Israel's President Herzog calls for investigation after prison guard sex abuse reports

Female staff say their superiors connived in assaults by inmates at a maximum-security jail

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said he was 'filled with shock and pain' at the allegations. AFP
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Israeli President Isaac Herzog called on Tuesday for an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of female guards by prisoners at a maximum-security jail with the encouragement of their superiors.

“Hearing the testimonies of the female prison wardens in recent days, I am filled with shock and pain, and I feel sick,” Mr Herzog said in a statement.

“We must investigate these cases in depth, so that everyone responsible is held accountable with the fullest severity. That is our obligation.”

Last week, a former soldier who served as a prison guard in the Gilboa Prison in northern Israel wrote an social media post under a pseudonym accusing her superior of repeatedly “handing her over” to be raped and assaulted by a Palestinian inmate a few years ago.

On Monday, an Israel Prison Service officer was questioned under caution about those allegations.

Several women have since alleged that female guards were abused by political prisoners at the same prison, according to Israeli media reports.

In a response to a request for comment, an IPS representative said the “serious allegations” refer to an incident a few years ago.

“The information is under a gag order, and we will wait for the results of the police investigation and act accordingly with zero tolerance,” the representative said.

The Gilboa Prison case surfaced amid a wave of sexual abuse allegations against men in Israel's security forces.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid toured Ofer military prison near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, according to a statement released by his office.

“We will investigate, we will get to the truth,” Mr Lapid said, adding that the IPS must be protected because “the life of every Israeli citizen depends on its strength and integrity.”

Updated: August 03, 2022, 7:14 AM