Israelis Join Half-hour Strike Over Suspected Gang Rape of 16-year-old

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Protesters stand in a road in Tel Aviv, August 23, 2020.
Protesters stand in a road in Tel Aviv, August 23, 2020.Credit: Meged Gozani

Nationwide demonstrations are expected to take place on Sunday, with workers joining a half-hour strike at noon in protest of sexual violence following the suspected gang rape of a 16-year-old girl.

A number of companies announced their support for the strike as the reported gang rape case continues to spark shock and ire across the country.

Protests are set to continue at 8 P.M. at various locations around the country, with activists demanding the government implement a plan to combat violence against women that was approved three years ago, but has been delayed because of the lack of a state budget.

"At 12:00, take something red with you," protest organizers said. "Create a disturbance through inaction. Another girl was raped … We must not continue the routine. Every day, women are murdered, raped, attacked – it's time to go out to the streets. Stop everything you are doing and go out to the street or the junction next to it. Demonstrate your presence in the public space. Women, men and everyone in between – go out to the streets. We will stop the world until someone listens, until women who are murdered and raped are an issue inflaming the country."

Moran Zer Katzenstein, one of the protest organizers, said on Sunday: "The time has come to say, 'enough.' And if they don't stop, we will stop." Miri Rabino, chairwoman of the Bank Leumi workers committee, said that "we must hear the cry of the wounded, helpless women whose voices are not heard."

Also Saturday, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai announced that the city was removing an artist's well-known mural outside a women's locker room at a beach depicting boys peeping in. "The freedom of expression and art are important values in our city, and despite that – because the painting has been interpreted as acceptance of an illegal, criminal act, we decided to say goodbye to it."

Four people have been arrested in the case so far – two 17-year-olds and two 27-year-olds and seven more were detained. Over 1,000 people protested in Tel Aviv and hundreds more in some 30 other locations on Thursday following news of the suspected gang rape. Organizers said the case was not an isolated one, and was a direct continuation of what they saw as a weak public response to the case last summer when Israeli teenage boys were initially accused of raping a British woman in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, as well as two soccer players recently accused of the statutory rape of two 15-year-old girls.

Demonstrators protest over the suspected gang rape of a 16-year-old girl, Tel Aviv, August 20, 2020.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

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