A December 2007 article in Israel National News claims:

A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.

The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."

The paper in question is called "Controlled Occupation: The Rarity of Military Rape in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" from 2006, and it is in Hebrew.

Does it say that there is a lack of organized rapes by IDF soldiers, and that this is to achieve political goals?


1 Answer 1


In the study, Nitzan distinguishes between two types of military rape - intentional military rape and symptomatic military rape.

The first is intentional rape intended to achieve political goals and to clarify the blurred social boundaries and the second is rape that is carried out to achieve personal goals, not as an intentional general political act. According to her, the cases of rape of Palestinian women by IDF soldiers are of the second type - that is, they arise from the specific personality of soldiers and the lack of supervision and not as a general military trend, therefore they are rarer than other armies.

One of the interesting points raised by Nitzan is that intentional military rape is intended to define class and ethnic boundaries, however in Israel due to the blurring of the spatial boundaries between the two nations, the ethnic boundaries are very clear. Therefore, deliberate military rape would have achieved the opposite goal, instead of establishing the borders, it would have blurred them.

That is, our and our soldiers' tendency to see the situation as "us" and "them" is so strong that the rape of Palestinian women is an act that is perceived as if it would blur the boundaries between "us" and the Palestinian side.

  • If anything, the Nitzan study was criticized as being too limited in scope berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/conflict-and-society/9/1/… Nov 20, 2023 at 18:58
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    This answer boils down to "trust me, this is what it says". Please quote the sections that back up what you're saying, with an English translation.
    – Laurel
    Nov 20, 2023 at 19:34
  • It would be appropriate to give us some context to help us decide whether to trust it. What were the study's methods? How did the author reach such a conclusion? Was it a PhD thesis? (I treat results from PhD theses with additional skepticism.) Was it published in any peer-reviewed journal?
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 21, 2023 at 1:27
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    Oh, I forgot my biggest question: Where most pop-science would suggest that dehumanizing women is a large risk factor in causing rape, how did this researcher conclude that it was a protective factor in this case?
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 21, 2023 at 1:48

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