Women and child evacuees face sexual assaults and violence in hotels

‘The situation in the hotels is like a pressure cooker; a large concentration of populations who live in difficult conditions, involuntarily.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Women and girls evacuated from their homes in Israel are facing physical and sexual abuse in hotels, according to ​The Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

The committee, headed by MK Pnina Tameno Shete (National Unity Party) met on Tuesday to discuss the problem and propose solutions for evacuees who are vulnerable to sexual crimes and violence in hotels and other accommodation.

Since Hamas’ invasion and massacre on October 7th, 56,000 Israelis have been evacuated from their homes in the north and the south for security reasons, and many of them are housed in hotels.

MK Tameno Shete, chair of the committee, said due to the fact that evacuees “stay in a certain place for a long period of time, surrounded by people who are not family” they require extra protection.

“The situation in the hotels is like a pressure cooker; a large concentration of populations who live in difficult conditions, involuntarily,” said Shai Kahan, deputy head of the Government Directorate for Swords of Iron War Evacuees in the Prime Minister’s Office.

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The committee discussed many cases of abuse and violence, including domestic abuse victims being placed in the same room with spouses against whom they had secured a restraining order before the war.

Police have reported 40 new cases of domestic violence among evacuees since the beginning of the war.

There are numerous allegations of sexual abuse and violence suffered by evacuees with older males sexually assaulting women and girls in elevators, allegations of a male evacuee raping a female evacuee, a teenage girl saying she was sexually assaulted by a 15 year old boy, and a 23 year old man repeatedly molesting a 13 year old girl in the hotel.

One mother complained that an 8-year old boy had stripped her three-year old daughter naked.

The sexual violations aren’t confined to the hotels. Children attending new schools complain of being sexually harassed by guards, and students in preparatory programs have also claimed sexual assault.

Liat Gal of the Federation of Regional Authorities said, “We are dealing with encounters of 40 and 50 year-old men with younger women. This situation creates a complex reality.”

At the conclusion of the meeting Tameno Shete said, “You have to know what the precise situation is in each one of the hotels. If you do not know how many complaints there are, or where the violent atmosphere that needs to be treated is, then we will not be able to move forward.”

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