A Jewish Israeli woman who claimed to have been raped by two Palestinians in Tel Aviv has told the police that she lied about the allegations.
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The 22-year-old woman, who is mentally challenged, said that she was in a consensual relationship with one of the Palestinians, a minor, and that her family fabricated the rape allegations to put an end to their affair.
In an official statement, the police said that after 15 days of investigating the case no evidence has been found to support the rape allegations.
The police said it has asked the court to release the two suspects under restricted conditions. They will be required to post bail, stay away from Tel Aviv and avoid contact with the accuser. The minor is expected to be charged with being in Israel illegally.
The two Palestinians, residents of the Nablus area, were arrested last Wednesday. The woman claimed that during the rape, which she said took place on Independence Day, the two also cursed and hurled racist epithets at her, and urinated on her. A third person who was accused of being involved in the case was never apprehended.
The woman changed her account following a court hearing on Monday. The police initially decided not to release the minor while trying to make sure that the woman didn't withdraw her testimony because she was afraid or exhausted from the questioning.
The case caused controversy over the past week as the police struggled to ascertain whether the alleged attack was politically motivated.
Last Thursday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complicated matters with a Facebook post relating to the incident: “This was a horrific crime that requires wall-to-wall condemnation, but such condemnation hasn’t been heard.
"One can only imagine what would have happened if the situation were reversed,” Netanyahu wrote, implying that if the accused assailants were Jewish and the victim was Arab, the reaction would have been one of greater outrage.
By the next morning, however, the prime minister had developed second thoughts, posting: “The incident as reported caused me deep shock and pain – however, it wasn’t right for me to address the topic until the investigation was complete.”