An immunity deal between Tel Aviv police and LGBT activist Shaul Ganon is not sitting well in the LGBT Community in Israel. An increasing amount of evidence has surfaced that Ganon was the target of the 2009 shooting at the Bar Noar LGBT youth center, and that he molested an underage relative of the man behind the attacks.
Yonatan Buks stated that “Ganon should be punished for all the years he knew and kept quiet.” Buks was one of the people wounded in the attack that claimed two lives. Buks noted that he was suspicious of how Ganon told people not to talk to police in the aftermath of the shooting, and said “Why should he be let off easy?”
Buks is also not buying the statements by Hagai Felician’s younger relative that Ganon did not sexually abuse him. Hagai Felician is said to have planned and carried out the attack on the LGBT center.
Ganon maintains that he had nothing to do with the incident and that he had committed no offense that was connected to it; though he has said he might have been the target of the attack.
Eran Hahn said that the decision sent the wrong message to victims. Hahn is the coordinator for a hotline for male victims of sexual abuse. Hahn stated “It is very difficult for men to complain as it is. The feeling of being the victim of an attack entangled with a perceived failure to act as a man and prevent it is extremely difficult as the sense of helplessness is not part of the accepted standard of masculinity. Police are sending the message that the victim’s experience is erased off the record. Those are problematic messages to broadcast.”
Hahn also noted that even if the incident was consensual, the boy would have been 15 at the time, and that would fall under the legal definition of statutory rape meaning that there was no way for the youth to give consent.
Hahn also added that “police don’t think of the victim, they have their sights on the indictment and the body of evidence they are required to gather for it to end in conviction. Whereas in real life there are usually no witnesses to sexual abuse, it’s a matter of one man’s word against another’s. In the present case they seek to establish the motive, and whether it was molestation or consensual sex is of scant interest to them.”
He went on to say “The fact that the man who is suspected of having sex with minors made considerable contributions to the community does not mean he could never make a wrong move. The problem lies in the societal perception of who can be branded a rapist. Usually you would get a description of someone who is problematic in character and lacks social skills, but in reality it’s different. Even popular, important people can commit rape.”
The head of the Israeli LGBT Association Shai Deutsch said that the community was struggling with this and that “If it will emerge there was a sexual relationship, we condemn the act.”
Still he does not want to interfere with the police investigation.
Ayala Katz, the mother of one of the victims of the shooting Nir Katz, was very unhappy with the police making this bargain, and for making a bargain with a known criminal who helped to plan the attack. She stated “Surely if Ganon is proven guilty, he should be punished to the full extent of the law. Yet saying ‘how can you make bargains with such a man’ is hypocritical, when deals are being made with an accessory to murder.”