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Interior minister exploits rape by Eritrean for anti-immigrant campaign

Eli Yishai visit detention camps for Asylum Seekers in the south (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

Prepare yourselves. Last May, when it was last announced that an Eritrean citizen raped an Israeli woman, Interior Minister Eli Yishai responded by placing thousands of asylum seekers, among them children, rape and torture victims and the elderly in administrative detention, all in accordance with Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law. In the wake of the horrifying rape that took place near Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station, one can only guess what will happen next.

Yishai began publishing libelous remarks on his personal Facebook page, while Shas’ shelved hate-filled campaign against foreigners [Hebrew] coincidentally appeared in Yedioth Ahronoth and on Ynet’s homepage, alongside the report on the sickening act.

In 2011, Israel Police reported 3,795 cases of sexual offenses. We will be the first to say that each of these appalling cases deserves to be featured as the main headline in every newspaper, and certainly deserves a response from Israel’s ministers. Had Ynet bothered to feature other cases of rape in its main headline, we might have suspected that the paper actually cares about women’s rights. Had Eli Yishai bothered to denounce acts of rape committed by Israelis from time to time, we might actually begin to think that he cares about a woman who is brutally raped.

A Shas campaign poster that reads: “Shas – my home, Sudan – their home.” (image: Shas campaign photo)

However, Yishai has never expressed concern regarding acts of sexual offenses committed by Israelis. When sexual offenses committed only by asylum seekers make waves in the media and among politicians, someone might believe that women’s rights do not exactly concern those who are doing all the shouting.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      You must be referring to the brutal 3 hour rape of an 83 year old woman in her own house by a 19 year old Eritrean illegal migrant that jumped the border.

      Yes, heaven forbid somebody makes political capital out of a specific event that would not have been even conceivably possible had Israel deported all the Eritreans who are in Israel illegally back to their country. One might start to believe that there is massive public indignation that such a thing could happen and a demand that something be done to avoid similar incidents in the future by actually throwing out people who are not supposed to have been in the country in the first place.

      Reply to Comment
      • The common denominator in rape cases isn’t Eritreans. It’s men.

        By your logic the best way to deal with all the thousands of brutal rapes that have taken place across the world today would be to create women-only societies to which all men are denied access – and there are some separatist feminists who do advocate for that. The rest of us see a moral problem with the idea of excluding all men on the grounds that they might be a rapist.

        You are trying to make rape about race rather than about violence against women, and no one who does that can pose as a friend of women’s rights – especially given the huge number of asylum seekers who have experienced sexual violence, as the post points out.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          This isn’t about race or rape or women’s rights and it makes not the smallest amount of difference what might have happened to these migrants in Egypt or Sudan on their way to breaking Israeli immigration law when they jumped the border into Israel. Take that up with the Egyptian or Sudanese authorities. You are trying to make it into one of these issues to muddy the waters to avoid what is incredibly obvious to everyone.

          This is about crimes that would not have happened had the border been properly protected and people carrying out these crimes prevented from entering or expelled due to being in the country illegally.

          Reply to Comment
          • Scootalol

            “This isn’t about rape or women’s rights.”

            Well, there you go. That’s small-potato stuff, right?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            It isn’t small potato stuff. It is also not what Laissez Passer cares about as you can tell from the article. They don’t focus on the rape, but on the political reaction to it because they couldn’t care less about rapes as all they do care about is keeping tens of thousands of illegal migrants in cities in close proximity to the weakest sectors of Israeli society. How can I then be attacked for responding in kind?

            Reply to Comment
          • Arguing that asylum seekers should be deported because they entered illegally is an entirely separate issue from suggesting that they should be deported because they might rape. That argument might be callous, but at least it has some sense behind it: you penalise people for what they actually did, not for what they might do.

            You may be honest enough to admit that this isn’t about women’s rights, but the politicians who are so busily trying to paint Eritreans as rapacious predators are not. They are hijacking talk of women’s rights to sugarcoat their own racism, wilfully oblivious to the fact that an Eritrean asylum seeker is no more or less likely to commit rape than an Israeli supermarket cashier or a Swedish tourist named Bob. As someone who has been sexually assaulted, I’m angry to see men like Yishai (that well known feminist advocate) using women’s rights as code for “Foreign undesirables have infiltrated our land and now they are trespassing on our females” – especially given the violence endured by so many of those refugees, women in particular. Viewed from a genuine feminist perspective, their experiences can’t be so neatly separated from those of rape victims in Tel Aviv, because they are part of the same pattern of misogynistic violence. But the fauxminists in the Knesset won’t be discussing this in a hurry.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Again, you are trying to confuse the issue by bringing up rape as a problem in general. While I certainly agree, that doesn’t take away the fact that this particular rape would not have taken place if the immigration law had been enforced. In my view every crime carried out by a person that should not be in the country is superfluous and should not have occurred.

            That Yishai uses crude language to push through his policies might be upsetting to you, but personally I see a massive improvement in the situation with the wall having gone up and the number of migrants in the country down by 100x in the past year. Unfortunately Yishai’s crude racism was a large factor in that and his opponents were proposing absolutely nothing constructive. Instead they were preaching that the wall wouldn’t stop the migrants from coming and it is racist to even try.

            Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Well, there are at least two common denominators to ALL rape cases: Men and women. You wouldn’t deny that there are cases of women raped by women, would you?

          By your logic Israel is not allowed to build a fence border:
          It prevents legal migrants from entering the country, thus it is illegal.

          Reply to Comment
          • sh

            And you, Trespasser wouldn’t deny that there are men raped by men, would you?

            Israel can build all the fences it wants, they will not stop the petty racism in the hearts of some who are now the leaders and models on whom the public, or some of it, bases its conduct.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >And you, Trespasser wouldn’t deny that there are men raped by men, would you?

            Irrelevant. Men’s relevance to rape cases is not questioned.

            >Israel can build all the fences it wants, they will not stop the petty racism in the hearts of some who are now the leaders and models on whom the public, or some of it, bases its conduct.

            Irrelevant as well.

            Your red herrings are rotten a bit. Change your supplier if you can’t fish any by yourself.

            Reply to Comment
      • There is a reason why criminal cases are limited to the facts in courts of law. Generalizing to a class is exactly what I believe was done to Jews throughout centuries; and rather more briefly, yet to great effect, to several defined classes in the USSR.

        If the Eritrians, generally, were here without the protection of Israeli signed treaty, they would be expelled. Your use of the word “illegal” does not fit present Israeli law, although I am beginning to wonder how long that law will last.

        The campaign poster displayed above is pure racial fascism. Israel has a ready legal solution to its distaste for refugees: abrogate the relevant treaty. That would be honest and most effective (since the Knesset thinks it can do anything, I guess it could claim abrogation is retroactive). Why will not Israel takes this step? Could it be that, in ideology, the State wants to preserve the protection of Jews in the future fleeing from distress?

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Greg, yes, I am generalizing to a class. All those people in the country illegally should be expelled. Any and every crime carried out by a member of this class is superfluous and would not take place if that class was not present in the country as it shouldn’t be according to Israeli immigration law. It is repeatedly you defining this class as being racial, not me. Even the campaign poster above has absolutely nothing racist inherent in it. It is a pretty basic statement of fact. The Sudanese do not belong in Israel where they are present illegally and their home is in Sudan.

          The migrants are most certainly present illegally according to Israeli immigration law. You can argue that Israel is obligated to provide some kind of asylum according to signed international conventions but there is a very limited level of services that this actually requires. In other countries this is done by setting up isolated refugee camps where the migrants are kept under guard and provided with the most basic services – food, shelter, medical care. That would be perfectly fine with me as well, but a situation where citizens of Israel are exposed to superfluous crime due to a class that shouldn’t be in the country and that the country isn’t obligated to allow in the cities is absolutely atrocious.

          Reply to Comment
          • Mahmoud

            Nice try. If I name it class, then it isn’t racist anymore. Like 1+1=3.
            btw:
            The Israelis do not belong in Palestine where they are present illegally and their home is in Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I’m sorry but there are no Israelis in Palestine due to lack of the latter.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            If the class has nothing to do with race but is based on breaking the immigration law then how can it be racist?

            Reply to Comment
          • The crime does not attach to the class. There is no reason to speak of a specific crime to remove what you say is an illegal class. While the flagged crime would not exist if the class were absent, many other acts, some of kindness, would also not exist. The decision to attach the crime to the class is racist and spurious.

            You contend that this class is illegal, but reporting on this Site shows otherwise. The State cannot force these residents out, or it would, but it does urge them to sign voluntary removal. In fact, the construction of the detension camps his prima face evidence that the class cannot be legally expelled. You want them illegal, so assert it as a matter of law. What you want, as I have said, is to abroagte the relevant refugee treaty. Fine. Say so honestly. But it is dishonest to say the class is illegal when the State itself does not think it can expell them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Your whole line of reasoning is absurd. This rape would not have occurred if the illegal migrants were not in South Tel Aviv. We seem to agree on this. Given that according to Israeli law they shouldn’t be in South Tel Aviv isn’t it only logical that the rapes that do occur do so as a result of the lack of enforcement of Israeli law and that each such crime is in itself superfluous and a preventable tragedy?

            These illegal migrants are present in Israel illegally according to Israeli immigration law. This is not in dispute so I don’t know why you bother to argue otherwise. What is in dispute is whether Israel has the right to throw them back to their home countries. This distinction seems to confuse you.

            The illegal migrants most certainly have no right to reside in Tel Aviv or in any Israeli city. You seem to suggest that Israel can not expel them, a point with which the Israeli government seems to agree with for the moment, but it doesn’t mean that Israel is under any obligation to allow them to live in close proximity to the weakest sectors of Israeli society.

            Here I am perfectly willing to say openly that I think Israel should abrogate the relevant refugee treaty if that is what is required to prevent an influx of millions of destitute refugees in the future. I believe that such population movements are only going to become more prominent as the population of poor countries explodes. Additionally, I have already pointed out elsewhere in the thread that until such a time that they can be thrown out they should be placed in detention camps in the desert and provided with food and medical care until they are able to go back to their own country. Can we agree that this would be an entirely legitimate step even if we disagree on whether the migrants should be deported in the near future? If not, then pray tell, on what basis would you argue to the contrary? Are you going to call me a racist again to avoid coming up with actual arguments?

            Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Of course, rape never ever happens here, so it’s logical that an unwelcome Eritrean who mars our idyllic lives should provoke uncharacteristically, utterly exceptional racist demonstrations sponsored by Knesset members (who somehow forgot to organize demonstrations against a President suspected of – and then even found guilty of – same). Here’s a different example:
        http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/former-vice-mayor-of-hadera-suspected-of-serial-rape-1.339579

        The reaction is so normal that Australian Parliament members will surely make political capital (against Jews) over this:
        http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/94148/board-deputies-man-accused-raping-refugees

        Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Sure, K9, that’s why Australian Parliament ministers will immediately be forgiven if they make political capital out of an event that could have been avoided if Jews had been shown the door the moment they arrived in Australia.
        http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/94148/board-deputies-man-accused-raping-refugees

        And of course we all remember the massive public indignation led by Knesset ministers such as these over a certain President not only accused, but found guilty of, rape who is now in prison. Or a TV personality, or a mayor, etc.

        Reply to Comment
        • sh

          That was supposed to go under K9′s remark right at the top of the page.

          Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Your comment makes no sense. You are comparing an established religious minority of citizens with full equality in front of the law of their country to a to a group of non-citizen illegal migrants who have no legal right whatsoever to reside in Tel Aviv.

          Yes, the former president is now in jail and there was massive public indignation about the rapes he committed. Your point being?

          Reply to Comment
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