Reports that female guards had been abused by inmates at Gilboa Prison have been circulating in the Israeli media for years.
But the prison’s management came under scrutiny last September, when six Palestinian inmates broke out of Gilboa by tunneling out of their cells through the drainage system, an escape that made global headlines.
Over the past year, there has been a series of revelations about what some Israeli media are calling the Gilboa “Pimping Affair,” a reference to widespread reports that male supervisors commissioned female guards in situations where they were vulnerable to prisoner abuse.
But last week, a woman who identified herself as a former Gilboa guard and who remained anonymous posted online testimony saying she had been repeatedly raped by a Palestinian prisoner.
She said she was “handed over” to him by her superiors and became his “private sex slave”.
“I didn’t want to be raped, but to be violated over and over,” she said.
The woman’s lawyer Keren Barakthen confirmed the anonymous testimony on Israel’s Channel 12 over the weekend, saying her client needed mental health care after the ordeal.
In response to the developments, the Israeli Prime Minister said: Yair Lapid told his cabinet on Sunday: “It cannot be (to be tolerated) that a soldier is raped by a terrorist while on duty.”
“It must – and will be – investigated. We will make sure that the soldier gets help,” Lapid said.
In a separate statement on Sunday, the Secretary of Homeland Security said Omer Barlev said the “affair that took place at Gilboa Prison a few years ago” had “shocked the Israeli public”.
“I read the testimonials that are being published and I am just shocked”, Barlev said.
Lapid said aspects of the case were under a gag order, but he was in talks with Israel Prison Service (IPS) Commissioner Katy Perry “to ensure that such an incident never happens again.”
Gilboa Prison, in northern Israel, is where Israel is holding a number of Palestinians convicted of involvement in attacks on Israelis.