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Bar-Ilan University in the news: December 18

Dear Allies, Partners and Friends,

Since our last update, we are proud to share that the UN is finally starting to publicly recognize the sexual violence and gender atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli women and men - both on October 7th and in captivity - and is calling for the immediate release of the hostages.

This shift was caused by the endless work since October 7th of so many Jewish and Israeli organizations, foundations, leaders, and activists, including Bar-Ilan University Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari and the Rackman Center.

Engaging with the UN

Prof. Halperin-Kaddari recently returned from two intensive days in Geneva where she participated in 11 meetings, interviews and briefings, including an important, one-on-one meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human rights, Mr. Volker Turk. During this meeting, Prof. Halperin-Kaddari gave a detailed account about the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.

On December 11, Mr. Turk called for the full investigation of the Hamas attacks against Israelis on Oct. 7 as information has emerged on serious allegations of sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas members.

This follows a statement issued on Dec. 8 by the UN Secretary-General's special representative for sexual violence in the conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, who expressed concern over reports of sexual violence against men and women held captive by Hamas and called for their immediate release without any conditions.

Another important development was the statement from women's rights leaders condemning the rape atrocities of Oct. 7 signed by leading activists, politicians, artists, media and religious leaders.

Prof. Halperin-Kaddari’s Response

Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari’s addressed Ms. Patten’s statement:

"After weeks of protest by women's organizations in Israel in the face of the UN's silence and refusal to recognize the gender crimes and sexual violence that were part of the massacre committed by Hamas in Israel, I see great importance in the statement issued by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Sexual Violence at a time conflict.

This is a unique message and differs in several aspects from previous messages and statements given by officials.

First, the announcement mainly refers to the sexual violence carried out in Hamas captivity against the male and female hostages and the resulting need for their immediate release. This reference is the first from an official to the issue and includes an expression of concern, strong condemnation and a clear and explicit call for the release of the rest of the hostages.

Second, this message also includes a reference to the sexual violence that occurred on October 7. The language of condemnation and the language used are the most explicit and harshest among the various statements given so far. Also, unlike previous statements, this statement even includes an expression of the collective trauma due to those events.

Thirdly, for the first time, there is an expression of willingness to come and hear the testimonies of the survivors as well as the freed men and women, out of an obligation to make their voices heard."

Highlights from our work since Oct. 7:

For the most recent and up-to-date information on the issue of the sexual violence and gender atrocities, we recommend Prof. Halperin-Kaddari's latest webinar with ELNET  – European Leadership Network.

Additional resources from the last few weeks include:

·       Letter of Israeli women’s organizations to UN Women

·       Playlist of select interviews and webinars featuring Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari.

·       Interviews with CNNThe Guardian, ABC News and SkyNews

List of written interviews: 

·     Heads of universities in Israel, led by Prof. and BIU President Arie Zaban, denounce the lack of leadership by Ivy League Presidents on Anti-Semitism -The Jerusalem Post

For more information or to donate, please contact:

Randy E. Spiegel, CEO

Canadian Friends of Bar-Ilan University



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