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National Review
National Review
2 Dec 2023
Ari Blaff


NextImg:Israeli ‘Gender Crimes’ Investigator Finds Hamas ‘Weaponized’ Sexual Assault during Invasion

Cochav Elkayam-Levy, an Israeli academic appointed by the government to investigate crimes of sexual assault committed by Hamas on October 7, has confirmed that the terror group “weaponized” violence against women to break “the spirit of the Israelis.”

“The torture of women was weaponized in the destruction of communities, in sowing general horror and in breaking the spirit of the Israelis,” Levy told the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz in a wide-ranging interview on Thursday. “Suddenly seeing the big picture, how systematic it was, the extent of the violence – it was a punch in the stomach.”

Levy established a task force, which he calls the “Gender Crimes War Room,” to investigate sexual violence perpetrated by several Palestinian terror groups that invaded the border communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Levy’s conclusion is based on a growing number of eyewitness testimonials, photographic evidence, and the videotaped confessions of Palestinian terrorists who were apprehended by Israeli security forces. At least two have openly admitted sexual violence was a designed strategy of the Hamas invasion. “Soil them, rape them,” is how one operative described his instructions. Another recalled a commander telling his unit, “You have to step on their heads. Cut off their heads. Do everything to them.”

On Saturday morning, nearly two months after the deadly invasion, U.N. Women, an international body advocating for “gender equality and women’s empowerment,” finally released a statement directly addressing the widespread reports of sexual assault. “We reiterate that all women, Israeli women, Palestinian women, as all others, are entitled to a life lived in safety and free from violence,” the group wrote in a public message posted on X. “We unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October. We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks.”

That statement came after the group issued and then quickly retracted a statement explicitly condemning Hamas. The retracted statement was issued after weeks of silence on Hamas’s barbarism.

Sarah Hendriks, the deputy director of the nongovernmental body, gave a similarly vapid response when pressed during a CNN interview this week to explain the group’s silence.

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In mid November, the head of the University of Alberta’s sexual assault center was fired for signing a letter that condemned a Canadian politician “of making unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence.”

The refusal to accept the reality of Hamas atrocities has been interpreted by many Israelis and Jews across the world as callous and antisemitic, given that many of these groups and advocates were so vocal throughout the “Me Too” era. The suspicion of accounts of sexual violence on 10/7 led to #MeToo_UNless_UR_a_Jew to go viral on social-media platforms.

This week, Owen Jones, a popular YouTuber and self-described “socialist, antifascist,” was widely condemned after posting a video sharing his thoughts after seeing an Israeli military film of the atrocities. “Now, if there was rape and sexual violence committed, we don’t see this on the footage, either,” the Guardian contributor told viewers before describing a particular image of a burned female body. Damningly, in 2014, Jones argued, “that if survivors came forward they might finally be listened to and believed. It would be a tragedy indeed if that legacy was undermined.”

The hypocrisy led to widespread condemnation from fellow journalists who attended the same screening and were shocked by what they saw. “I actually find it really upsetting watching him say that,” one female panelist said on the British channel, TalkTv. “I was at the same screening and sat behind him. Now, for me, it is incredible that somebody could watch that film and that their takeaway is that they didn’t see evidence of rape.”

“There were multiple women who were dead with green bruises, and that particular one he was talking about – I wouldn’t have mentioned it, but now you’ve shown the clip of him – he’s talking about a woman who’s naked on the lower body, she’s dead, she’s burned, she’s contorted like a mannequin. And his takeaway is: ‘We don’t have evidence she was raped.”

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“The moment those organizations keep silent, or do not report the truth, we have a problem,” Levy told the outlet. “It is incomprehensible that agencies of the UN that are responsible for [promoting and safeguarding] women’s rights are ignoring the Israeli women who were taken hostage, or were murdered and raped by Hamas.”

“Never in my life had I imagined I would face my colleagues to talk about gender-based war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out against Israeli women and children on such a large scale,” Levy told Haaretz, “and we are assuming that many more cases will surface in the future.”