2 more arrested in suspected Eilat gang rape, bringing number of detainees to 13

Court orders release of one suspect, saying there is no evidence he was involved; hotel manager released to house arrest

Eilat's Red Sea Hotel, where an alleged gang rape took place in mid-August 2020. (Channel 12 screenshot)
Eilat's Red Sea Hotel, where an alleged gang rape took place in mid-August 2020. (Channel 12 screenshot)

Police on Monday night arrested two more people in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl at an Eilat hotel earlier this month, bringing the number of detainees to 13 with further arrests expected.

Also Monday, one of the young men arrested in connection incident was released from custody with a judge at the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court, where his remand was reviewed, ruling there was “no probable cause” to suspect the man of involvement in the act.

His lawyer Michael Buskila expressed appreciation for the decision, saying: “My client was asleep at the time and was not involved at all.”

Police said they had arrested two more minors in the case Monday. Officials said they expected more arrests in the coming days. Those under arrest include both minors and adults.

Meanwhile the remand of a 27-year-old from Hadera was extended by four days. According to Kan news, he is suspected of possessing and distributing footage of the rape.

The manager of the Red Sea Hotel, where the alleged assault took place, was questioned and placed under arrest on Sunday on suspicion of failing to prevent a crime and interfering in a police investigation. On Monday she was released to house arrest.

The alleged gang rape case shocked the country and spurred calls for reforms, as testimony indicated that a large group of men lined up outside the intoxicated underage girl’s hotel room, patiently waiting their turn to rape her, as eyewitnesses failed to intervene.

On Sunday, hundreds protested in Tel Aviv against government policies on sexual violence.  Some 1,500 demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, with smaller rallies taking place in the cities of Haifa, Kiryat Ono, Beersheba and other locations.

Israelis take part in a demonstration in support of the 16 year old victim of an alleged gang rape in Eilat, in Tel Aviv. August 20, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Also Sunday thousands of Israelis observed a symbolic work stoppage to denounce sexual violence against women. The hour-long strike at noon was held “to protest the growing violence against women and girls in Israel, and lack of sufficient punishment,” said women’s group Building an Alternative.

Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir said Monday he would form a professional team to create a plan for the prevention of sexual violence at hotels and increase guests’ security at establishments.

A senior police official told Channel 12 Sunday that investigators have evidence that strengthens the 16-year-old victim’s claims about the case.

“This whole case is based on her testimony and this testimony is supported, among other things, by the findings we have collected so far,” he said.

The official said the evidence indicates the rape went on for a long period of time, and the investigators have sensitive material they are not willing to reveal yet.

“This is a shocking rape that went on for many hours,” he said.

Investigators believe the number of assailants was likely in the double digits, the Walla news site reported. Initial reports indicated the number of assailants was as high as 30, but the girl’s lawyer said that figure had not come from her client, and it has since been called into question.

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