During a Hebrew language press conference on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the silence of the international community regarding Hamas’ rape and sexual mutilation of women in southern communities in Israel and at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7.
“I didn’t hear the human rights organizations, or the women’s organizations, or the women’s organizations of the UN… and I ask them: Where are you? Were you quiet because we were talking about Jewish women? I want to say this in a language that everybody understands,” Netanyahu said in Hebrew.
Switching to English, the prime minister continued: “I want to say to the women’s rights organizations, to the human rights organizations. You have heard of the rape of the Israeli women, horrible atrocities, and sexual mutilations. Where the hell are you?"
“I expect all civilized leaders, governments, nations to speak up against this atrocity,” Netanyahu stated.
The United Nations waited nearly two months before condemning Hamas’ use of rape as a weapon of war and only did so after a long campaign by Israel and Israeli activists to have the UN break its silence on the matter.
The First Lady of Israel, Michal Herzog, blasted the silence of international organizations in an op-ed she wrote for Newsweek, entitled The Silence from International Bodies Over Hamas’ Mass Rapes is a Betrayal of All Women.
“The silence of international human rights organizations, and the unwillingness to believe Israeli women in the face of overwhelming evidence has been devastating,” she wrote.
On Monday, Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations held a session at the UN headquarters in New York during which it exposed the horrific sexual violence committed by Hamas.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan condemned the silence of the UN.
“Sadly, the very international bodies that are supposedly the defenders of all women showed that when it comes to Israelis, indifference is acceptable,” Erdan said.
“To these organizations, Israeli women are not women, the rape of Israelis is not an act of rape. Their silence has been deafening!” he added.
Even as the UN broke its shameful silence, the condemnation was only mildly expressed and followed by a demand for a “vigorous investigation” to verify the accusations.
“There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere,” UN Sec.-Gen. António Guterres posted to X on Nov. 29.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden, while speaking at a political fundraiser in Boston, said that stories of “unimaginable cruelty” had been shared over the past few weeks.
“Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive, of women's corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them. It is appalling,” the U.S. president said and called on international organizations, civil society and individuals to condemn sexual violence “without exception.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.