Israel’s dirty little secret

Zehava Galon is a member of the opposition Yahad Party in Israel. In 2005, she headed a Committee against Trafficking in Women that carried out a four-year investigation into the problem of sexual exploitation. In Galon’s words, the investigation revealed how women are smuggled into Israel and “on the road, raped, beaten, and then sold at public auctions.”

Up to 20,000 women have been smuggled into Israel from Eastern Europe. These women, many of them teenagers, are considered virtual sex slaves and brutally exploited in a country whose centerpiece is a monument to Holocaust survivors.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has named Israel one of the worst criminals in the world when it comes to the crime of trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

This trade of the weakest and most vulnerable has been routinely covered up and softly marketed by the Israeli authorities. Fortunately, there are also Israeli activists who are tackling the problem head-on. The Haifa-based human rights organization Isha L’Isha is one such group. However, despite the good work done by groups like this, until the government takes this issue seriously, trade will continue to flourish.

Captive women are often teenagers, some as young as thirteen, who have been lured with false promises and false contracts. In most cases, they are smuggled into Israel through Egypt. Along the way they are subjected to rape and abuse, before being auctioned to the highest bidder. Depending on the girl and her “attributes”, she can be sold to an Israeli pimp for up to $ 10,000. These girls are then held in private clubs or private establishments and forced to serve clients day and night.

Here’s a description of one of those auctions via the Israel News Agency …

“Yosef took Anna to a hotel and ordered her to undress in front of a room full of men. The test is known as an” auction. “Like traders in a cattle market, the traffickers inspect the” goods “and bid. for women they want to buy. The woman is naked in the middle of a room. The dealers touch her chest, her ass. They check her tongue, her teeth, to see if she is healthy. They touch her private parts. They tell him, “Walk forward, backward, pose like a model, rock it baby, crouch down. Low. Let’s see what you’re worth. “Dealers aren’t necessarily picky about an auction site.

Considering that the former Soviet Union and countries like Romania have been struggling to get out of difficult economic situations, there is, of course, a large underclass that is trapped in poverty. Traffickers target the young and the impressionable – teenagers already in a difficult situation and facing many difficulties. They betray the trust of these women and, in many cases, destroy their own humanity by removing them from their homeland and subjecting them to criminal attacks and intimidation.

The sentences handed down to the few perpetrators who are convicted in Israeli courts is a joke. Some of these traffickers receive community services, and the clubs they run often only close temporarily. Some mysteriously reopen and go about business as usual. There are an estimated 300 brothels in Tel Aviv alone, many of which keep women in conditions that could be compared to slavery.

Writer Isaac Herzog documented some of the dire conditions these women in transit face in a Jerusalem Post article titled “Time to Crack Down on White Slavery.” Herzog says that the police have surveillance footage of this “herding” of women in the desert, and claims that people simply would not believe what is really happening. Hundreds of captive women have marched through the Egyptian desert to Israel. Anyone who collapses on the road, or who runs out, is simply abandoned – in Herzog’s words as “a dying pack animal.”

Some women who have been abandoned or who are trying to flee have been attacked by the Bedouins. The article “Sexual Slavery in Israel Thrives”, courtesy of the Israel News Agency, contains the following statement from a victim named “Anna”:

“Already in Egypt I found out that I was going to engage in prostitution in Eilat … I tried to run away, but a Bedouin grabbed me and beat me. At night, four Bedouin raped me, one after another …. I was bleeding and I couldn’t walk, it hurt so much between my legs … I wanted to die. ”

Amnesty International contends that the Israeli government and police have largely turned a blind eye to this trade unfolding right under their noses. Exactly how a nation that emerged from a history of victimization can be so slow to act decisively to eradicate the systemic exploitation and abuse of women smuggled into its own society is a mystery that is difficult to unravel.

Many Jewish writers and commentators in the United States and Canada have been shocked by the impunity of Israeli pimps and gangsters. Many are dismayed by the Israeli government’s apparent unwillingness to crack down on a trade of which the authorities are well aware. Here in Canada, the respected investigative journalist Victor Malarek has done an excellent job exposing the craft.

There is a strong racist element in Israel’s trade. Leah Gruenpeter-Gold, co-director of the Awareness Center in Tel Aviv, says these young Eastern European women are being sacrificed for men’s sexual needs, in a culture that protects the virtue of Jewish women. She and her partner spoke of their disgust at the way some Orthodox Jews take advantage of these women.

Haredin, Orthodox Jews, flock to Tel Aviv’s brothels on Friday mornings and afternoons for fun and games before Shabbat. In the area of ​​the Stock Market and the Diamond Exchange, this activity is particularly evident. Since the Orthodox cannot masturbate according to religious law, they must have sex with a woman. Their law prohibits them from using condoms, so they have to pay pimps more to get “the privilege.”

Grunpeter-Gold claims that the victims are being sacrificed … “because these women are not human beings … they are foreign women. The nuns prefer it to be with foreign women because then they do not harm Jewish women.”

Why isn’t more being done to stop the continuing sexual victimization of women in Israel? According to the girls who work in commerce, the police and other prominent members of Israeli society are allegedly involved, sometimes taking bribes or other “businesses”, or simply as clients. A percentage of the Orthodox mentioned also participate. Who knows how deep the collusion is, it is impossible to trace. But certainly such connections would work against official attempts to crack down on trade.

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