011, 9:11 PM

    Fuster, Moti, Jubran, Richard and other commenters,

    Let’s stop accusing each other of wrong motives, attitudes, etc., and just look at the problem at hand. I think what’s at hand here is how women are treated in Israel. I presented some statistics earlier in this thread, but no one seems to have taken notice. I wish more Israeli women would be able to comment on this, like Vera did (Vera, thanks a lot for sharing!).

    So honestly, what’s life like for women in Israel? What’s your experience? What prevails: a culture of machoism or a culture of respect? Are women seen by men as equal partners within the family, at work, business, politics, religion, social interactions, etc.?

    Let me tell you about my experiences in the Netherlands. There is a struggle going on for equal representation of women in top management, politics and government. However, especially among less educated males, remarks and (often dirty) jokes are regularly being made about women as sexual objects, women as bad drivers, etc. On the other hand, in almost all couples that I know or hear about, as both partners work, men take equal responsibility for household chores, children, etc. Women, especially young women, in this country are well empowered and do come up strongly for themselves. Some even fear that the generations of boys growing up now would become submissive to girls. When I see the strong, healthy looking girls biking in groups with their field hockey sticks, I sometimes think to myself: well, I’d better be careful, these girls can easily beat anybody up if they want to :)

    • Leonid Levin April 28, 2011, 9:29 PM

      Some more from personal experience. I come from the Soviet Union (present day Belarus). Although equality of women and men was preached everywhere, it was (and still is) actually a very conservative, patriarchal society. Women would go to work and take care of the household and children and be expected to be beautiful, submissive, obedient, patient, etc. Abuse of women and girls was widespread. Paradoxically, boys would be expected to protect women and girls, give them a hand with carrying heavy bags, helping them out of public transport, helping them take of or put on their coats, give them flowers, and in general be very courteous. Yet, if a girl would become “unfaithful”, meaning dating other boys, this would be a grave offence. I guess, there was actually no paradox. Men would develop patronizing attitude towards women and would expect obedience, submission and faithfulness in exchange for courtesy and protection.

    • fuster April 29, 2011, 8:57 AM

      some good points, Leonid.

      the treatment of women is an ancient and nearly universal injustice and Israel, though a new country, is part of the old problem.

  • Marc Silverstein April 29, 2011, 10:17 AM

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