Female Israeli soldiers have been banned from working in high-security prisons after one allegedly had an affair with a Palestinian prisoner convicted of terrorism.
The Petah Tikva magistrates’ court placed a media gag order on many of the details of the case, including the location of the prison and names of those involved.
Three more women were set to be questioned on Sunday, according to The Times of Israel, after the probe into the first guard led police to an additional four female guards who may have had intimate relations with the same prisoner.
According to Israeli media, the prisoner is said to be a Fatah member convicted of involvement in a terror attack in central Israel that led to the deaths of Israelis. Haaretz reported that he is serving a life sentence.
He is believed to have had a phone in his possession while in prison, which he used to keep in touch with the female guards and exchange photos.
Nearing end of military service
The guard’s lawyer told Israeli media that the gag order had put them in an “impossible situation”. Attorney Yair Ohayon, who is representing the initial guard, said that “the public will know that the prison guard is the victim,” adding that the authorities have issued a “sweeping” gag order while simultaneously leaking facts to the media that the claims are false.
He had told Ynet news, who broke the story, that the relationship was non-consensual but an unnamed police source in their report said that the evidence suggested otherwise.
Over the weekend Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel’s national security minister, issued a joint statement with Katy Perry, Israel prison service commander, announcing that all female Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers will “immediately stop” serving as guards in security prisons.
All five women under suspicion are reported to be nearing the end of their mandatory military service.
On Sunday Ynet reported that a prison guard was being questioned over whether he or colleagues knew that female soldiers may have been having sexual relations with a security prisoner and did not report it.
The process of removing female IDF soldiers who are completing their military conscription from prisons was due to begin last year following reports that Palestinian convicts had allegedly assaulted and raped female soldiers.