Israel’s prime minister promised on Sunday to investigate allegations by a former female guard at a maximum security prison that she had been repeatedly raped by a Palestinian prisoner after being forced to work as a “sex slave” by her superiors.
Reports that female guards had been abused by inmates at Gilboa Prison have been circulating in the Israeli media for years.
But the prison’s management came under scrutiny last September, when six Palestinian inmates broke out of Gilboa by tunneling out of their cells through the drainage system, an escape that made global headlines.
Over the past year, there has been a series of revelations about what some Israeli media are calling the Gilboa “Pimping Affair,” a reference to widespread reports that male supervisors commissioned female guards in situations where they were vulnerable to prisoner abuse.
But last week, a woman who identified herself as a former Gilboa guard and who remained anonymous posted online testimony saying she had been repeatedly raped by a Palestinian prisoner.
She said she was “handed over” to him by her superiors and became his “private sex slave”.
“I didn’t want to be raped, but to be violated over and over,” she said.
The woman’s lawyer, Keren Barak, then confirmed the anonymous testimony on Israeli Channel 12 over the weekend, saying her client needed mental health support after the ordeal.
Commenting on the developments, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told his cabinet on Sunday: “It cannot be (to be tolerated) that a soldier is raped by a terrorist while on duty.”
“It must – and will be – investigated. We will make sure that the soldier gets help,” Lapid said.
In a separate statement on Sunday, Homeland Security Minister Omer Barlev said the “affair that took place in Gilboa prison a few years ago” had “shocked the Israeli public”.
“I’ve read the testimonials that have been published and I’m just shocked,” Barlev said.
Lapid said aspects of the case were under a gag order, but he was holding talks with Israel Prison Service (IPS) commissioner Katy Perry “to ensure that such an incident never happens again”.
Gilboa Prison, in northern Israel, is where Israel is holding a number of Palestinians convicted of involvement in attacks on Israelis.
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