Israeli Sought Help After Rape Abroad. Police Questioned Her Over COVID Violations

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
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Police officer in Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, two weeks ago.
Police officer in Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, two weeks ago.Credit: Hadas Parush
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

An Israeli woman, who has been raped abroad, was instructed by the police to return to the country immediately to be treated. Officers, however, summoned her for questioning over coronavirus restrictions violations.

The police denied the claims, saying she was summoned not over quarantine violations, but to clarify the entire incident.

The woman was raped in mid-July by a local diving instructor while vacating with another Israeli friend in Sinai Peninsula, Kan Bet public radio reported on Sunday.

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According to the woman's account, she was raped while diving with the instructor when she left her friend's line of sight. Following a physical fight, the woman managed to free herself and returned to her friend.

After the rape, their parents contacted the police, who instructed the women to return to Israel in order to get the proper treatment.

The two crossed the border back into Israel, took a coronavirus test and admitted to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, where she was treated at a sexual assault victims care center.

The friend said that in the hospital a police officer repeatedly asked them why they were not self-isolating. In a recording presented by the friend, officers can be heard criticizing her for not being in quarantine, and issuing her a 5,000 shekel (about $1,550) fine.

"We arrived in Israel, they’re supposed to take care of us, and what we get is angry police officers," the friend said in an interview with Kan public radio. “My friend experienced a traumatic rape, there was no empathy and no compassion," she added. "They were shouting at her a second after she started talking about these sensitive matters with the social worker.”

Police summoned the woman, who has been assaulted, for questioning over violations of the mandatory quarantine for Israelis who return from abroad. Last Friday, after her self-isolation period ended, she complied with the order and arrived at the station. “[The officers] were in shock that she came, and released her," said her girlfriend in the interview. "They realized that it’s an exceptional case.”

A police source denied the allegations and claimed that the reason for her summons was not violation of quarantine but a clarification of the entire incident, including the claim of rape, which is why she came to the station, he maintained.

An official police statement denied the allegations of the woman who was assaulted. However, police said that "this is the place to stress that the enforcement against the friend who accompanied her was carried out legally, and yet her case was transferred for professional examination regarding a cancellation of the report based on the special circumstances.”

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