At first, she was known only as “the lady in black”.
In a blurry video, she can be seen lying on her back, with her dress torn, her legs spread and her vagina exposed. His face is burnt beyond recognition and his right hand is covering his eyes.
The video was filmed on the morning of October 8 by a woman searching for her missing friend at the site of a rave party in southern Israel where, the day before, Hamas militants had massacred hundreds of young Israelis.
The video went viral and thousands of people responded, desperate to know if the woman in black was their missing friend, sister or daughter.
One family knew who she was: Gal Abdush, a mother of two from a working-class town in central Israel who had disappeared from a party with her husband.
As the terrorists approached her, stuck in a line of cars of people trying to escape on the highway, she sent one last WhatsApp message to her family: “They don’t understand.”
Based on video evidence verified by The New York Times, Israeli police officials said they believed Abdush was raped. It has become a symbol of the horror that Israeli women and youth endured on October 7.
Israeli officials say that wherever Hamas militants attacked that day – Raves, military bases on the Gaza Strip border and kibbutzim – they brutalized women.
Based on video, photographs, mobile phone GPS data and interviews with more than 150 people, The Times has identified at least seven locations where Israeli women and young girls were sexually assaulted or mutilated on October 7 .
Four witnesses describe in graphic detail seeing women raped and murdered at two locations along Route 232The third place was the road where Abdush’s semi-nude body was found lying.
And several soldiers and medical volunteers together described finding the bodies of more than 30 women and youth in the vicinity of the rave site and in two kibbutzim, with their legs spread, their clothes torn off, and signs of abuse in their genital areas. .
Hamas has denied Israel’s allegations of sexual violence. Israeli activists are angry that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN Women did not acknowledge the allegations until weeks after the attacks.
Investigators from Lahav 433, the main unit of Israel’s National Police, are gathering evidence, but have not provided figures on how many women were raped, saying most are dead – and buried – and They will never know. No survivors have spoken publicly.
The combination of chaos, mourning, and Jewish religious duties resulted in many bodies being buried as quickly as possible. Most were never examined and, in some cases, such as at the rave site where more than 360 people were murdered in a matter of hours, the bodies were taken away in trucks. This has left Israeli authorities unable to fully explain to families what happened to their loved ones. Abdush’s relatives never received a death certificate. They are still looking for answers.
Sapir, a 24-year-old accountant, has become one of the Israeli police’s key witnesses. She does not want to reveal her identity completely.
She had attended the rave with several friends. In an interview, he described seeing groups of heavily armed men raping and killing at least five women. He said that at 8 a.m. on October 7, she was found hiding under a tamarack tree, just off Route 232, about four and a half miles southwest of the party. He was shot in the back. He felt weak. She covered herself with grass and remained as still as possible.
About 15 meters from his hiding place, he said, he saw “about 100 people” coming and going in vehicles. He said the men fired rifles, hand grenades, small missiles at each other and seriously injured the women. He said the first victim he saw was a young woman who was bleeding from her back and with her pants down to her knees. A man grabbed her hair and forced her to bend over. Another man entered her room and stabbed her in the back whenever she wobbled, Sapir said.
He said he then saw another woman “broken down.” While one terrorist raped her, the other took out a box cutter and cut off her breasts, she said.
He said he raped three other women and saw terrorists carrying away the severed heads of three other women.
Sapir provided photographs of his hiding place and his injuries. Police officials have backed up her testimony and released a video of her, with her face blurred out, describing what she saw.
That same morning, on Route 232, about a mile southwest of the party area, Raz Cohen – a young Israeli who had attended the rave – said he was hiding in a dry creek bed.
He remembered, a white van stopped about 35 meters in front of him. He said he then saw five men, all with knives and one with a hammer, dragging a woman on the ground. She was young, and she was naked and screaming.
“They started raping her,” Cohen said. “I saw people standing in a semicircle around him. One penetrates him. she shouts. I still remember her voice, the wordless screams.
“Then one of them picks up a knife and they kill him.”
A few hours later, the first wave of volunteer emergency medical technicians arrived. Four of them said they found bodies of women in the party area, on the roadside, in the parking lot area and in nearby fields, with their legs spread and no underwear – some with their hands tied with ropes .
Similar discoveries were made in two kibbutzim, Beri and Kfar Aza. Eight volunteer doctors and two Israeli soldiers said that The bodies of at least 24 naked or semi-nude women and girls, some mutilated, some bound and often alone, were found in at least six different houses.
A week after Abdush’s body was found, three government social workers arrived at the family home in Kiryat Ekron. They reported that 34-year-old Abdush was found dead.
But the only document the family received was a manly one-page letter from Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, in which he expressed his condolences and hugged her. The body of Abdush’s husband, 35-year-old Nagi, was identified two days after his wife’s body. He was badly burned and investigators determined who he was based on DNA samples and his wedding band.
Their sons, Eliav, 10, and Refael, 7, are now orphans. Abdush’s mother and father have applied for permanent custody.
Night after night, Abdush’s mother, Eti Bracha, lies in bed with the children until they fall asleep. She said that a few weeks ago she had tried to quietly sneak out of her room when the little boy stopped her.
“Grandma,” he said, “I want to ask you a question.”
“Honey, you can ask anything,” he told her.
“Grandma, how did mom die?”
Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sela. the new York Times
bbc-news-src: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/28/world/middleeast/oct-7-attacks-hamas-israel-sexy-violence.html, import date: 2024-01-04 22:15:04