Mordechai Kedar
Mordechai KedarYoutube

An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks.

The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in Hebrew) on Monday.

"The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped," said Kedar on Israel Radio Bet

"It sounds very bad, but that's the Middle East," he continued. "You have to understand the culture in which we live. The only thing that deters [Hamas leaders] is a threat to the connection between their heads and their shoulders."

To the shocked radio presenter who said that "we cannot take such steps, of course", Kedar replied:

"I'm not talking about what we should or shouldn't do. I'm talking about the facts. The only thing that deters a suicide bomber is the knowledge that if he pulls the trigger or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That's all. That's the only thing that will bring him back home, in order to preserve his sister's honor."

Kedar served for 25 years in the military intelligence, where he specialised in Islamic groups. He is currently a researcher at the right-wing Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan but previously worked for a shadowy organisation, the Israel Academia Monitor, which fights left-leaning academic professors.

Kedar's words triggered an angered reaction among feminist activists in Israel, who sent a letter to the University president Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz in which they condemn Kedar's "words of incitement that grant legitimacy to Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Israeli civilians to commit rape, and endanger both Israeli and Palestinian women.

"Kedar's words echo expressions that treat rape as a remedial practice, although it is a war crime."