The lesson we should all learn from the Cyprus affair
Opinion: What does it say about Israeli society that we are relieved these teens 'just' had group sex, filmed it and shared it online? We cannot miss the chance to teach our children that sexual relations should be based on intimacy, tenderness and the values we hold dear - not on mere consent
As they were being released from a Cypriot jail, the Israeli teenagers falsely accused of rape and their families waiting on the other side of the fence broke out into song.
"We believe in the children of believers," they sang, and one must wonder how this repugnant conduct is in keeping with the behavior of people who believe that every human being is created in the image of God.
Here is Shabbat Ayia Napa style: Group sex recorded on camera and shared on social media on Friday, and heads covered by a lily white silk kippah on Saturday.
Because that's how it is when we only have a binary index to measure criminality: Either you're a despicable rapist who should be thrown into jail, or you're a tortured martyr.
But what does this say about Israeli society that we are relieved these teens just had group sex, filmed it and shared it online? Such good boys, indeed.
It is good that these teenagers are back in Israel and not facing jail sentences, but they really should not have been met with a warm embrace or singing and dancing, nor should their parents quote Bible verses when praising their release.
Perhaps it would have been better to admit that they were youths without boundaries who thought that an orgy caught on camera was no big deal, and that they were just letting off steam before beginning their military service.
Israelis reacted to the news for the most part in one of two ways: some thought the youths had fallen victim to false accusations, as if they were beyond reproach, and others who were disgusted by their behavior while quietly revelling in their own clear consciences and thinking "that's how it is with them, but not with us."
For every time an act of sexual depravity is revealed, every other sector of the country breathes a sigh of relief that "this time, it's not us."
A rabbi assaults a disciple? Well, it's those religious people.
A Palestinian is charged with rape? Well, it's those Arabs.
A teenager films a sexual act and shares with others? Well, it's those secular kids.
But the culture of rape, which has been around for millennia, does not skip anyone. The story of what happened in Cyprus is just a distilled version of a rotten culture, in which consent is deemed to be the yardstick, not desire or active willingness.
It is a culture in which intimacy is practically a dirty word and has been replaced by obsessive documentation, humiliation, a herd mentality. It is a culture in which there are no limits and everything is permissable, for from elementary school, children are exposed to porn - the crudest, most violent and most exploitative version of human relationships.
It is up to us, without exception, now to sit our kids down as soon as possible and talk about relationships based on the values we hold dear. We cannot wait for the next rape or class at school, and we should not be speaking from a place of fear.
Relationships are a positive thing, they can fill us with joy - some will even say they are the essence of human contact and even holiness, and our children should learn that and the value of intimacy and tenderness from us too.
Boys and girls alike need to hear from us about the wonder of intimacy, and the need to practice sensitivity and gentleness from an early age.
For it is only like this that will we rid ourselves of the twisted concept of "good boys," and ensure that all of our children are truly fine and good.