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Religious high school girls accuse teacher of years of sexual abuse

Five alleged victims come forward to detail how Tzipi Diner repeatedly assaulted them when they were teens in Ulpanat Shaalvim

Illustrative: A young student sits with her head down in an empty classroom. (Nati Shohat/Flash 90)
Illustrative: A young student sits with her head down in an empty classroom. (Nati Shohat/Flash 90)

At least five former students at a seminary for religious girls in central Israel have accused a teacher of rape and sexual assault when they were teens, according to a Sunday report.

One of the alleged victims — who was named just by the initial L. — told the Ynet news site that when she was 14, Tzipi Diner raped her and performed indecent acts, over the course of a year while she studied at Ulpanat Shaalvim, in the kibbutz of the same name.

“It was on a daily basis, at school, in my house, in her house, in the car. She turned me into a sex slave,” L. told the news site.

Four other students gave similar accounts to the news site. The report, first published in the site’s newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday, said the cases were scattered over more than a decade.

Before the allegations, Diner was said to be an admired educator among the Shaalvim students, the news site said.

“Once she took me to the synagogue in the middle of the night, sat me on her knees, undressed me, and touched me all over. I remember it was dark and she put her hands in my vagina. I wanted to die, I did not know what to do at all,” L. said.

A., another student who was in 12th grade in 2013, alleged that Diner abused her after asking her to sleep over at her house, which she said appeared to be a regular thing for students.

According to A., at one point Diner asked her to sleep in the same bed as her while her husband was abroad. “We were spooning and then [she] touched my arm, caressing, touching my thigh and arms, touching my breasts. When we were in bed she always talked about sexuality, and sex with her husband,” she said.

Sassy Gez, an attorney representing Diner, told the news site that she denies the allegations. “My client dedicated her life and spent her best years in education, as evidenced by the thousands of students she taught,” the lawyer said in a statement.

“My client has always done everything in her power to help all those who needed support. Diner regrets any feeling of pain or harm, but she never did anything intentionally to harm,” the statement added.

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