CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Stealing a Kiss is Literally a Crime in Israel

From Israeli CrimProf Yoram Rabin recently discussed the Israeli law that makes forced kissing of a unconsenting woman an illegal act.

"There is no doubt that a forcible kiss could be an indecent act," said Dr. Yoram Rabin. "This article is intended to protect a person, usually a woman, form having her body used for sexual purposes against her will. I have fears about criminalizing courtship practices, but the danger is not the indecent acts article, but the flawed law against sexual harassment and the prosecution's problematic policy of indicting in borderline cases."

The courts have convicted dozens of defendants of indecent acts for having forcibly kissed women. In most cases, however, the act was accompanied by other, sometimes graver, sexual assaults.

For example, Haim Hamiel, husband, father and grandfather, invited his neighbor to his apartment on August 22, 2001, ostensibly to see his new furniture and help him cook. After she entered, he held her face and tried to kiss her. She fled from his apartment.

Hamiel denied the kiss, saying he embraced her because she stumbled over a table and almost fell. He said that his conduct was devoid of any sexual connotations. But the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court believed the complainant and convicted him, giving him a three-month suspended sentence and ordering him to pay the complainant NIS 1,000 in compensation.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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