Israel to Charge 11 in Gang Rape of 16-year-old Girl in Southern Resort Town

Four suspects face rape charge, others with lesser charges in case that sparked renewed protests against sexual violence

Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri
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The Red Sea Hotel in Eilat, August 2020.
The Red Sea Hotel in Eilat, August 2020.Credit: Liav Peled
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

The State Prosecutor’s Office is set to file 11 indictments on Wednesday in the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in Eilat around two weeks ago in the Red Sea Hotel.

Four will be charged with rape, and the rest with indecent acts, failure to prevent a crime and abetting sexual intercourse. The indictments will be filed against three adults and eight minors. At this stage, it was decided not to indict the hotel manager, and a decision regarding her will be made later.

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The main suspects, who will be charged with rape, are two 27-year-olds from the north and two underage brothers from a community in the Lachish Regional Council. There are forensic findings against some of them, which were found in the girl’s body, which are evidence of sexual intercourse. The other suspects will be indicted according to a distinction made by the State Prosecution regarding the part each played in the crime, who was in the room and who watched from the corridor for the purpose of sexual stimulation.

According to the investigation, on August 14, two days after the girl came to Eilat with her girlfriends, she went to the Red Sea Hotel, where she met several mutual friends, some of whom were unfamiliar to her. The girl drank with them until she was out of control. She asked to wash her face in a clean place, since the room where they were drinking was dirty. The security cameras collected by police investigators recorded her before the alleged rape, stumbling in the corridor with others helping her to walk.

The main suspects, the 27-year-olds, noticed the intoxicated girl, according to investigators. Earlier, she had met them at the swimming pool and one of them tried to hit on her. She rejected him, saying he was too old for her. The investigators believe that the two realized later, when she was drunk, that she was now in no condition to reject them as easily. The evidence in the file indicates that one of them introduced himself as a paramedic and asked to help her. Then they led her to Room 216, which became the main crime scene.

The investigators realized that there were three groups involved, with most of the adults and minors having no criminal record, and some from the same community as the girl. When she was walking in the corridor, a commotion began and some of the suspects arrived. There were about 16 boys in the corridor. When the victim entered Room 216 the suspects started to send text messages to each other, and some pointed at the door.

The main suspects, the adults, sent the girl’s friend to a kiosk to buy shampoo and soap, supposedly to wash the girl. When the friend returned, she saw some of the suspects naked and one of them taking advantage of the girl and hurting her. According to the friend’s story, she tried to help, to close the door, but was unable to do so. As far as the police investigators are concerned, the friend has no criminal responsibility and she tried to help the victim but was unsuccessful.

In certain parts of the security-camera footage, the young men are seen leaving the scene, seconds before the girl’s friend arrived. In the end, it was the girlfriend who called to another young man, who helped extricate the victim from the room. However, an indictment will be served against him too, for his behavior at an earlier stage of the incident.

After the rape, the girl returned to the apartment she had rented in Eilat, and didn’t remember a thing. The next day she received text messages from the suspects and they started to talk. One of the suspects wanted to meet with her but she had no recollection of what had happened. He started telling her what had happened in the room, and she started to remember. He told her that she had slept with 20 to 30 men, and had also been filmed. As a result of his story, she panicked and decided to complain to police. The police realized from the start that the suspect mentioned those numbers to downplay his part in the affair.

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