SWC Joins Hadassah of SoCal & Two Female Survivors of Nova Massacre in Call for Women’s Groups To Speak More Forcefully for Release of Female Hostages

March 12, 2024

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in partnership with Hadassah of Southen California, part of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America held a packed press conference for media and invited guests in which it called on 50 of the world’s leading women’s organizations to speak more forcefully on behalf of 19 Israeli women still held hostage in Gaza.

The press conference was attended by 2 survivors of the Nova massacre in Israel, Talia Biner (28) & Ron Gabay (24).

Speaking at the event, Jim Berk, SWC CEO (pictured below left) said: “The murders and mass rapes committed on October 7th were physical crimes committed by the men of Hamas.  There is now an ongoing ‘moral crime’ from many leading women’s groups, who have downplayed or even ignored the rapes and sexual violence committed against Israeli women.”

As part of its campaign urging Women’s groups to speak out more forcefully, Dr. Deborah Soffen, a physician and Children and Woman’s Advocate for the SWC, sent a letter asking 50+ leading women’s groups to speak more forcefully about the unique use of rape as a form of intentional terror practiced by men of Hamas against Israeli women.  In her letter, Dr. Soffen said: 

“As we approach National Women’s Day, I am concerned that many organizations that speak on behalf of women and girls have said too little or nothing at all about the use of rape and hostage-taking, not as unintentional consequences of a larger conflict, but as intentional tools of terror practiced by the men of Hamas on and since October 7th.”

Dr. Soffen also said: “...as an organization that speaks out against rape and sexual violence, I ask you to declare through your social media and public statements in the strongest manner possible that the use of rape and kidnapping as tools of terror directed exclusively towards Israeli women are never forms of legitimate resistance.  

The full text of the letter can be seen here:

For further information, please email Michele Alkin, Director of Global Communications at malkin@wiesenthal.com or Erik Simon at esimon@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed. 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization. It holds consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS, and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO).   

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