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Former prison guard confronts terror inmate she alleges raped her multiple times

IDF veteran tells suspect he ruined her life, urges him to reveal which Gilboa Prison superiors were complicit in sexual abuse; suspect claims she initiated sex between them

General view of the Lahav 443 police unit headquarters in the city of Lod on November 4, 2019. (Flash90/File)
General view of the Lahav 443 police unit headquarters in the city of Lod on November 4, 2019. (Flash90/File)

A former prison guard who claims she was repeatedly raped by a terror convict during her service at Gilboa Prison seven years ago confronted her alleged assailant on Sunday under police watch, accusing him of rape and urging him to reveal who among the prison staff was complicit in the acts.

The interview between the two was held at the headquarters of Israel Police’s Lahav 433 serious crime unit.

The unnamed woman, a female former IDF soldier who served as a prison guard, alleged last month that she was repeatedly raped by the prisoner, an accusation that has roiled the Israel Prison Service and has been followed by further claims of sexual assault by other former soldiers who served in the jail. The accusations have included claims that prison administrators were either complicit in or ignored the incidents.

Since going public with her claims, the woman has used the pseudonym “Hila.”

For an hour and a half, Hila accosted the prisoner, who cannot be identified in the media due to a gag order on details of the case, telling him he had ruined her life. According to Ynet, the prisoner smiled and mocked Hila.

Hila urged him to reveal “who among the prison service officers cooperated with you and allowed you to rape me,” the report said, without citing sources.

She reportedly told the prisoner that in the years since the alleged attacks happened, he still “comes to her in dreams and nightmares.” To this, he was said to respond: “I will continue to come in your nightmares.”

Screen capture from video of a former IDF soldier who alleged she was raped by a security prison when she was serving as a guard at the Gilboa Prison, seen during an interview with Channel 12, August 8, 2022. (Channel 12)

The prisoner claimed that Hila had initiated sex between them because she was jealous that he had “felt up” other female guards, but had shown no interest in her. He claimed she was making up the rape accusation.

“Stop lying already, I am not the only one that you harmed sexually,” Hila said, noting that several other former guards claimed they suffered various forms of assault. “Are they all lying and only you are telling the truth?”

Ynet cited unidentified police sources as saying the confrontation had strengthened belief in Hila’s version of events and that it was “clear” that the prisoner was lying. But they noted that the case was difficult to pursue from an evidentiary point of view and was likely to end with offenses of indecent acts, rather than a rape conviction.

Hila’s attorney, Keren Barak, who accompanied her to the meeting, said in a statement that her client  “feels stronger after the confrontation, that she could finally stand in front of the rapist who murdered her spirit in prison, and no longer fears him.”

Barak, who also represents other former female guards at the prison who claim they were sexually abused by prisoners with cooperation from administrators, said the prisoner “ruled Gilboa Prison, its commanders, officers, and guards with a firm and unquestionable hand.”

Last week, Hila gave an interview to Channel 12 in which she described how the prisoner built up a relationship with her by offering to use his influence to protect her from other prisoners. He first assaulted her when she was left alone with him in a location where there were no cameras, she said.

Last month, Ynet reported that a Palestinian prisoner convicted of terrorism, Mahmoud Atallah, was being investigated by police over sexual assault while behind bars.

Allegations that guards at Gilboa “pimped out” female IDF soldiers serving in the prison to Palestinian terror convicts have circulated since 2018. The case largely disappeared from the public eye after little evidence was found.

But last year. the allegations returned to the forefront, following bombshell remarks from Gilboa Prison warden Freddy Ben Shitrit. In November, Ben Shitrit — who was not at the prison when the incidents allegedly took place — said female soldiers who were guards at the prison had been pressed into serving as eye candy or worse for some inmates, as a means of keeping prisoners from getting out of hand.

Ben Shitrit made the claims during testimony before a commission of inquiry probing last September’s prison break by Palestinian terror convicts, which highlighted a series of shortcomings in the prison’s operations and sparked harsh criticism of the Prison Service.

Attention to the issue grew last month after Hila came forward with her story.

She made her allegations in a post on the crowdfunding site, BeActive, where her attorney Barak set up a campaign to support her. In the post, she said she was “handed over” by her commander to a dangerous terrorist “so that he could hurt me and sexually abuse me again and again,” and added that other female guards had suffered the same fate.

Gilboa Prison commander Freddy Ben Shitrit arrives for his testimony at the state commission of inquiry into the incident of the escape of the security prisoners from the Gilboa prison, in Modi’in, July 31, 2022. (Flash90)

The renewed allegations led to a fiery Knesset hearing earlier this month on the issue, and promises from government and prison officials to fully investigate the claims and make sure those responsible pay for their actions.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he ordered the reevaluation of a years-long agreement allowing IDF conscripts to be drafted to the Israel Prisons Service, but Public Security Minister Omer Barlev replied that such a change would require new legislation.

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