An Israeli man of Arab descent has been convicted of rape after allegedly duping a Jewish woman into having consensual sex with him.
30-year-old Sabbar Kashur was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after a Jerusalem court ruled he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman, Kashur, an Arab living in East Jerusalem, introduced himself in September 2008 as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship.
After the two met outside of a local grocery store, they had consensual sex shortly thereafter in a nearby building. When she found out that Kashur was Arab and not Jewish, the woman filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault. Those claims were later changed to a formal charge of rape by deception as the result of a plea bargain arrangement.
Judge Zvi Segal ruled that although not "a classical rape by force," Kashur had pursued the relationship through deception and under false pretenses -- and the woman would not have consented otherwise. "If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated," Segal wrote in the ruling.
According to Haaretz, Kashur is vowing to appeal, and has fired back by calling the ruling "racist."
"If I were Jewish, they wouldn't have even questioned me," he said. "That's not called rape. I didn't rape her in the forest and throw her away naked. She agreed to everything that happened."
Meanwhile, the case has divided other Israeli legal experts. Elkana Laist of the Public Defender's Office told Haaertz the ruling was "paternalistic towards women," and said the Jerusalem District Court had "open[ed] the door to a rape conviction every time a person lies regarding details of his identity . . . that approach is not accepted around the world, either."
Dana Pugach, head of the Noga Center for Victims of Crime, felt differently. "It is a person's right to have sexual relations with a person knowing the facts about those characteristics. I see no difference between impersonating a Jew if you are an Arab and a wealthy pilot when you are penniless, if those are relevant characteristics to the decision to have sex."