More than 80% of rapes are committed by people who are known to the victims, and a vast majority of rapes are committed by men, against women. But the distinction between a wide variety of sex offenses apparently causes confusion among some judges who believe these acts can be ranked according to their severity.
These judges almost automatically view a criminal who is not familiar to the rape victim as being more dangerous and violent than a rapist who knew the girl, teenager or women he harmed. If this wasn't so sad and scandalous, I would mock the shallowness of those who are in charge of the law in Israel and resort to such stereotypical thinking.
Now the trial of Gan Ha'ir rapist Ahmed Bani Jaber has taught us that appropriate punishment can be inflicted, but only on members of a minority.
In cases where the person who is accused of rape knows the victim personally, has Israeli citizenship and – preferably – is a Jew who has above average socioeconomic status, the judges try to find alleviating circumstances so they can hand down a less severe sentence. After all, the rapist is not a dangerous Palestinian who followed innocent teenagers only to abuse them and destroy their lives.
I am not trying to defend Jaber. God forbid. The judges were right to sentence him to 30 years in prison. But this is not the point. The point is that this sentence would be just as appropriate had the assailant been a boss who lurked for his victim behind an expensive desk and locked her inside a terrible fear that she would lose her livelihood.
As far as our justice system is concerned, it is okay to punish a Palestinian with a sentence that will not be handed down in any other trial.
In order to judge fairly, the court must make certain it is not taking into account the rapist's nationality or religious and professional background.