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Herzog Demands Inquiry Into Claims Of Sexual Assault

The charges of sexual assault against female guards at a maximum security prison by inmates who were encouraged by their superiors are to be investigated on the orders of Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday.

Last week, a former soldier who worked as a jail guard in Israel's northern Gilboa Prison wrote an online post under a pseudonym accusing her superior of constantly "handing her over" to be raped and sexually assaulted by a Palestinian detainee several years back.

In April, an IDF soldier reported to have been, sexually assaulted at Purim party to a base officer, but was not taken to a hospital, to be examined, nor was her allegation passed on to the police. Ten days later, using the weapon of her commanding officer, she died by suicide on base.

Herzog stated in a press release, "Hearing the testimonies of the female prison wardens in recent days, I am filled with shock and pain, and I feel sick. We must investigate these cases in depth so that everyone responsible is held accountable to the fullest severity. That is our obligation." On Monday, an Israel Prison Service (IPS) officer was questioned about the claims made by the former soldier under armed guard.

Since then, other women have come forward with allegations that female guards were "pimped out" to be raped or sexually abused by political prisoners at the same prison, according to Israeli media reports. An IPS spokesman said in response to a request for comment that these "serious allegations" refer to an incident from a few years ago. "The information is under a gag order, and we will wait for the results of the police investigation and act accordingly with zero tolerance," the spokesperson added. The Gilboa Prison case came to light in the midst of a flurry of allegations of sexual assault against men in Israel's security forces.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid toured military prison near the city of Ramallah in the inhabited West Bank. According to a statement released by his office, "We will investigate, we will get to the truth," Lapid said, adding that the IPS must be protected as "The life of every Israeli citizen depends on its strength and integrity." Lapid further added, "Violence against women is a stain on the country and cannot continue.”

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