A professor and researcher for a right-wing Israeli think tank suggested in an interview earlier this month that raping Arab women was the only way to deter suicide bombers.
After Palestinians allegedly abducted and killed three Israeli teens in late June, Bar-Ilan University professor Dr. Mordechai Kedar spoke with a Hebrew-language radio show about what could be done to stop Hamas.
“You have to understand the culture in which we live,” Kedar explained in the June 1 interview, according to a transcript published by Haaretz. “Terrorists like those who kidnapped the children and killed them — the only thing that deters them is if they know that their sister or their mother will be raped in the event that they are caught. What can you do, that’s the culture in which we live.”
Host Yossi Hadar pointed out Israel could not “take such steps.”
“I’m not talking about what we should or shouldn’t do,” Kedar insisted. “I’m talking about the facts. The only thing that deters a suicide bomber is the knowledge that if he pulls the trigger or blows himself up, his sister will be raped.”
“That’s all. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, in order to preserve his sister’s honor.”
In addition to working for the right-wing Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan University, Kedar also founded the Israel Academia Monitor website, which is dedicated to fighting left-leaning “extremist Israeli academics who exploit academic freedom in order to take steps to deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.”
In a statement provided to Haaretz, Bar-Ilan University said that Kedar was not advocating using rape to fight terrorism.
The professor “wanted to illustrate that there is no means of deterring suicide bombers, and using hyperbole, he gave the rape of women as an example,” the statement said. “In order to remove all doubt: Dr. Kedar’s words do not, God forbid, contain a recommendation to commit such despicable acts. The intention was to describe the culture of death of the terror organizations. Dr. Kedar was describing the bitter reality of the Middle East and the inability of a modern and liberal law-abiding country to fight against the terror of suicide bombers.”
A letter to Bar-Ilan University president Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz from feminist activists in Israel warned that Kedar could be inciting “Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Israeli civilians to commit rape, and endanger both Israeli and Palestinian women.”
“Kedar’s words echo expressions that treat rape as a remedial practice, although it is a war crime,” the letter noted.