Israeli Judge Resigns After Stunning Comments on Girls and Rape

The judge who reportedly said in court while hearing a case involving the gang rape of a 13-year-old Israeli girl by four Palestinian men that “some girls enjoy being raped” announced that he will leave his position effective immediately. According to a statement issued by Israel’s courts administration and justice minister, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge Nissim Yeshaya said he wished to “immediately conclude his tenure as chairman of the appeals committee.”

Retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge Nissim Yeshaya (Photo: Tel Aviv District Court via Israel Hayom)

Though the judge is retired, he was engaged in work on various judicial panels according to Israeli media accounts.

His remark in court unleashed an uproar in Israel after it was first reported Wednesday morning by Army Radio which interviewed the lawyer of the rape victim.

As TheBlaze reported Wednesday, politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as senior legal officials condemned Yeshaya’s comment.

The court was hearing arguments over whether or not the victim of the rape should be categorized by Israel’s Defense Ministry as a victim of terror, and thus eligible for certain financial payments and rehabilitation the government offers to victims of terrorist attacks.

Israeli media reported that the rape occurred in 2007 when the girl was attacked by four Palestinian men from the Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem.

Israel Hayom reported that the Palestinians were “convicted and imprisoned for the assault and the woman later petitioned the Defense Ministry and asked to be recognized by the state as a victim of an act of terrorism. The Defense Ministry denied the request and the court convened on Monday to hear the woman’s appeal.”

As TheBlaze reported on Wednesday:

Roni Aloni-Sadovnik, the attorney representing the victim, told Army Radio that she was making her case that the incident fell within the category of nationalistically-motivated attacks, “when [Judge Yeshaya] suddenly said, aloud and in earshot of everyone present, ‘There are some girls who enjoy being raped.'”

“Everyone in the room sat there in stunned silence,” the attorney recounted.

“Even the other judges on the panel fell silent for several minutes. It looked like he did not understand what he had just said and why everyone was silent all of a sudden,” she added, according to Israel Hayom.

On Wednesday afternoon, Yeshaya spoke to Army Radio to contest some of the details of the story. “Everything is distorted,” he said. “It wasn’t even a rape trial. It was a panel of the National Insurance Institute [Israeli version of Social Security]. The public has gotten the wrong impression.”

“I gave an example, that if no damage was done to the rape victim, then she does not deserve [National Insurance Institute] compensation,” the judge added.

Later, Yeshaya told Channel 2 News that he apologized because a PR professional advised him to do so. According to the Times of Israel, he said that “his words were taken out of context, and that he did not understand why his comments had caused an uproar.”

The drama surrounding this case continued Wednesday. The rape victim’s father told Israel’s Channel 10 that his daughter collapsed after she learned of the judge’s comment and was taken to the hospital.

The Times of Israel reports:

Her father said Wednesday that the family was worried that seven years of gradual rehabilitation of his daughter had been undone. Speaking on Channel 10, he also said it wasn’t the first time he’d heard these kinds of comments from judges. He said his daughter had asked him to give the interview, to “tear apart” Yeshaya. People like him, said the father, “shouldn’t be delivering verdicts.”

Netanyahu said according to the Hebrew website Maariv-NRG, “If this was said, it is a statement that was out of place. A person that expresses himself this way is not fit to serve as the head of the Likud court.”

Yeshaya was considered the front-runner for serving as president of the legal body associated with Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The rape victim’s lawyer said, “I have no doubt that he meant nothing malicious by it, but the problem is that it expresses a state of mind which is prejudice against victims of sexual assault.”

“When judges have such slips of the tongue, expressing what is really in their hearts, it is just the tip of the iceberg,” she added.