Friday, December 31, 1999

In Memory of Anne Marie and Erik Erikkson and the Incest Survivors Resource Network International (ISRNI)

Anne Marie and Eric Erikkson

Friends Meeting House 15 Rutherford Place New York, New York
Mail Address: P.O. Box 7375, Las Cruces, NM 88006-7375
(505) 521-4260      Fax: (505) 521-3723
Web Site:     E-mail:


Anne Marie Erikkson
 March 30, 1932 - April 3, 1999
Erik A. Eriksson, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret)
December 28, 1920 - January 28, 1999

History Lesson in advocating for the rights of adult survivors of child sexual abuse:

Incest Survivors Resource Network International (ISRNI), founded in 1983 at the New York City Friends Meeting House, is a survivor-run international network and EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE dedicated to prevention. Since 1983 it has operated the first national and international helpline for incest survivors and professionals answered in person by incest-survivors-only (hours now reduced from 24-hr to 2-4pm ET and llpm-Midnight ET Mon-Sat). It continues to encourage inquiries from adult survivors of mother-son incest and also continues to include information on forming self-help groups. ISRNI has been a co-sponsor of numerous conferences held by national and international community and professional organizations and the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) annual National Forum on Victim Rights. ISRNI also provided the resource list that accompanied the Eleventh Commandment Foundations's panel on child sexual abuse held in the People's Republic of China at the 1995 UN NGO Forum on Women.

ISRNI was founded and is operated as a religious peace witness by incest survivors concerned with the relationship of unresolved traumatic stress to strife and violence in the world. An independent non-profit organization that accepts no outside funding, ISRNI provides its resources to the public by being an adjunct to the Task Group on Family Trauma of New York Yearly Meeting, and to the Las Cruces Monthly Meeting, both of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Anne-Marie Eriksson, a retired probation officer, is president. Vice-president Barbara Santee, PhD (medical sociology), works in women's health issues. Secretary-treasurer, Erik A. Eriksson, Lt. Col., USAF(Ret), was formerly secretary-treasurer of the Region IX Tri-Service Military Family Advocacy Subcommittee.

ISRNI is concerned with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder as a component of inter-generational transmission of verbal and physical violence; especially regarding overt, covert and emotional incest. The experience of ISRNI has been that resolution of trauma involves spiritual recovery intertwined with three integral camponents: Education, professional therapeutic intervention and self-help.

Sought as a resource by many, including the media, ISRNI has been a catalyst in numerous areas. Since its inception, it has fostered the building of bridges between professionals and self-help groups. ISRNI president, Anne-Marie Eriksson, was co-founder and co-chair of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies "Interest Area on Building Bridges Between Professionals and Self-help Groups". From 2/83 through ll/87 ISRNI facilitated an early, unique incest-survivor-only mixed gender group. ISRNI was a pioneer in discussing: the aftereffects of incest; female offenders; the vital need for effective treatment programs for juvenile offenders; the role of the mother in father-daughter incest; the concept of emotional incest.

ISRNI is a member of: Friends Association for Higher Education; International Peace Research Association; National Adolescent Perpetrator Network; National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse;  National Organization for Victim Assistance; National Victim Center;  and World Federation for Mental Health,  among others. It is a co-convenor of the Ouaker Sexual Child Abuse Prevention Network (Ouaker SCAPnet). On behalf of ISRNI, board members and officers are members of: American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children;  International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect;  International Society for the Study of Dissociation;  International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies;  National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; as well as a number of survivor-run organizations such as M.A.L.E;  National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization;  and VOICES in Action, Inc.

ISRNI presented at the Fifth International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect; the Eighth Conference of Parents United International; the Second and Fourth Annual Meetings of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies; the First and Third International Conferences on Incest and Related Problems and was among the expert consultants at the World Federation for Mental Health's 1987 Consultation on Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Victims at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.



Anne Marie Eriksson's Resume - June 15, 1997
Scope and content
This collection contains documents and materials concerning the Incest Survivors Resource Network International (ISRNI) compiled by Anne Marie Eriksson, former president and board member. While most of the materials come from or relate to ISRNI, the collection includes documents pertaining to other related organizations that Eriksson was involved with. Personal files for Erik and Anne Marie Eriksson are included.
The bulk of the collection encompasses the organization's inception (1983) through its dissolution (1998). However, the file also contains documents preceding ISRNI's incorporation.

EMPLOYMENT: (Please note: Full-time service to ISRNI has always been without salary or other compensation; The other positions were salaried)

1983 - Founding President, Incest Survivors Resource Network International (ISRNI), an educational resource adjunct to the Task Group on Family Trauma, New York Yearly Meeing of the Religious Socity of Friends. Organized and still operate the ISRNI helpline, the first national and international helpline for survivors and professionals answered in person by incest-survivors-only. Co-facilitated mixed gender peer group, 1983-87.

1972-84 - Probation Officer assigned to New York State Courts in Kings, New York and Queens Counties. In addition to regular duties was also the agency representative on the New York City Advisory Task Force on Sexual Assault.

1971-72 - Family Worker. Childrens Aid Society Head Start, New York City.
1964-71 - Community volunteer while at home with three children. Volunteer service included serving on the Community Advisory Board of Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, 1972-82.

1960-64 - Social Worker, NYS Department of Social Welfare, assigned to NYC Aftercare, NYS Training School for Girls.

1960-60 - Organizer and interim Supervisor, Children's Social Services, NY Association for the Blind (The Lighthouse)

1955-59 - Preschool Counselor, NY Association for the Blind (The Lighthouse), New York City 
1982 - Numerous courses and workshops on family violence and incest. Certificates in Incest and Rape Crisis Intervention from Adelphi University Resource Center for Crime Victim Advocates (1986) and from St. Vincent's Medical Center, NYC (1983).

1959-60 32 graduate credits from CUNY Hunter College School of Social Work (attended on a one year scholarship as a winner of national competition sponsored by New York State Department of Social Welfare).
1955 - Early Childhood Education, SUNY, Fredonia.

PRESENTATIONS included: (physically unable to travel after 1990)
Aug 1989 - Third International Conference on Incest & Related Problems, London. Also received award.

Apr 1989 - Co-chair and presenter, Symposium on Incest, New York City

Oct 1988 - Fourth Annual Meeting, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Dallas

Aug 1987 - Presentation for Family Court staff, Goteborg, Sweden

Aug 1987 - First International Conference on Incest & Related Problems, Zurich

Sep 1986 - Second Annual Meeting, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Denver

Aug 1984 - Eighth Annual Parents United International Conference, Santa Clara, CA

Sep 1984 - Fifth International Child Abuse Congress, Montreal

Dec 1983  -  U..S. Attorney General's Task Force on Family Violence, New York City (also over one hundred presentations in USA and Europe for local organizations, universities and agencies)

  • American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (Membership Committee);
  • International Peace Research Association: International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (was founding co-chair of the Interest Area on Building Bridges Between Professionals and Self-Help Groups); 
  • International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect; 
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (Membership Committee); 
  • National Organization for Victim Assistance; Quaker SCAPnet (Coordinator); 
  • VOICES in Action, Inc. (Board member, 1985).
HONORS include:
Expert Consultant at World Federation for Mental Health's 1987 Consultation on Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Victims, United Nations Headquarters, New York City
Listed in: Who's Who in America, 51th Edition (1996); Who's Who Among Human Among Human Service Professionals

 An Inventory of the Incest Survivors Resource Network International Papers, 1983-1998
Anne Marie and Eric Erikkson heroes to many

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Case of Benny Sela

Case of Benny Sela
(AKA: "The Tel Aviv Rapist")

Tel Aviv, Israel

Benny Sela known as the "Tel Aviv serial rapist" was convicted in October, 2000 on 13 counts of rape. Benny Sela tortured, beat and raped dozens of little girls and women, terrorizing an entire city for months.  

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents: 

  1. Serial rapist suspect captured (12/15/1999)
  2. Tel Aviv serial rapist believed caught  (12/16/1999)
  3. The (bad) boy next door  (12/24/1999)
  4. Police under fire  (12/24/1999)
  5. Crime and punishment  (12/24/1999)

  1. Benny Sela still refuses to cooperate with his defence attorneys  (07/27/2000)
  2. Benny Sela convicted of 13 rapes (10/03/2000)
  3. Court rejects Sela's plea for immediate sentence (11/29/2000)

  1. Serial rapist Sela gets 35 years (01/01/2001)
  2. FROM A DISTANCE: A shattered dream  (01/11/2001)

  1. Know thy neighbor (07/29/2002)
  1. Jailed rapist charged with harassing victim (01/12/2004)
  2. Convicted serial rapist Benny Sela appeals 35-year sentence (01/12/2004)
  3. Convicted serial rapist Benny Sela appeals 35-year sentence  (01/20/2004)
  4. Court rejects rapist's appeal against severity of sentence (01/20/2004)
  1. Police: Only public will find serial rapist (11/25/2006)
  2. Benny Sela: A study in evil (11/26/2006)
  3. Rapist's escape a warning sign (12/01/2006)
  4. Twenty years after being attacked, serial rapist victim finally speaks out about her ordeal (12/06/2006)
  5. Exclusive: What police did to serial rapist (12/10/2006)

  1. Court puts paid to serial rapist's serial motions (08/14/2011)

Also see:


Serial rapist suspect captured
Jerusalem Post - 19:30 Wednesday, December 15, 1999

The police this evening announced the capture of a man suspected of being the serial rapist responsible for 24 rapes, attempted rapes, and sexual assaults, Israel Radio reported. He was identified as Tel Aviv resident Benny Sela, 28, a plumber and delivery truck driver. Police said Sela, who is not cooperating with investigators, was identified by DNA testing. Preliminary results of the testing indicate there is a one in a million chance that another person could have committed the crimes, the police told a press conference.


Tel Aviv serial rapist believed caught
Jerusalem Post - Thursday, December 16, 1999
By Jerusalem Post Staff

\TEL AVIV (December 16) - The serial rapist who terrorized Tel Aviv and the central region of the country for some five years has apparently been captured, police said yesterday.

Tel Aviv District police officials said that DNA from Benny Sela, 28, who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of committing two indecent acts in the Hadar Yosef region, is believed to match that left behind by the serial rapist in other attacks.

Police said that, based on the DNA evidence, Sela is now suspected of another 24 attacks, among them nine rapes and forced sodomy.

Police said the DNA tests have an extremely high matching probability, leading to the police estimates that Sela is indeed their man.

However, they are still awaiting the results of further lab tests to provide even stronger proof linking Sela to the crimes.

Channel 2 reported that, according to police, Sela served time in prison during the five-year period, and that while he was in prison there were no attacks attributed to the serial rapist.

However, the attacks resumed once he was released.

Sela's lawyer denied he has any connection with any of the crimes attributed to the serial rapist.

Channel 2 also reported that those who know Sela said he was sexually abused himself as a child. One of the serial rapist's victims reportedly recalled her attacker said he was abused as a youngster, Channel 2 said.


The (bad) body next door
By Larry Derfner
Jerusalem Post - December 24, 1999

(December 24) -- The arrest of Benny Sela, the alleged Tel Aviv serial rapist, stunned his neighbors, who used to happily leave him alone with their daughters, Larry Derfner reports --

We used to hear yelling from their apartment all the time. His mother would scream at him, 'Get the hell out of here, why do you keep coming around here?'" recalled a woman neighbor of Benny Sela, 28, the suspected Tel Aviv serial rapist.

"His mother is very bossy, and she never seemed to care much about him," said the neighbor, who for some 20 years has lived near the Selas on Rehov Hanoch, one of the slummy alleys near the Hatikva market in south Tel Aviv.

Right across the alley from the Sela apartment is the almost four-story-high electricity pole from which Sela's father, an alcoholic, jumped to his death when his eldest son was just past his bar mitzva.

During his trial three years ago for sexually molesting his cousin from the time she was eight until she was 15 - for which Sela served a year-and-a-half in Ayalon Prison - he testified that his father used to beat him.

"In a sense Sela is a model of the serial rapist," said Prof. Giora Shoham, a Tel Aviv University criminologist who has studied violent criminals in Israel and abroad. "His father used to beat him, and his mother wasn't there to help him. She was emotionally absent. When a young boy asks for love and instead receives rejection and violence, then for him rejection and violence become synonymous with love."

Prof. Menahem Amir, a Hebrew University criminologist, insisted there wasn't enough public information about Sela yet to say that he matched a common profile of serial rapists. Yet when asked what typically drove such criminals, Amir replied: "They want to take revenge against women. Usually they've been rejected by their mother, or perhaps by their first love. Often their father was punitive and abusive, and their mother didn't protect them."

Police say Sela committed at least 24, and as many as 34, rapes, sexual assaults, and sexual molestations of women and girls over the past five years - mainly in Tel Aviv, and mostly in the past year-and-a-half since he was released from prison. Police say they have DNA matches between Sela and the bodily evidence found in 10 of the crimes. Such identification makes it certain beyond the most infinitesimal doubt that Sela is the serial rapist, Shoham said.

FOR many months, this rapist cast a deepening shadow of terror over women in the greater Tel Aviv area. Police, under intensifying criticism for failing to catch the assailant (see box), devoted extraordinary resources and manpower to tracking him down. On the Monday before last, Sela was arrested when, for the first known time, he attacked out in the open instead of behind closed doors.

He returned to the locale of some of his previous alleged rapes, Tel Aviv's Hadar Yosef neighborhood, and molested two teenage girls on the street in the middle of the day. They screamed for help, neighbors called police, and policemen who had been staking out the area for some time chased Sela down.

"He wanted to get caught. He was worn out. He couldn't keep it going any longer," surmised Shoham.

Police say Sela has admitted to those two final molestations, but to none of the other crimes. During his bail hearings in court he has been almost totally uncommunicative, staring at the floor.

It's already a cliche that every time a mass murderer or rapist is discovered after evading police for a long time, his neighbors are stunned. Often they describe the criminal as: "A real quiet sort of fellow. Didn't say much, except maybe 'Hi.' Kept to himself, mostly."

Sela's neighbors are definitely shocked. But they paint a portrait of a friendly guy next door.

"The man they're talking about - this is not the Benny I know. Deep down, I still can't believe that he did it. It's like you know a person, and then you discover that he's really the devil," said a neighbor, who didn't want her name used.

The man who runs the grocery store next door to the Selas' ground-floor apartment listed reasons why he is unconvinced Sela is the rapist, DNA match or not. "The composite drawing the police put out doesn't look like Benny at all," he noted.

Pictures of Sela's face have been banned from publication; the woman neighbor described him as "short, dark, pleasant-looking, with a big nose." The store owner, who likewise didn't want his name published, added: "I never saw him looking at women with any kind of suspicious-looking stare. Interestingly, the one thing he never talked about was women."

According to his neighbors, Sela was not the classic quiet fellow who kept to himself.

"He was friendly with everybody, he'd talk about politics, about everyday things. He used to play soccer with the kids at the schoolyard on Fridays," said the store owner. "He didn't have much of a sense of humor, though. When he smiled, it was sort of a half-smile. He didn't join in the joking around that goes on in the store. It was like he thought it was too childish for him. He was a serious person, spoke well, never cursed."

THE Selas' building is dilapidated, with broken, moldy plaster, and a makeshift metal roof. A dirty bathtub lies against a wall in the entryway. The nameplate on the Selas' door features the sarcastic graffito: "The dreamhouse of the Sela family."

He has two younger brothers in their 20s - an IDF combat soldier and a computer company employee. "They're all wonderful young men, never got into any trouble. I have one daughter, and I used to say it's too bad I didn't have three sons like them," said the store owner.

They didn't know Sela as well as they think, though: Neither the neighbor nor the store owner knew he had been in prison. "You know how it is - the mother would say he had gone to America for a while," said the neighbor.

"He used to come into our apartment, he'd eat at our table," she continued. "He would always fix things for me - he liked to tinker around with radios and electrical appliances. He also liked to bake cakes, so he would ask me for recipes. He was like any other young person around here - hanging around down in the street, talking."

Said Shoham: "Of course the neighbors say he's a nice guy. He's not psychotic, he's compulsive."

In other words, Sela doesn't hear voices or act visibly deranged; aside from his suspected secret rape compulsion, he functioned normally, Shoham said.

Sela worked as a plumber and motorcycle messenger boy, and shared an apartment with a girlfriend (while continuing to spend much time at his mother's home) for a number of years before the woman broke the relationship off some months ago.

How is it that a serial rapist can simultaneously carry on a live-in relationship with an unknowing woman - in Sela's case, with a law student - over the course of years?

"His girlfriend was his legitimate front. He got his real kicks from the rapes. He was addicted to the rejection he got from his victims, and to the fear he inspired in them when he raped or assaulted them," said Shoham, describing Sela's personality as "cunning, logical, and manipulative."

Shoham said he made his suppositions partly on the basis of Sela's 1996 sexual-molestation trial. The Tel Aviv District Court judge in that case described Sela as a "pious speechifier who doesn't hesitate to lie."

He was convicted of molesting his young female cousin, who used to sleep over from boarding school at his family's apartment. Sela did this even as his girlfriend at the time was sleeping with him in his room.

Shoham noted that for a compulsive rapist, the difference between molestation and rape is "only technical. Penetration is not the issue; the issue is dominating the woman, forcing sex on her against her will."

Sela at first denied the cousin's accusations, but later admitted to "caressing" her with "gentleness and sensitivity." He said he denied the accusations at first out of consideration for the girl.

"[The cousin] filed a complaint, but I denied it because I wanted this story to end on a good note, seeing that it was a family matter. I also figured that she's a young girl, and making a big thing out of this could leave a scar on her," Sela testified.

In addition, he was convicted of sexually molesting a group of girls on the street in Netanya.

On the witness stand Sela portrayed himself as the victim of a troubled childhood - poor neighborhood, alcoholic, abusive father who committed suicide.

Describing why he left home shortly after his father's suicide, he testified, "I was living in Hatikva Quarter and I wanted to get away from that atmosphere...I blamed everybody [for his father's suicide] and ran away from home. When I was 14 I started living at different kibbutz boarding schools."

As to why he "caressed" his young cousin, Sela speculated that he might have done it out of "dumb teenage curiosity." He was sentenced to two years in prison, but released by a parole board six months early for good behavior.

Reporter Haim Hecht said on Channel 2's Nissim Mishal talk show this week that prior to Sela's release, psychiatrists at Ayalon Prison warned that Sela remained a danger to the public. A spokeswoman for the Prisons Service said the parole board's decision noted only that Sela refused psychiatric treatment in prison, and that the board made no mention of his being dangerous. The spokeswoman said she was unaware of any warning about Sela from prison psychiatrists.

Shortly after his release in May 1998, the string of suspiciously similar rapes - which subsided while Sela was in prison - resumed with greater frequency (see box).

What Sela did not mention in his "pious speechify[ing]" at the molestation trial, and which he reportedly claims now, is that he was sexually abused while at boarding school. "You have to consider that he might be making this up now to gain sympathy," Shoham noted.

One thing that baffles Sela's neighbor and contributes to the grocery store owner's skepticism is that Sela was alone with their daughters many times, yet never tried anything with them.

"I'd be at work, and he'd come in to ask for a screwdriver or something, and he'd be in this apartment, alone with my two teenage daughters, and he never so much as touched them," said the neighbor.

"He was in here alone with my daughter plenty of times while she was looking after the store, and nothing happened whatsoever," said the grocery store owner. "A lot of parents in the neighborhood have been saying this. There are a lot of girls around here, and Benny never did anything to them." Shoham suggested that Sela left the neighborhood girls alone because it was too risky to go after them; until the end, after all, he was determined not to get caught.

About a month ago, the store owner recalled, Sela was in the store and the topic of conversation was the feared Tel Aviv serial rapist whom police were desperate to catch.
"I remember I said the two kinds of people I despise the most are pimps and rapists," the store owner said. "I said that if I ever caught the rapist, I would pull his fingernails out, and hammer nails into them, and pour salt on the wounds.

"Benny didn't say anything," the store owner continued. "I've been racking my brains trying to remember what sort of expression he had on his face, but I can't say for sure. When I try to remember his reaction, I can see this vague picture in my mind - of this tiny little smile on Benny's face - but I don't know if I'm just imagining this, or if he really did smile."


Police under fire
By Larry Derfner
Jerusalem Post - December 24, 1999

(December 24) -- While the Tel Aviv serial rapist was running loose, police took a lot of flak for failing to catch him.

Tal Korman, head of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, is one of the critics of the police investigation. She thinks they could have caught Sela much earlier than they did.

She noted that the serial rapes subsided for the year and a half that Sela was in prison for sexual molestation, and started up in earnest almost immediately after he was freed in May 1998.

"Why didn't they check the sex offenders who were released around that time? If they had, Sela would have been one of the first suspects they would have questioned," says Korman.

As it was, the police's computerized search method led them to interview 956 suspects - but not Sela. The only special police work involved in Sela's capture was the presence of police patrols in Hadar Yosef, where Sela had raped before, and where he ultimately returned.

Police had 1,770 names in their computer log of suspects - males who fit the victims' description of Sela's height and age, and who had motorcycles. Police divided the 1,770 matches into a hierarchy of categories: 1. convicted rapists; 2. convicted sexual assailants; 3. convicted sexual molesters. Sela fell into the third and least likely category.

"If we hadn't caught him when we did, our computer search would have led us to him within a few weeks," said a police official. "It's easy to have the wisdom of hindsight, but police intelligence did their work the way it's supposed to be done, and the critics simply don't know what they're talking about."

Another criticism voiced by Korman and others is the news blackout police imposed on the locales of the rapist's assaults, and details about his methods - a ban which the court forced police to lift last August. Had the public known where and how the rapist was capturing his victims, women might have taken more effective precautions, critics say.

"In one case he went into the electricity box of an apartment building and turned off all the power, and when a 12-year-old girl opened her door to see what had happened, Sela attacked her. But we only found that out later. If the police had allowed the press to publish those details when the attack happened, maybe girls staying alone in their apartments would have known not to open their doors immediately when the lights went out," said Korman.

A police official said the reason for the ban on such details was to keep Sela from finding out what the police knew. The official suggested that the court's lifting of that partial news blackout helped Sela evade police.

"Among the evidence we found on him were press clippings about his case. We think he was changing locales and methods according to what he read in the papers," said the official.


Crime and punishment?
By Larry Derfner
Jerusalem Post - December 24, 1999

(December 24) -- The discovery that Benny Sela, the suspected Tel Aviv serial rapist, was paroled from prison for good behavior after serving 18 months for molesting his female cousin - starting when she was eight and continuing until she was 15 - has renewed charges that sex offenders here get off mighty easy.

"You don't have to look far - on the same day Sela was arrested, the leader in the Ramat Hasharon gang-rape case got four years in prison, another one got two years, and a couple of the others got six months' community service," said Tal Korman, head of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel.

This, she noted, after the judge in the case said the defendants - all teenagers, legally minors - showed no remorse, saw themselves the true victims in the case, and stood by their claim that the 15-year-old victim - whom they'd "passed around" among themselves - had asked for it.

"Six months' community service - they would have gotten more if they'd stolen a car," said Korman.

In a survey of some 1,700 Israeli court sentences for violent crimes handed down between 1988 and 1993 taken by attorney Rochelle Don-Yechiya, she found that "over one-third of those convicted of sex crimes did not receive prison sentences at all."
When prison terms were meted out for rape, the average term was two-and-a-half years, she added.

Amazingly, the punishment meted out for sex crimes committed against minors tended to be lighter than those for sex crimes against adults, continued Don-Yechiya, who conducted her research with Dr. Rina Bogosh in a project initiated by the Israel Women's Network.

"And I'm sorry to say that women judges tended to hand down lighter sentences in sex crimes than the male judges did," she added. She speculated that the reason might be that "women judges subconsciously went out of their way to appear 'objective,' for fear that they might be accused of bias in favor of the female victim."

Israeli judges tend to have a "stereotyped, conservative, outdated" notion of rape, Don-Yechiya continued. "They seem to think of rape as the kind you see in the movies - where the rapist is a stranger preying on his victims."

In fact, said Korman, 87% of rape victims know the rapist - he can be a friend, a co-worker, a family member.

In the rulings, judges often remarked on the defendant's "permissive behavior, how she was wearing a mini-dress," Don-Yechiya noted.

Attorney Ayelet Golan-Tavori, a legal adviser to the Israel Women's Network, added: "Defense attorneys play on the judge's sympathies, saying a harsh conviction will ruin the young man's future, he won't be able to take the IDF's pilot's course, or he's an old man and he'll die in prison, he's a Holocaust survivor."

The new fashion in rape defenses, said Don-Yechiya, is to claim there was no rape, just regular old sex between two consenting adults.

"In the old days defendants would deny that they had sex with the woman at all, and it was difficult to find conclusive medical proof that they had. But defendants can't make that claim anymore because of the DNA identification tests. So they say the woman wanted it," she noted.

Rape sentences have gotten tougher, however, in the last year-and-a-half, ever since a law went into effect mandating that prison terms in sex-crime convictions be at least one-quarter of the maximum sentence, said Don-Yechiya.

"The situation is improving, but terribly slowly," she said. (The maximum sentence for rape is 16 years, and 20 years for aggravated rape, which includes gang rape, rape of a minor, rape accompanied by armed threat or certain other circumstances.)

Knesset Law Committee Chairman Amnon Rubinstein disagreed that sentences for sex crimes are still too lenient.

"There have been a number of tough sentences handed down in such cases in recent years," he said. "The problem is what happens when they get out of jail."

In a few weeks the Knesset will discuss ways of safeguarding the public from sex offenders coming out of prison, Rubinstein said, suggesting that one likely measure is to warn residents when an ex-offender settles in their vicinity.

Korman said all sorts of public safety measures have been instituted in the US, including posting pictures of released sex offenders in local supermarkets; prohibiting them from moving into neighborhoods with a large proportion of young women and children; banning them from working in schools or other places where children and young women abound; and even attaching electronic tracking devices to their ankles. "I'm not saying I'm in favor of every one of these measures, but certainly there are things we can do," she said.

ANOTHER aspect of Sela's history that has enraged critics of the penal system is that he refused medical or psychiatric treatment while in prison for sexual molestation. "We don't have the legal right to force treatment on any prisoner," noted Levana Lev-Ishai, a spokeswoman for the Prisons Service.

This has raised suggestions that Israel follow the lead of US states like California, Texas and Arizona by requiring repeat sex offenders to undergo castration in prison - either the real, surgical kind, or a chemical version that neutralizes male sexual hormones - or live the rest of their lives behind bars.

The rate of recidivism among convicted sex offenders is commonly quoted as 70%.

"A 25-year study done in Texas found it to be 75%," said Prof. Ariel Rosler, an endocrinologist at Hadassah Hospital who has performed reversible "chemical castrations" on some 50 former sex offenders over the last five years. Only five or six have gone back to their crimes, he said, and these only after they stopped the monthly medical treatment, so that their sex hormones were reactivated and their sexual desire returned.

"They all take the treatment voluntarily," Rosler stressed.

His subjects are non-violent offenders - pedophiles, exhibitionists, and voyeurs - not rapists, he noted.

"Rapists act out aggression, they have other pathologies besides sexual ones," Rosler said. But he said the treatment should be tried out on rapists, because they don't rape unless they first feel sexual desire, and the treatment - using the experimental drug Decapeptyl - takes away that desire.

The subjects in Rosler's research project can get psychiatric therapy to go along with the anti-hormone drug. "But no therapy - behavior modification, hypnosis or anything else - can by itself rehabilitate sex offenders, because their sex drive is stronger than any psychiatric therapy. Only by retarding the sex drive can they be rehabilitated," he said.

Israeli prisons offer sex offenders a combination of psychiatric therapy and a similar form of "chemical castration," using the drug Androcur. Androcur, however, features debilitating side effects such as depression or hepatitis, which can be fatal, while Decapeptyl has no such effects. Decapeptyl, however, is much more expensive and it is not yet approved by the Health Ministry for general use, he noted.

Rosler also favors requiring chronic sex offenders in Israel to undergo chemical castration, although not the surgical kind, which he called "atrocious."

Surgical castration was the typical punishment for rape in European countries around the turn of the century, he pointed out. A study was once conducted on 3,000 European sex offenders who had been castrated, and it found that only 2% of them returned to sex crimes - using their hands or some instrument, he said.

"Chemical castration works just as effectively as real castration," he said.


Benny Sela still refuses to cooperate with his defence attorneys.
By Writer: Vered Lovits
Ynet - July 27, 2000
(Translation from Hebrew to English by Na'ama Yehuda)

The regional court in Tel-Aviv decided today that if by the time of the next deliberation in Sela's matter arrives, Sela's plea to the charges agaist him will not be recieved by the court, the court will see this as a total denial.

In a deliberation that took place today (Thursday) in the regional court in Tel Aviv in the matter of Benny Sela, the serial rapist, it was decided that if Sela will not respond to the allegations against him by the time the next deliberation in his case is due, the court will see it as a complete denial of the charges agaist hime.

The delibarations in the case of Benny Sela started in January 2000. Since then, the court met nine times, where in each one of the meetings Sela's defence attorneys requested that the deliberations be delayed until the next meeting. The reason for the delay was that in all the times, Sela refused to cooperate with his defence attorneys. The defence attorneys requested that the court relieve them from representing him, however, the court denied their motio and appointed Sela two additional defence attorneys, Erez Melamed, Attorney at Law, and Eyal Simchoni, Attorney at Law.

The two said in court today, that they estimate that until the next deliberatino, that is due in about a month and a half, they will have in their possesion a plea from the defendant in regards to the charges made against him.


Benny Sela convicted of 13 rapes
By Heidi J. Gleit and Itim
Jerusalem Post - Tuesday, October 3 2000

The Tel Aviv District Court yesterday convicted Benny Sela of raping 13 women in the Tel Aviv area over the past few years. Sela, the so-called serial rapist, confessed to the crimes as part of a procedural arrangement in which the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office agreed to drop seven other counts of rape for which there was not strong evidence.

As a result of the agreement, the rape victims will not need to testify in court.

Sela's attorney, Eyal Simhony, noted that the deal was not a plea bargain as it did include any provisions regarding sentencing. Arguments for sentencing are scheduled for next month.

Na'amat chairwoman Hedva Almog said that while she would have preferred for Sela to have been convicted for all of the offenses, she is pleased that an arrangement was reached that prevents the rape victims from being traumatized a second time on the witness stand. She added that she hopes that Sela will still receive a heavy sentence.
Sela, 28, of Tel Aviv, terrorized young women in the Tel Aviv area for nearly five years until his arrest last December. Police initially suspected him of committing almost 40 violent rapes and sexual assaults.


Court rejects Sela's plea for immediate sentence
By Heidi J. Gleit
Jerusalem Post - Wednesday, November 29 2000  (3 Kislev 5761)

(November 29) - Tel Aviv District Court yesterday rejected Benny Sela's request to skip the arguments for sentencing and immediately sentence him for raping and sexually assaulting 13 young women in the Tel Aviv area over the past few years.

Sela made the request following a dispute with the lawyer the Public Defender's Office appointed to represent him.

Sela, the so-called serial rapist, confessed to and was convicted of 13 counts of rape and sexual assault as part of a plea bargain agreement reached in October. In exchange, the District Attorney's Office agreed to drop seven other charges for which it did not have strong evidence. As a result of the plea bargain, the victims did not have to undergo the trauma of testifying in court.

The court also rejected the prosecutor's request to allow one of the victim's fathers to testify during the arguments for sentencing, on the grounds that the intention of the plea bargain was to prevent the victims from further suffering.

Sela, 28, of Tel Aviv, terrorized young women in the Tel Aviv area for nearly five years until his arrest last December. Police initially suspected him of committing almost 40 violent rapes and sexual assaults. In addition to sexually assaulting his victims, Sela also brutally beat some of them.

Itim contributed to this report.

Serial rapist Sela gets 35 years
By Heidi J. Gleit
Jerusalem Post - Monday, January 1 2001

TEL AVIV (January 1) - The Tel Aviv District Court yesterday sentenced serial rapist Benny Sela to 35 years' imprisonment for sexually assaulting 13 women in the Tel Aviv area over the past three years. The court also recommended that he undergo treatment while in prison.

In sentencing Sela, 29, of Tel Aviv, Judges Nathan Amit, Edna Kaplan-Hagler, and Sarah Barosh noted that the sentence was more severe than previous sentences for sexual offenses. But, as Amit wrote in the decision, "It seems to me that never before in the history of the state has there been such a difficult indictment for these types of offenses. Every one of the 13 offenses of which he was convicted arouses revulsion and disgust."

Sela was convicted of breaking into the homes of young women and children late at night or early in the morning, binding and gagging them and raping or committing other sexual assaults on them while threatening them with a knife, and then forcing them to shower so that DNA testing could not identify him as the assailant. Sela also beat or robbed some of the women; others he videotaped in compromising positions.

Sela confessed to assaulting 13 women as part of a plea bargain in which the District Attorney's Office dropped charges detailing assaults on seven additional women for which it did not have overwhelming evidence.

"The accused committed offenses against young women, teens, and even children. He did so in their homes, surprising them at an unlikely hour, often when they were sleeping in their rooms, in their beds. His actions depended on the use of brute force, violence, threats, and abuse in a disgraceful and humiliating manner," Amit wrote.

"The accused committed the offenses against his victims like a beast with no sense of humaneness... The trauma the victims suffered due to his deeds left a scar on their souls that will not be erased until the end of their days. The circle of his victims includes not just the complainants but also those that are close to them."

In sentencing Sela, the court cited a number of legal precedents contradicting argument's by Sela's attorney, Eyal Simhony, that only murder should receive a sentence of over 20 years.

The court also reiterated that, despite Sela's troubled past and bizarre behavior during the trial and the police investigation, he was found fit to stand trial.

They also noted that Sela had meticulously planned his attacks and carried them out in cold blood and that, even though he had refused to cooperate with the court and the various lawyers the public defender's office appointed to defend him, he had submitted a long handwritten document in his defense.

In sentencing Sela, the court also took into account two previous convictions for sexual offenses which carried suspended sentences. The court noted that one of the assaults for which he was sentenced yesterday happened the day after his previous conviction, but before he was imprisoned.

Amit also submitted as evidence an anonymous letter which arrived at his home two days ago. The anonymous writer argues that the court should show Sela mercy because of the many difficulties he suffered throughout his life. The letter arrived after the majority of the decision was written and did not affect it at all, Amit said, adding that he regrets that the sender saw fit to approach the court in such a manner.

Na'amat chairwoman Hedva Almog praised the court for handing down such a harsh sentence, adding she hopes it would both deter potential rapists and encourage the court system to hand down heavier sentences for sexual offenses.

However, Yael Balla-Avni, acting director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers, said that the sentence was not strong enough in relation to the number of offenses Sela committed and their severity.

She also questioned the court's decision to approve the plea bargain. While the deal saved the victims from having to testify in court and be cross-examined by the defense lawyer - an experience that further traumatizes many rape victims - it also generally results in a lighter sentence. Some of the victims may have preferred to undergo the difficulties of testifying against Sela in order to prevent him from receiving a lighter sentence, Balla-Avni said, adding that they were not consulted in the negotiations for the plea bargain.


From A Distance: A Shattered Dream
By Naomi Ragen
Jerusalem Post - Thursday, January 11, 2001

(January 11) While the people of Israel are reeling from one bus bombing, drive-by shooting and negotiating nightmare to another, Knesset members are busy capitalizing on our distractions by passing one corrupt law after another.

For example, when the recent wave of Arab killings began a few months ago, the haredi parties gleefully passed a law upping all the money coming out of government coffers for large families - a law meant to benefit haredim and Arabs. And when the time came to change the automatic exemption from army duty for yeshiva students, Knesset members happily passed a law extending the exemption, thus postponing, if not canceling, any meaningful debate on the legitimacy of allowing Israeli citizens to use their religious beliefs as a draft dodge.

And now, this week, the crowning blasphemy of what is known as "Deri's Law" was ushered through a successful second vote in the depleted ranks of the Knesset. Proposed by that do-nothing has-been who-never-was Ruby Rivlin of the Likud, the law reduces the sentences of rapists, murders, robbers and child molesters (among others) by half, instead of the present one-third. For "good behavior."

While the Likud proposed the law and supported it, it was, of course, members of the Shas party who were the vanguard. With black kippot on their heads, minyanim three times a day and a Bible in every corner, they are attempting to turn the already revolving door of our prison system into a sliding door that doesn't even have time to close before it opens again to let the criminals of the nation out.

Imagine it: Benny Sela, the Tel Aviv rapist who tortured, beat and raped dozens of little girls and women, terrorizing an entire city for months, could be back in Tel Aviv in 15 or so years - courtesy of Shas and the Likud.

Before the scandalous and unconscionable law came up for a vote, parents of murdered children wandered fruitlessly through the corridors of the Knesset begging MKs to vote against it. As reported in Yediot Aharonot, bereaved mother Ora Baraz, whose daughter was murdered, pleaded for the law's defeat: "It is an immoral law that shows the callous attitude of the state toward the victims of violence. For 50 years this country has been passing laws to improve the rights and conditions for criminals, while the victims and their families have been ignored. Now rapists, child molesters and thieves will wander among us in droves."

But these heartfelt words apparently fell on deaf ears. Knesset members like Dalia Itzik, Avraham Burg, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Roni Milo - very vocal friends of jailed former interior minister and the power behind Shas, Aryeh Deri - decided not to show up to vote against the law that was tailor-made to help their friend - a convicted bribe-taker and felon - avoid serving even a fraction of his jail term.

AS WE SIT here on the eve of a fateful election, it is heartbreaking that the people of Israel now face a choice between Ehud Barak, who has allowed our security to become so lax that the only current Israeli response to terrorism is to die; and Ariel Sharon, whose party has aligned itself with criminals and ruthless opportunists like Shas, in passing laws that bring us all closer to living in a corrupt banana republic.

As we weep for the terrible days behind us, and the even more devastating days ahead if we continue in the direction we're going, we should weep loudest for the bankruptcy of the entire political leadership of this country as it continues to fail the people of Israel on every front: political, moral and spiritual.

We had a dream, all of us, those who were born on the kibbutzim in 1948, and those who flocked to the little Jewish state in all the years since then: We dreamed of building a beautiful little haven for the remnants of the Jewish people, wherever they lived. We would be the flower of 3,500 years of Jewish prayer, learning, poetry, talmudic law and Bible study. We would plant fruit trees, and reap harvests in green fields. We would work with our own hands to build safe homes for every Jew from every land; we would banish fear, want and injustice from our people's history. We would be here together, no outsiders, all children of the same father, all equal. We would find our way back to our roots, deepen our understanding and our practice of the moral law that made us a special nation, that was our gift to the world.

Israel, 2001. What a mess it's all become. What a shattered dream.

But I still believe. The Israeli people are depressed. They are not listening, their attention is elsewhere, on the bullets that are flying, the buses exploding. We need to focus.

And when the "Deri Law" comes up for its third and final vote before becoming law, we have to let our politicians know that Deri's law for the encouragement of crime has no place in our country, or in our dream.


Know thy neighbor
By Neri Livneh
Haaretz - Monday, July 29, 2002

Over the past few years, three pedophiles have been active in a small neighborhood of South Tel Aviv. How did it happen that so many children were systematically abused without anyone intervening?

There are no secrets in the small neighborhood. The apartments are crowded and the walls are thin. The stairwells are narrow and dark. Life takes place outside, in the yard, in the parking lots between the apartment buildings and mostly in the nearby park that is closed in by dense bushes. It was in that park, say social workers, that 30 of the neighborhood's children were sexually abused over the past four years.

Last week, a resident of the neighborhood, D., was indicted in Tel Aviv District Court. He is charged with committing sodomy and indecent acts on at least four children. The real number is probably higher. Ha'aretz reporter Roni Singer revealed last week that D. was a good friend of Oren Danan, also a neighborhood resident, who was accused two months ago of abducting an underage girl from the neighborhood, sexually assaulting her, trying to murder her and leaving her rolled up in a carpet. In the course of confessing to the charges against him, Danan said he knew Benny Sela well - referring to the "serial rapist" who was convicted in October, 2000 on 13 counts of rape. Sela lived not far from the neighborhood. Danan was not the first neighborhood resident to be charged with sexually assaulting minors. Three years ago, Avraham Ger, a 24-year-old man from the neighborhood, was arrested on suspicion of raping five- and six-year-old girls and of sodomizing a thirteen-and-a-half-year-old boy. He was acquitted of the rape charges, but served 13 months in prison after being convicted of the sodomy charge. Ger was rearrested last October and accused of committing an indecent act against an underage girl, who also lives in the neighborhood.

How did so many horrific events occur over such a lengthy period? Did no one in the small neighborhood know that so many children were being systematically abused by their neighbors? What are we to make of the conspiracy of silence that made this possible? And why, even now, with the police already in the picture, are so many residents still afraid to speak out?

A local store owner explains: "Everyone knew that all the Sodom and Gomorrah in the world was concentrated in this neighborhood. Everyone knew for years that there were pedophiles here and everyone kept quiet. Everyone knew that Avi Ger was a nut case. He even worked for me at one time. Everyone knew about his inclinations, everyone knew about Oren Danan, and most of all everyone talked about D. But his family is violent, so people were afraid of him and no one had the courage to open his mouth. There is no law in this neighborhood and no police. People here are not the poorest, but they are the most thuggish and that is why, even though they knew there were pedophiles here, they kept quiet and kept it a secret."

The brave woman
It took years before one neighborhood resident, whom I will call "the brave woman," learned about the horrific acts D. had been perpetrating on her son from the time he was nine years old. If she hadn't decided to fight him relentlessly, it is possible that D. would still be walking about freely today. At least twice in the past he was caught by youngsters in the neighborhood in the act of sexually assaulting minors behind the bushes in the park. They hit him and chased him off, but it never occurred to them to involve the police.

When the brave woman's son told her what D. had done to him, she was "shattered, shocked and totally devastated." She decided to take her son to file a complaint with the police. To her astonishment, the court placed D. under house arrest in his parents' apartment, which is close to her home. Nevertheless, she decided not to give in. For some parents and children the story evoked harsh memories they had tried to forget. Because of the brave woman's initiative, other complaints were submitted against D., and eventually he was rearrested and indicted on four counts so far.

Even though it was thanks to her that the conspiracy of silence was broken, the brave woman is also regretful today. She, too, knew about D. and what he was doing years ago. When her son was 10, she heard that D. was pestering him, that he had made the boy take off his clothes and sit in his lap. Deeply agitated, the brave woman went to D.'s father and told him what his son had done. The two of them then went to the park and found D. The father hit him and D. promised never to do it again. D.'s father, who was questioned by the police, confirmed this episode.

"In my opinion," the brave woman says, "D.'s parents knew what he was doing all along and didn't even try to stop him. I definitely blame them and I am also afraid. I have gone through a lot in life and I am not a healthy woman. Since my son told me three weeks ago about D., I feel I'm falling apart. My husband and I and the boy just sat down and cried and cried and then we said to our son, `Now we are going to do something very hard, something that you need to be very brave for. We are going to go to the police and we will see to it that D. gets the punishment he deserves. It might be hard for you and people might talk, but you have nothing to be ashamed of, you are the good one and he is the monster, and you have to be proud that we are going to fight the monster.'

"That's what we said to the boy, but I have a huge family and I don't want them to know anything about what happened to him, because I am simply afraid of what they will do. I am afraid they will try to get revenge on D.'s family. But I am just falling apart. I also have a boy of three and a half. I bought him a plastic pistol, and what was the first thing he said? He said, `Do you know the first person I am going to shoot? The first person is D.'"

The denying woman
Many people knew what was going on but preferred to ignore the warning signs. Another woman who lives in the neighborhood, whom I will call "the denying woman," only worked up the courage to lodge a complaint to the police in the wake of the brave woman's actions. She first heard about what D. was doing from her daughter five years ago, when the girl was 10. She told her mother that D. was sexually abusing her and was putting out lit cigarettes on her hands. For reasons that are almost beyond comprehension, she decided to ignore it, condemning her daughter to more years of abuse.

"`Don't you have anything else to tell me? What nonsense you are talking' - that's what I said to her," the denying mother recalled this week. "I didn't believe it about him. I knew him very well. I know his mother. He is from a perfectly good family in my opinion and he was a nice boy, who I would meet in the park and have a laugh with. It's true I heard once he abused a six-year-old boy, but I met him in the park and asked him if what I was hearing about him was true and he denied it. `Come on, it's not me,' he said, and I believed him. That's why I didn't believe my daughter, either. You know, he was a boy who lacked for nothing at home, so why in the world would he want her at all? What could he possibly want from her? She wasn't one of those bombshell girls with bottoms like a bagel, she was as straight as a board, and I thought to myself, who could get turned on by something like that and why in the world would he start up with her in the first place?"

It was only when the brave mother told her about what D. had done to her son that the denying mother understood her daughter had in fact been sexually abused. "Suddenly there was this click. Suddenly I understood that the girl hadn't lied. On the spot, I called the police."

She wasn't the only one who didn't understand what was going on. None of the teachers in the various schools from which her daughter was expelled due to behavior problems (she was termed "hyperactive") tried to discover the source of the trembling she suffered from. None of them asked about the burns that regularly adorned her arms. Even her mother reacts with a blank smile when she is asked why she didn't bother to check about the burns, and then adds, "You know how kids are, and my daughter was getting hurt all the time. The school was the one that noticed that there was something wrong with the girl. Today I also see that her deterioration - and it was a very extreme and sudden deterioration - began right after she told me that D. abused her.

"Suddenly she started with the shaking, she stopped eating and she slept badly and had all kinds of symptoms. At school they said she had problems, and another girl once told me that my daughter has problems, but it sounded like nonsense then. There was no way that I connected it with what she told me about D., which I had forgotten about, because it sounded like nonsense. I guess I didn't want to believe what I didn't want to believe. I thought it was all from hyperactivity, so I gave her more Ritalin and I went to see psychiatrists. One psychiatrist even said the girl should be removed from her home, but what mother would agree to that? Luckily, another psychiatrist said, `No, that's just the way the girl was born and you have to give her more medicine.' So I gave her more medicine and I thought everything would work out in the end."

The family's economic problems are plain to see. "You can see the way the house looks," the denying mother says. "That's why I was always happy that the children like to play in the park. Even now I am not afraid of anything. Smaller children than mine are playing downstairs and I know nothing will happen to them because they are in a group. You only get scared when they are alone, and that was the trouble with the girl; she was always alone, because from an early age she was an outcast. Probably because of that, it was easier for D. to get to her."

She is convinced the relations with her daughter will be much improved from now on. "She hardly leaves my side now, she loves me terribly," the mother says. At these words, the daughter, a beautiful, very thin girl, who has been sitting with her mother for the duration of the interview, gets up and stalks out of the room. But that doesn't deter the mother. "The event brought us very close," she says, adding that her daughter's social situation is also much better now. "She was always an outcast, but now, after she went to the police, the children are calling her from downstairs for the first time in her life to come and play."

The girl
Abruptly, the conversation takes another surprising twist. The mother says she hopes the episode will be a springboard for fame and glory for her daughter. "My daughter wants to be a model. The truth is, I agreed to the interview and I would like the girl to be photographed, because maybe that way some photographer will discover her and make her a model. You know, she's really gorgeous now. I'll call her in right away and you have to see what beautiful hands she has. She was just born to be a model."

The girl comes back into the room. "Can you arrange a `big sister' for me?" she asks. "That's what I'd like. And also to get revenge on D. to the death. I have already learned how to fight and how to resist."

Asked how she felt when her mother didn't believe her story, the girl replies, "Hurt and angry and that there was no one I could trust. My conclusion is that, if something like that happens, you must absolutely not tell anyone before you tell the police. First tell the police and only then tell your parents, because you can't trust your parents. Whenever something happens now, the first thing I do is pick up the phone to Nir [Superintendent Nir Sinai, head of the juvenile department in the relevant police district]. For example, I told her that a few days after we complained to the police, D.'s mother grabbed me on the street and said she would kill me."

This comes as a complete surprise to the mother. "You never told me that," she says, "you only said she made signs as though to slaughter you."

"I told you and I told Nir," the girl says, "but you never understand anything."

Even after hearing this, the mother insists that D.'s mother is "just fine. Why should I be angry with her? Is it her fault that her son is like that? If my daughter was a thief, would it be my fault? Each to themselves. I blame D.'s parents a little - not, heaven forbid, for his behavior and for what he did to my daughter - but because they had a problem and they didn't do anything about it. I think if they saw that their boy had a problem, they should have done everything to get him help, the way I helped my daughter. I didn't have money for food, but I took her to psychiatrists and I got her private lessons. That is what being parents means. I took responsibility. Parents have to listen to their child's problems and treat them. That is what D.'s parents should have done and what I did."

"How do you explain the fact that you didn't want to hear anything about my problems and about what D. was doing to me?" the daughter asks, to which the mother replies coolly, "Maybe I was also wrong. But then you weren't such a bombshell and the whole thing didn't sound logical. I know I did wrong and my husband is also very angry with me. All the time he asks me, `Why didn't you say anything? Why didn't you tell me what she said?'"
The daughter says she felt a little better after lodging the complaint. "It was a relief that people believed me and that they are going to put D. in jail and that I won't have to be afraid anymore. But I am also a little ashamed, because the children here are making fun of me a little and also of the other children that D. raped, and also of the others that didn't complain to the police but everyone knows who they are."

The frightened woman
The rumor that D. had been arrested after complaints against him were filed with the police had the effect of buttressing the courage of another boy whom D. abused. A volunteer who works with teenagers in the neighborhood heard, like many of the residents, that the boy had been victimized by D. He persuaded the boy to tell his teacher what had happened. He did so and the teacher reported the event to the principal, who called the boy's mother and told her her son had been raped.

The volunteer and the brave woman picked the boy up after school and went with him to the police to lodge a complaint. However, the boy's mother was furious when she heard her son had been to the police. "D. didn't pester him much and there is no reason to make a big deal out of it. My boy doesn't need any help or any treatment. He is perfectly fine and nothing happened."

What do you mean, nothing happened? He was raped, wasn't he?

"Yes, but D. didn't rape him too many times, and in the meantime we don't live in the neighborhood anymore. Before that, D.'s parents lived across from us. They are actually very nice people."

Did they call you to ask you to forgive them?

"No. Why should they ask me to forgive them? Besides, now, thank God, we moved to another neighborhood. The principal told me the boy should get help, but he's wrong, everything is all right, the boy is fine and I want to know as little as possible about these things, and that is what I told him, too. The less you talk, the better, I said. My husband doesn't want people to know anything about it, either."

The social worker
Varda Horesh, a social worker by training and the coordinator of the child and family division in the eastern section of the Social Services Administration in the Tel Aviv Municipality, is convinced there are more sex offenders in the neighborhood. "I counted five pedophiles in the neighborhood in the past four years," she says. "That is because there are also pedophiles who have been released from prison and have returned to the area," she explains.

Who, for example?

"Here's a challenge for you: Ask the Prisons Service which pedophiles from that neighborhood are out of jail and are living there again. Let's see if you get an answer."

The Prisons Service spokesman did not return a call about the subject.

Horesh also says she is convinced the number of pedophiles in this particular neighborhood is no greater than in any other neighborhood. "In better-off neighborhoods, the subject is kept better hidden," she says. "There is actually greater exposure of the subject in poorer sections." Still, she concedes, "The socio-economic situation in a neighborhood has a certain influence. Situations of economic distress and a high concentration of poor, single-parent families constitute a hothouse for the growth of social pathologies and perhaps also explain the particular type of indifference that exists in the neighborhood."

She notes that "The large number of children who fell victim to sexual assault and abuse had far less an effect on the frame of mind in the neighborhood than we hoped would be the case. After the acts of Oren Danan were reported, we expected people in the neighborhood to snap out of their complacency and start to be aware of what is going on, of what is happening to their children. We even conducted a survey in the neighborhood to examine whether the Oren Danan affair was generating a furor and we were very concerned when we discovered that people were reacting indifferently. In subjects like this, the mechanisms of denial and concealment work at full steam and it is not characteristic only of people of a certain type. The same mechanisms operate to a degree even on professional people, even on me."

So shouldn't you approach the children and offer help?

"When we have information, we do that. But in the current state of affairs, in which a social worker has at least 140 files and sometimes 300, it is very difficult for us to make house calls other than for specific purposes. Even then, if we find out that there is a child in the house who has behavioral or psychological problems, we don't necessarily conclude immediately that he has experienced sexual abuse. Behavioral problems can be due to the relations between the parents, to social pressures, or to economic distress. In the existing state of affairs, if we do not have prior information, there is no way we can initiate an attempt to locate children who have undergone sexual abuse. Of course, when we learn from the child or the family or the police about such a case, we offer all possible help."

Horesh completely rules out the theory that is now making the rounds in the neighborhood, that the pedophiles influenced one another and that pedophilia was a kind of "fashion" in the neighborhood. "Pedophilia is not like youth suicide, when publicity is liable to turn it into a mode. Pedophilia is a very deep personality disorder and very difficult to treat. It is unreasonable to think someone will become a pedophile because he has been influenced by another pedophile, unless he himself has the personality background that fits the case."

Nor does Horesh believe that people in the neighborhood knew that children were readily available victims of pedophiles but preferred to turn a blind eye. "What is more reasonable is that each of them kept the secret to himself and told no one else. The children didn't tell the parents and the parents didn't tell the police or other parents. The result was a circle of silence, and that is exactly what makes it possible for the pedophile to act."

Horesh adds that she knows from the juvenile probation authorities that the three pedophiles were physically abusing children since their youth. All three went through the probation service but refused to receive treatment. "Unfortunately," she notes, "there is a law in this country stating that you cannot force treatment on sex offenders and rapists - which I believe is an outrageous state of affairs."

Does this neighborhood have any special traits that might account for the fact that it produced so many pedophiles? Ettie Boukai, head of the juvenile probation service in the Tel Aviv District, believes the concentration of pedophiles in a particular neighborhood is a chance event and that the same story could play itself out in a great many other places, too.

Miriam Faber, head of youth welfare services in Tel Aviv, says that mutual influence is possible among three pedophiles who grew up in the same neighborhood and are friends. "It's possible they boasted to one another and thus encouraged each other. That is something for the police to check."

In the past year, Faber has received about 3,000 reports of cases involving sexual attacks on children. "Let us assume that some of the reports are incorrect and let's say that only a thousand of the children were victims," she says. "We have to take into account that a great many of the victims are themselves liable to become sex offenders. It is very important to identify sex offenders early, and certainly also their victims. The trouble is that there are very few experts on the subject in Israel. Nevertheless, we are working with those experts to try to create a program for training social workers and therapists who will specialize in the area of sex crimes. So far, 60 people have taken the course, and 30 more will soon take it. I admit this is a far smaller number than what is needed, but it is all we can do."

The psychiatrist
This description irks Dr. Viki Levy, a psychiatrist who is an expert on sex crimes. "The fact that I and my colleague, Dr. Ruth Fliesshauer, are perhaps the only two experts in the country in the area of sex crimes should have set off every possible alarm bell," she says. "You were told that there aren't enough experts in Israel? Well, I happen to know a great many experts in this field in Western countries and in the United States, and I invited many of them to Israel to teach; the problem is that no one is actually interested in what they have to say. People in this country simply refuse to learn. It is inconceivable to find ignorance of this kind on such an important subject in any other Western country. So I don't think the point should be to blame the neighborhood, and the question is not whether the three men in question were friends and knew about each other's deeds. No, that is just something that the police have to look into.

"The point is that people understand nothing in this field, and I am talking about educated and respected people, such as judges and juvenile probation officers and the State Prosecutor's Office and teachers. But even though they have no understanding of the subject, they insist they know what they're doing and refuse to learn."

According to Levy, not only are the sentences meted out to pedophiles almost always too short ("It's impossible to even start treating a sex offender in a period of less than three years"), there is also no program to ease their way back into society after release and no proper supervision. "A pedophile must not be released unless there is a way to keep tabs on him," she says. "D. will now face trial for crimes he committed up to two years ago, but you can be sure that in the past two years he did not stop committing the same acts. That is the nature of sex offenses, as anyone can easily find out. But here, the judges aren't even willing to go into the Internet and find out what is considered basic knowledge in every Western country.

"For example, before an offender like this is released, I would want him to undergo a rehabilitation program and to wear electronic handcuffs so the police will be able to know when he wants to go to the park again. All kinds of prohibitions should be imposed on him. He should have to undergo polygraph [lie detector] tests regularly. Someone also has to make sure he doesn't turn up as a guard in some school or in a kindergarten."

Levy rejects the thesis that there is a connection between area of residence or socio-economic status and sex offenses. "Sex offenses cut across all classes and all population groups. It is possible that poor neighborhoods are more convenient for sex offenders to live in, because odd people are more easily integrated there." (Possibly this explains the frightening concentration of pedophiles in the neighborhood.) The education system in the neighborhood should have spotted the children's distress, Levy says, and parents who don't believe their children or don't allow them to complain to the police should be taken in for questioning on suspicion of abuse. "It is abuse and criminal negligence in regard to the most basic obligation of parents as parents. Unfortunately, however, this is a kind of neglect that is also not necessarily typical of low socio-economic population groups."

Ignorance of the subject prepares the ground for the growth of baseless myths, which are prevalent among people who deal with sex offenses without the proper training. "The myths that have to be shattered once and for all are that sex offenses are related to heightened sexual impulse. That is totally without foundation. We all have sexual urges but we all learn to control them, just as we learn to control our other bodily functions. What sex offenders need is someone to teach them that they have to learn to control their sexual urges.

"Another dangerous myth is the contention that everyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse will become a sex offender," Levy continues. "The majority of the victims will not become sex offenders. What is true is that most sex offenders have a background of being sexual victims. Another myth is that any treatment is better than no treatment: that is utter nonsense. There are a great many people who did not receive the proper training to treat sex offenders, but they take sex offenders for treatment and we are all at ease, including the offenders. They think they have got over the problem, and then, after having been supposedly treated, they go free and attack again. Take the case of Oren Danan: He said he thought he was better because he received treatment.

"Another myth is that this is a psychiatric problem that can be dealt with by means of medicines. We don't even have a psychiatric profile of sex offenders, so it is impossible to treat the problem solely with medicines. Chemical castration, which some genius always starts talking about in these cases, is no more than a tiny fraction of what should be a complete system of treatment. It will do no good at all without comprehensive treatment. Comprehensive treatment is very complex and protracted, and it has to teach the offender to revise his personal fantasies, and that takes time.

"These guys don't need chemical castration. They need someone to force them to stop doing what they are doing and lock them away for a long enough time so that it will be possible to treat them, and then when they are released, we have to see that they are monitored so it will not be possible for them to go back to doing the same things. But for all that to happen, we need judges and prosecutors and probation officers who will be willing to learn."


Jailed rapist charged with harassing victim
Ha Aretz - Mon., January 12, 2004 (Tevet 18, 5764)

Benny Sela, who is currently serving a 35-year jail term, was yesterday charged with sexually harassing a young woman he was convicted of raping four years ago. Sela, 33, was convicted of 13 counts of sexual assault, rape and sodomy against young woman, some of whom were minors at the time.

According to the charges brought against his in the Tel Aviv District Court yesterday, Sela wrote to one of his victims, who is now 17, and detailed the offenses he had committed against her, how he planned the attack, where he raped her and her home address. Sela gave the letter to his mother during one of her visits, and, that same night, she placed it in the girl's letterbox.

Convicted serial rapist Benny Sela appeals 35-year sentence
By Yuval Yoaz and Zvi Harel, Haaretz Correspondents
Ha'Aretz - Mon., January 12, 2004 Tevet 18, 5764

The lawyer for Benny Sela, currently serving a 35-year jail term for 13 counts of sexual assault, rape and sodomy, appealed Monday to the Supreme Court for a reduction in his sentence.

Sela, 33, was found guilty two years ago of assaulting the young women, some of whom were minors at the time. He carried out attacks in the Tel Aviv area for five years until his arrest in December 1999.

Sela's attorney, Sarah Habib of the public defender's office, expressed support for a severe punishment for her client, saying that "it is clear that there is a need for a jail sentence of over 20 years."

But, she said, "a punishment of over 35 years in jail is too harsh, from the point of view of a chance of rehabilitation and reintegration into society after serving the sentence."

On Sunday, Sela was charged with sexually harassing a young woman he was convicted of raping four years ago.

According to the charges brought against him Sunday in the Tel Aviv District Court, Sela wrote to one of his victims, now aged 17, and detailed the offenses he had committed against her, how he planned the attack, where he raped her and her home address.

Sela gave the letter to his mother during one of her visits, and, that same night, she placed it in the girl's letterbox.

Convicted serial rapist Benny Sela appeals 35-year sentence
By Yuval Yoaz and Zvi Harel, Haaretz Correspondents
Haaretz - January 20, 2004

The lawyer for Benny Sela, currently serving a 35-year jail term for 13 counts of sexual assault, rape and sodomy, appealed Monday to the Supreme Court for a reduction in his sentence.

Sela, 33, was found guilty two years ago of assaulting the young women, some of whom were minors at the time. He carried out attacks in the Tel Aviv area for five years until his arrest in December 1999.

Sela's attorney, Sarah Habib of the public defender's office, expressed support for a severe punishment for her client, saying that "it is clear that there is a need for a jail sentence of over 20 years."

But, she said, "a punishment of over 35 years in jail is too harsh, from the point of view of a chance of rehabilitation and reintegration into society after serving the sentence."
On Sunday, Sela was charged with sexually harassing a young woman he was convicted of raping four years ago.

According to the charges brought against him Sunday in the Tel Aviv District Court, Sela wrote to one of his victims, now aged 17, and detailed the offenses he had committed against her, how he planned the attack, where he raped her and her home address.

Sela gave the letter to his mother during one of her visits, and, that same night, she placed it in the girl's letterbox.

Court rejects rapist's appeal against severity of sentence
By Haaretz Service
Haaretz - January 20, 2004

Benny Sela, currently serving a 35-year jail term for 13 counts of sexual assault, rape and sodomy, has lost Supreme Court appeal against the severity of his sentence.

Sela, 33, was found guilty two years ago of assaulting the young women, some of whom were minors at the time. He carried out attacks in the Tel Aviv area for five years until his arrest in December 1999.

Sela's attorney, Sarah Habib of the public defender's office, expressed support for a severe punishment for her client, saying that "it is clear that there is a need for a jail sentence of over 20 years."

But, she said, "a punishment of over 35 years in jail is too harsh, from the point of view of a chance of rehabilitation and reintegration into society after serving the sentence."

The court rejected these arguments, saying that Sela's actions were deseving of the full severity of the law.

Earlier this month, Sela was charged with sexually harassing a young woman he was convicted of raping four years ago.

He allegedly wrote to one of his victims, now aged 17, and detailed the offenses he had committed against her and how he planned the attack.

Police: Only public will find serial rapist
By Avi Cohen
YNET News - November 11, 2006

Large police forces dispatched to Tel Aviv's central railway station Saturday following reports escaped convict Benny Sela was seen in area; some 2,000 police officers searching for serial rapist since morning hours. Simultaneously, investigation enters high gear, police sources do not reject possibility Sela was aided by element inside system.

Still free: A day after serial rapist Benny Sela's escape, more than 2,000 police officers and volunteers deployed in the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday morning in order to continue the search for the escaped prisoner.

In spite of the wide-scale search, police officials estimated that only the public will help capture him.

At around 11 a.m., large police forces were dispatched to Tel Aviv's central railway station following reports of citizens who saw Sela in the area and watched him escape as the police arrived.

In the meantime, a special investigation team is attempting to discover how Sela managed to fool the system, and whether he received any help from the inside.

Police Chief Moshe Karadi held an special discussion Saturday morning following Sela's escape.

At the end of the meeting, Karadi instructed police commanders to expand the search for the prisoner to other districts as well, to continue the investigation into the escape and to brief police officers on procedures for accompanying prisoners.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the serial rapist's escape entered high gear Saturday morning. A joint police and Israel Prison Service team, headed by Commander Danny Avimeir, is checking Sela's court summons, which seemed completely authentic.

Sources in the police told Ynet that they were looking into the possibility that an element inside the system issued the forged summons.

In addition, the Tel Aviv Police is also looking into the fact that the Israel Prison Service failed to inform the accompanying police officers in advance that they were driving a dangerous convict.

The Tel Aviv District Police said in a statement that "as part of the comprehensive inquiry into the feeding of the summons into the system, all options are being checked."

On Friday evening, Commander Avimeir instructed On Friday evening, Commander Avimeir instructed to open the Labor Court and receive Sela's file. In addition, the police were attempting to locate the serial rapist's relatives in order to check whether they helped him following his escape.

The Tel Aviv District Police forces were boosted Friday night with volunteers and police officers from across the country, including the Southern District, the Central District, the Northern District, and even the immigration police.

The police was aided by many volunteers, off-road vehicles, dogs, mounted police and helicopters circling in the air. Police sources added that Sela's picture was in each police car in Israel, although the search for him still focuses on the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

Efrat Weiss contributed to the report


Benny Sela: A study in evil
By Rebecca Ana Stoil
Jerusalem Post - November 26, 2006

The man who attacked dozens of women in Tel Aviv is back on the streets

Calling convicted serial rapist Benny Sela a monster might be the understatement of the year. The man who attacked dozens of women and instituted a reign of terror across the Tel Aviv metro area in the late '90s is back on the streets, and Tel Aviv women have returned to the nightmares of a decade ago, when they were afraid to walk alone. Sela, now 34, prowled the streets of Tel Aviv - and particularly south Tel Aviv, his home ground. He grew up on Rehov Hanoch in a seedy neighborhood near the Hatikva market. When Sela was 13, his alcoholic father committed suicide within view of the family's apartment, jumping from an almost-four-story-high electrical pole. In 1994, Tel Aviv began to witness a series of terrifying rapes and sexual assaults. The attacker would ask his victims personal questions and force them to shower afterward to reduce the physical evidence. In three instances, he video taped his victims, threatening to publish the videotape on the Internet or to give them to their friends if they reported the attacks. The rapist attacked women and girls in their homes, usually late at night or early in the morning, sometimes threatening them with a knife, sometimes beating them and sometimes robbing them. He tied some of them up with telephone wire or stuck clothes into their mouths. He attacked one woman twice, and threatened another with a knife while her two daughters slept beside her. In another case, he opened the electricity box and turned off the power for an entire apartment building. When a 12-year-old girl opened her door to see what had happened, Sela attacked her. In 1995, Sela was arrested for the first time, and sentenced to two years in prison for systematically molesting his cousin from the time she was eight until she was 15 when she would sleep over at his family's apartment. According to court testimony, Sela would assault while his girlfriend of the time was sleeping in his room. Despite refusing psychological treatment while in prison, and despite at least one psychologist's warning that he was still a danger to the public, Sela was released six months early for good behavior. The attacks increased in the late 1990s, and under intense public pressure, police admitted that there was a serial rapist at large and launched a massive investigation. Sela was finally arrested when he molested two teenagers in broad daylight, the he attacked in the open instead of behind closed doors, as far as is known. The girls called for help, neighbors called the police, and officers who had been staking out the area nabbed the 26-year-old suspect. After Sela's arrest, police noticed that the number of sexual assaults in Tel Aviv slowed. Police discovered that he had saved press clippings concerning his crimes. In 1999, while awaiting trial, Sela tried unsuccessfully to escape from detention. In October 2000, the Tel Aviv District Court convicted Sela of raping 13 women after he confessed to the crimes in a plea-arrangement in which the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office agreed to drop seven counts of rape where the evidence was weak. Two months later, Sela was sentenced to 35 years and nine months imprisonment for sexually assaulting 14 young women in the Tel Aviv area over a three-year period. Police believe Sela committed at least 24, and perhaps as many as 34, rapes, sexual assaults, and sexual molestations of women and girls over the course of five years. Since then, Sela has been in Eshel Prison in Beersheba. According to fellow prisoners, he has increasingly been "fanatically" exercising and, apparently, waiting for an opportunity to return to the streets of Tel Aviv.

Rapist's escape a warning sign
Benny Sela's escape reflects rotten state of Israeli society as a whole
By Yonatan Yavin
YNET - December 1, 2006
As time goes by from that awful moment when rapist Benny Sela jumped the fence leaving the police guards way behind, his mysterious and brutal character has been taking on the qualities of a superhero. Sad, but true. Just listen to the tone that is shifting between the public's fear and hate. It is a sickly, silent and silenced admiration of sorts.

Just listen to the way he is being talked about; it is reminiscent of the way the Americans spoke of Bonnie and Clyde and Al Capone. Just as they did, Benny Sela is also laughing, fooling the cops and doing as he pleases. Another sensational headline tells us what we already know: The cops don't have a clue. What can we say, he's a real Batman.

'S' for Sela on his red cloak
Another archive finding tells us he is a cold blooded criminal who was only apprehended by chance, and this time he'll be doubly careful not to trip up. He is the invisible man, a hovering superman. All he needs is a red cloak with a big red 'S' for Sela printed on it.

Finally the Israeli public, in its warped way, has found the admired figure it needed so desperately. We've spent almost ten years without a true hero bearing a stern look and lowly spirit, and now finally, we've got Benny Sela. Hooray! His multiple syllable name, reminiscent of an Israeli pilot, quickly bred the title Major General Benny Sela. Does the combination "IDF Commander Major General Benny Sela sound strange to anyone?"

This diabolical image of a superhuman, evasive public enemy is unjustified. Although Sela fooled the entire world, including Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, this is not a world whereby trickery is a difficult mission. What he did is not called an escape, but rather, a joke that could have been prevented at numerous junctions.

There were warnings that no one heeded, while regulations were outlined but not adhered to. And if the police force is now trying to capture Sela the way the Prison Service incarcerated him, it's too early to bet on his early return behind prison bars (perhaps another bar or two should be added against future escapes, or perhaps a chain should be attached to the door, just to be sure).

It would be nice for the police to gird their loins, to come by some additional funds, and to suddenly fill their minds with ingenious ideas, efficiency and initiative.

Israel not Sweden
But it would be nicer if the Israeli public would cease behaving as though Israel was Sweden, and that everything is just fine thank you, except for the lazy and negligent police force. Because the entire Israeli public is behaving just as lazily and foolishly, and the security forces' defective performance in the Sela fiasco stems from Israel's overall defective performance.

The amateurishness that enabled Sela's escape should not serve as the starting point for a festival of head chopping at the Internal Security Ministry, but rather as a warning light illuminating the situation and even as the Archimedean point that would warrant change.

It may be assumed, albeit naively, that had we had an honest leadership, with inspiration and political vision, the law wouldn't have been turned into a joke, people would function properly, and perhaps Sela wouldn't have so easily escaped punishment. But most importantly, we would not have needed superheroes the likes of him.


Twenty years after being attacked, serial rapist victim finally speaks out about her ordeal
By Ariela Ringel Hoffman
YNET News - December 6, 2006

The pain and the anger finally made their appearance fifteen years later, in late 2000, when serial rapist Benny Sela was apprehended.

“When I saw him for the first time on television, with the big jacket covering his entire head, I burst out crying,” says Yael (not her real name). “Even though I couldn’t see his face, I said to my husband: ‘That’s him. That’s Benny Selach. That’s the man who raped me.’”

“It was a terrible period,” she reports. “I couldn’t fall asleep at night; I couldn’t calm down during the day. I was running on automatic. It was even more horrible than the months after the rape itself. When I suddenly realized that he was the serial rapist, I didn’t know what was happening to me. I was a broken person, miserable.”

Yael was a 14 year old boarder on Kibbutz Shaar HaGolan when Benny Sela, then known as Benny Selach, locked her in a bomb shelter behind the swimming pool. Over the next two days, he beat her, tore her clothes, stabbed her with a pocketknife, and raped her repeatedly.

Authorities believe that Yael was Sela’s first victim. Two weeks after the rape, she left the kibbutz and returned home to Hadera. Now, 20 years later, she offers Yedioth Ahronoth her first interview.

Rape in a bomb shelter
Yael, tall and pretty with blue eyes and blonde hair, was born and raised in Hadera. When she finished elementary school, she begged her parents to let her go live on a kibbutz. Although her mother vehemently opposed the move, her father let Yael have her way.

Thus, in 1985, Yael found herself in Shaar HaGolan. She was assigned to a group of boarders, including Benny Selach, then 15.

Coincidentally, H. and P., Yael’s adoptive parents, had been Selach’s adoptive parents two years earlier. “Due to reasons that had nothing to do with him,” H. insists, “he switched to another adoptive family.”

Yael and Selach were part of the same crowd. “We would go around a lot, sometimes even just the two of us,” she recalls. “I wasn’t afraid of him. He was small and skinny. I was tall and strong, and when he would attack me, I would give it back to him.”

Five months after her arrival at the kibbutz, Selach dragged her to the bomb shelter. It was a Friday, and the group of boarders was scheduled to leave on a two day hike. Yael was standing with her knapsack, when Selach jumped on her and pushed her to the ground.

“He told me that he wants to show me something and that I should come with him,” she recounts. “There was no indication of what was going to happen, just another one of his pranks.”

They passed the kibbutz pool and reached the shelter. Selach opened the heavy iron door, shut it closed behind them, and pushed Yael down the stairs.

“’Go down; go down already,’ he shouted at me,” Yael continues. “I yelled back at him, and then he yelled: ‘Shut your mouth.’ And he started kicking me. I was shocked. He screamed: ‘Take your clothes off.’ And I suddenly realized that it was serious.

“He took a small pocketknife out of his pocket and stabbed me with it in my hand. ‘If you don’t shut up,’ he yelled, ‘I’ll kill you.’

“He threw me to the ground, kicked me in the stomach, and tore my blouse. He was small and skinny, and I always thought that I was stronger than him. But when he went crazy, I couldn’t do anything.

“He raped me and hit me, and I think that at this stage, I lost consciousness. What I do remember from there, afterwards, are only fragments of images. I remember him leaving and coming back, myself opening my eyes and seeing him on top of me, his face on my face, his open mouth, and his teeth. He raped me again and again.

“On Shabbat, approaching evening, when he wasn’t in the shelter, I dragged myself up the steps. I discovered that he hadn’t locked the door, and I went out of there.

“Near the dining room, he caught me. ‘If you open your mouth,’ he said to me, ‘I’ll kill you.’”

Silence in the kibbutz
When Yael reached her adoptive parents’ home, only P., the father, was home. He insisted that Yael wait and speak to his wife H.

“When she returned, I told her. I was bruised and frightened.” Yael states. “She said to me. ‘What are these stories? Come on, really. What nonsense.’”

H. refused to believe Yael’s accusations, and Sela continued to threaten to kill her. No one else asked any questions, and two weeks later, Yael quietly left the kibbutz.

The bad years
Back in Hadera, Yael told her father but not her mother about the rape. Meanwhile, she graduated high school and enlisted in the army. At some point, she underwent some psychological counseling.

Around 15 years ago, after completing her army service, Yael met a young paratrooper officer from Jerusalem.

“Already during the first date, she told me the story,” he recalls. “’You should know,’ she said to me, ‘that I was raped, that I’m not exactly normal.’”

But he was not discouraged. The couple eventually got married, moved back to Hadera, and had three children.

“He needed to be very patient with me,” Yael admits. “There were instances when in certain situations, everything would come back to me, when I would suddenly go out of my mind.”

Even today, Yael’s adoptive parents claim that she never told them anything. In fact, according to H., the adoptive mother, they only remember Yael herself “more or less.”

Yael confesses that it has taken her years to learn not to feel shame over the incident and to understand that it was not her fault.

“Those that are close to me know the story,” Yael says. “I don’t go into all the details, but I told people what happened to me, so they can understand me better.

“I’m angry that I was silent, that I gave up. How could I not settle accounts with him? How did I agree to have them say in the kibbutz that there wasn’t a rape, (rather than) stopping this madness at that point?

“It took me months to recover from it, to get back to myself, and now it’s coming again. Out of the blue, my sister calls me and says to me: ‘I heard on the radio that Benny Sela escaped.’

“I’m not scared of him; I’m scared of the silence.”

Exclusive: What police did to serial rapist
By Ahiya Rabed
YNET News - December 10, 2006

These are not pictures that police would be proud of: Anonymous photographer captures police officers humiliating Sela by grabbing him on the neck and smiling proudly to the camera

Was serial rapist humiliated by police during interrogation? Ynet received pictures by Red Mail depicting police officers humiliating serial rapist Benny Sela soon after his arrest on Friday, two weeks after he escaped police custody on his way to a false court hearing.

Ynet inspected the pictures for graphic manipulations and found them to be genuine.

Although the pictures do not show severe physical abuse, they raise questions about the officers' professionalism and moral standards as the clearly seem to be enjoying humiliating and dominating Sela.

One of the pictures shows two officers laying their hands on Sela's neck.

In the other picture an officer, who should not have taken part in the serial rapist's interrogation, is seen with his hand firmly placed on Sela's head as his eyes closed.

The officers in the pictures turned down a Ynet request for comments.

Northern District commander Dan Ronen appointed an officer to probet the incident.

"The District's commander was updated by the Galilee area officer about the pictures and their content, which was not known before. The District's commander ordered the immediate appointment of a officer to probe the affair. The officer will probe the officers' behavior, who photographed them, why they acted the way they did and how the pictures reached external elements and Ynet," the Northern District said in a statement.

Ynet believes the pictures were most likely taken by a policeman who photographed his colleagues. The anonymous photographer is invited to approach Ynet by Red Mail and he will be givern full credit for the pictures.


Court puts paid to serial rapist's serial motions
By Raanan Ben-Zur
YNET News - August 14, 2011

Judge, Prison Service out of patience with Benny Selah's never-ending nuisance motions, rule to limit him, cancel motion fee exemption claiming they deny 'other prisoners from their due relevant rights'

Convicted rapist Benny Sela has once again made the headlines: The serial rapist has become known as a "serial appellant". First it was a motion against the Prison Service, then it was a motion against an indecent act within the prison walls followed by the media storm created by his escape and now – the courts are fighting back.

In a rare ruling on Sunday the court decided that Sela would be limited to no more than eight court motions a year due to the heavy burden the motions put on the wheels of justice. The court also ruled that Sela would pay a fee for each motion rejected by the courts.

Sela is known as a "serial appellant" due to the fact that he files dozens of motions on an annual basis. Most of the motions focus on inconsequential issues and are rejected.

Sela is supposed to pay a fee of NIS 70 for every motion he files but because of his status as a dependent inmate, he receives a fee exemption. The Prison Service and prosecution must respond to each motion and the hearings are all held before a District Court judge in its role as an administrative court.

The Prison Service is tasked with bringing Sela to each hearing and returning him to the prison, a process that necessitates additional police forces and massive security as Sela is considered an escape risk.

This is in addition to the simple fact that the Prison Services' patience with Sela and his ever-failing motions has come to an end. It would seem the Beersheba District Court Judge Shlomo Friedlander is of the same mind.

Judge Friedlander has chosen to take the stance of "defensive democracy" and deny him of his right to fee exemption in order to prevent Sela from misusing the judicial process.

"All in order to prevent him from forcing the Prison Service and legal system to allocate him an unequal share of the resources set aside for prisoner motions which would have denied other prisoners from their due relevant rights."

The judge ruled that Sela's motions would not be addressed if the court fee was not paid and furthermore that Sela would be limited to eight motions per year. Only if the motion is found to be justified will it not be counted in his eight allotted motions.



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