Minors Could Face Jail for 'Revenge Porn,' Israel's State Prosecutor Says

Crime carries a maximum five year prison term.

Moti Milrod

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has issued a directive stating that minors can be prosecuted for publishing or sharing sexually explicit videos without the subject’s consent.

The distribution of so-called revenge porn, defined as sexually explicit images or video uploaded or shared on social media with the intent of harassing or humiliating the subject, became a criminal offense in 2014. The crime is equivalent to that of sexual harassment and carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

“There is a concrete public interest in enforcing the law, even when the suspects are minors with no previous criminal record,” Nitzan wrote in the directive issued on Monday.

He cited what he called the great damage to and far-reaching implications of the offense for its victims, and the need to impress upon teenagers the importance of the prohibition.

Nitzan added that cases would be closed due to “lack of public interest” only in exceptional circumstances, such as when a suspect younger than 15, where the distribution of the offensive material was very limited or where the suspect’s role in its distribution was minor.

The directive instructs investigators to focus on the original posters or distributors of the material, and to prove that the suspect was aware that the subject did not consent to its distribution.

In the three years since the law was passed, dozens of case files have been opened and some 30 indictments have been handed down.

The directive also addressed the handling of the offensive material’s removal from the Internet.

Victims are informed that they can apply to the operators of the platform through which the material was distributed. Additionally, the cyber crimes unit of the State Attorney’s Office can request that social media apps and Internet search engines to remove the material.