One of the most prominent features of Sabar Kashour, with the exception of his large puppy eyes, is the presence of a massive wedding ring on his finger. Had this ring been on his finger in September 2008, he might have avoided the entanglement that currently stirs up great emotion among members of Israel’s legal system and human rights group.
Kashour has been convicted on rape only because he told the complainant “I’m single and my name is Dudu,” even though he is Arab and married. This past week he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a 30-month conditional sentence, and an NIS 10,000 (roughly $2,800) fine, to be paid as compensation to the woman.
The judges’ decision provoked outrage in the Arab community, but also among a large group of Jewish public figures and attorneys. Some said it was a case of paternalism, while others believe the verdict constitutes a new and dangerous definition of rape. Others referred to “Jewish paranoia” and even racism.
Kashour and the complainant were born in July 1980, five days apart. Had they engaged in any kind of actual conversation the day they met, they would have likely discovered this fact and even joked about it. However, only 15 minutes passed from the moment they met to the time they had sex, on the roof of a building in Jerusalem’s Hillel Street.
Kashour. Said his name was 'Dudu' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Sabar, who was 28 at the time, worked as a messenger for a law firm and stopped for a moment to buy something to eat at a convenience store. When he walked out, he saw a woman standing next to his motorcycle. “She started talking to me and told me her name. I said my name was Dudu,” he says.
Why Dudu and not Sabar?
“I’ve been hanging around Jews my entire life, and ever since I was young they told me: ‘Sabar is a difficult name, what other name would you like?’ So I chose Dudu, and it became like my real name. Even my wife calls me that…I was at Jewish homes, I even did Kiddush there. My brother almost married a Jewish woman. I don’t know anyone else like me who is Arab yet so Jewish.”
Kashour and the woman engaged in a brief conversation before proceeding to have sex. He asked how old she was, and she asked about his job and marital status. “You could see the girl was all over me. I don’t remember who said first ‘let’s have sex,’ but it was clear she wanted to,” he says.
When you spoke, did you tell her you’re Jewish?
“No, I said I’m Dudu and didn’t explain whether I’m Jewish or Arab. I did say I’m single. I don’t deny this. If I said I was married, perhaps she would not have sex with me.”
However, as it turned out, the woman was not fully honest either. Only during the trial, Kashour’s lawyer at the time discovered information about her past which she sought to hide. The woman’s testimony was also problematic, and as result the indictment was changed from forceful rape to consensual rape. That is, the acts were undertaken with the woman’s consent, but she was deceived.
When it was over did you just get up and leave?
“The way the girl behaved, I felt she only wanted to have sex and go. It wasn’t like she was my girlfriend or wife. It’s a girl who after a 10-minute conversation agreed to go up to the roof with me. What was she thinking? That I would invite her for coffee? Based on how she behaved, I thought she just wanted to have sex and say goodbye. I told her I’m going to get something to drink and returning, but I didn’t return. She may have been hurt by this, but I had no intention of humiliating her.”
The woman said she remained at the site naked and lying on the floor, until she was found by neighbors and taken to hospital. She told the doctors she was raped, yet they did not identify any medical indications of forceful sex. Two days later, she filed an official police complaint.
Sabar Kashour. Working on an appeal (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Kashour says that about a month after their one-time encounter, he noticed the woman’s name in his cell phone and called. “I told her it was Dudu with the motorcycle, and she said ‘ok, when do you want to meet?’ Yet when I kept on calling she didn’t answer. I remember even sending her a text message: ‘Well, when are we meeting?’ At the time I didn’t know she complained that I raped her. Does it sound logical to you that a rapist would call the girl time and again from his own phone?”
Why did you even continue to call her?
“Because I realized she’s the kind of girl you can call anytime you want to have sex with her.
Do you think the verdict seeks to prevent ties between Arab men and Jewish women?
“Certainly. People would ask why I agreed to a plea bargain where I confessed to raping her, so it’s important for me to make clear that the only thing I admitted to was that I told her my name is Dudu and that I’m single, that’s it…and you know what, if she cared so much whether I’m Jewish or Arab she could have asked me for an ID before she had sex with me…yet she didn’t do it. If the situation was reverse, a Jewish girl meeting a man who speaks Arabic, and later it turned out he was Jewish and she filed a rape complaint because of it, would they put the Jew in jail? I don’t think so.”
At this time, Kashour’s new lawyer is working on an appeal. “The criminality of the facts described in the indictment is very low, if at all,” he said. “It certainly does not justify prison time.”
Kashour hopes his appeal will be accepted, and is considering a civil lawsuit against the complainant later on. For the time being, he too is surprised by the level of support he has received from people in Israel and abroad who openly expressed their objection to the court’s problematic ruling.
“The support I received in recent days proved to me that I do belong to this country,” he says. “It’s impossible to make a distinction between a Jew and an Arab when handing out a sentence.”
Full version of story published by Yedioth Ahronoth