Thanks to Rotem Cohen for creating a collage of gagged mouths which dramatizes the impact of Judge Benny Sagi’s continuing gag against reporting the rape charge brought against Israeli journalist Yoav Even. The judge in this case has sealed the media’s mouth, and sealed the ears and eyes of every Israeli who may not hear of this case and make judgments for him or herself about its importance for their lives. While Israeli lower courts tend to side with powerful defendants in protecting their prerogatives and privilege, higher courts tend to look on such gags more skeptically. I hope and urge an Israeli journalist to appeal Sagi’s ruling.
Yesterday, I had a different version of this poster displayed here. Someone whose face was depicted saw this post and noted that I’d named the rape suspect in this case and was frightened that even having her masked image displayed here might leave her open to prosecution. Of course there are numerous reasons why her fear was overstated.
But the cold, hard truth is that this is how Israeli women feel about this subject. They are frightened. In this case it bleeds over from the issue of sexual violence to the issue of secrecy and state power. Once again, this is the price every Israeli pays for living in a state in which security and secrecy are acceptable, even desirable modes of state behavior.
To be clear, I don’t mean to criticize the woman who objected. I can’t possibly know what personal motivations went into her request. Nor do I have the right to judge her. I’m commenting on the overall climate of fear that some Israelis face in combatting the government’s invasion of their privacy and their prerogatives as citizens.