Eilat Gang Rape Suspects Implicate Friends, as Investigation Continues

Police source confirms total number of perpetrators is in the double digits, while search continues for video footage

Almog Ben Zikri
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A protester holding the number 30, for the amount of men suspected of having taken part in the gang rape of a 16-year-old in Eilat, during a demonstration in Jerusalem, August 20, 2020.
A protester holding the number 30, for the amount of men suspected of having taken part in the gang rape of a 16-year-old in Eilat, during a demonstration in Jerusalem, August 20, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Almog Ben Zikri

Several suspects in the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in an Eilat hotel told police they saw some of their friends, who were also arrested, sexually assaulting the girl while she was partially conscious. Those suspects deny the allegations.

To date, none of those arrested have admitted to raping the teenager, but police believe the evidence backs their suspicions. Ten suspects are currently detained for involvement in the rape, among them seven minors. Three suspects were released to house arrest, including the Red Sea Hotel’s manager, Penina Maman.

Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court Judge Sabin Cohen said this week that the evidence raises the suspicion that Maman “assumed or considered that there were things going on in the room that could be defined as immoral,” but the judge did not find evidence to support the police allegation that Maman had failed to prevent a crime.

Police said they had established an estimated number of people who participated in the gang rape, and that they were working to identify the perpetrators. A police source said it was a double-digit number, but did not elaborate.

The victim, who was only partially conscious, could not specify how many people raped her. One suspect said 30 people took part, but police doubt that figure, although they said all claims were being investigated.

A source involved in the investigation said hotel security cameras had documented a lot of people milling about outside the room where the girl was taken. Some of them are seen entering. A text to the girl from one of the adult suspect’s phones also claimed that the rapes had been filmed. Police are trying to get their hands on the videos, if they do exist, to prevent them from being circulated.

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