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Male October 7 survivor recounts rape at hands of Hamas terrorists

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A survivor of the Hamas massacre at the Supernova music festival on October 7 said he was raped by terrorists attacking the rave, the first time a male victim has come forward to publicly detail sexual offenses during the brutal assault.

The testimony by the victim, whose comments to Channel 12 news were aired without revealing his identity, add to a growing body of evidence that terrorists who stormed into Israel on October 7 sexually assaulted their victims, both male and female.

Firsthand testimony of such acts has been fairly rare, as most of the victims were killed, a fact that some Israel critics have used to sow doubts about the allegations.

The victim was with hundreds others fleeing terrorists who descended upon the festival near Kibbutz Re’im early on October 7, when he said he was caught by forces from Hamas’s elite Nukhba unit.

“They pin you to the ground, you try to resist, they take off your clothes, laugh at you, humiliate you, spit at you,” he said, his face blurred and his voice distorted to avoid recognition. “They touched [private] parts, they rape you.”

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“There is a circle, [people] laugh, and you don’t know what to do in the moment, whether you should resist or let it pass, how to deal with the situation. There was a very difficult rape. At some point more people arrived and called for them and so they had to stop,” added the man, who was identified by the Hebrew initial Dalet.

The site of the Re’im music festival massacre, in southern Israel, June 9, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

“It’s a very tough moment. Weakness in the entire body. As if your blood is cheap. They were wildly intoxicated, celebrating, laughing with their pistols, with their knives. You disassociate yourself from the situation, but on the other hand experience it very strongly. Very difficult,” he said.

Dalet eventually managed to escape, the report said, with the help of Israeli forces that showed up.

Asked how he has been coping with the experience, Dalet replied, “It wasn’t simple in the beginning. I was very closed off.” He also reported an obsessive fixation on cleanliness in the aftermath of the attack. “A lot, a lot of showers, to get all that energy off me, everything that happened.”

Dalet’s testimony has been handed to a police unit investigating sexual crimes committed by the terrorists on October 7, after he filed a complaint, the report said.

Aware that some are casting doubt on testimony of sexual violence on October 7, Dalet has presented various sources with medical opinions that testify to the harm done to him, as well as sitting for a polygraph test.

His testimony is also included in a major lawsuit filed by more than 100 survivors of the Supernova festival against the State of Israel, demanding more than NIS 500 million ($137 million) in government support.

“Many of them aren’t able to return to work, and aren’t able to return to their lives— to address [the case of] Dalet specifically, of course it’s impossible, at this stage, to return to normal life after what happened,” said Einat Ginzburg, one of the lawyers representing the massacre survivors.

Israeli police have been collecting survivor testimony, physical evidence, and confessions of sexual assault by terrorists on October 7 since the immediate aftermath of the attack, when thousands of terrorists burst into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing some 1,200 people and taking 251 hostages, starting the ongoing war.

A February report by the United Nations Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict found that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred during the 7 October attacks in multiple locations across the Gaza periphery, including rape and gang rape, in at least three locations.”

The report also testified to “clear and convincing” evidence that hostages were raped while being held in Gaza, and that those currently held captive are still facing such abuse.

Further evidence was made public in April by the release of a one-hour documentary on the topic directed by former Meta CEO Sheryl Sandberg, called “Screams Before Silence,” which is free to watch online.

Amit Soussana, an Israeli hostage who was released during a weeklong truce in November, was the first to speak publicly about being sexually abused in captivity, recounting being marched at gunpoint to the bedroom of her captor, where he forced her to “commit a sexual act on him.”

Teenager Agam Goldstein-Almog, also released in the November deal, reported having been groped by captors and being constantly afraid she would be raped. “Half of the girls and young women I met in captivity told me they experienced sexual or physical abuse or both. They are still living there with their rapists,” she said at the time.

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Israel's Netanyahu walks political tightrope on Washington trip following Biden's exit from race

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Washington on Monday, leaving behind a brutal war to make a politically precarious speech before the U.S. Congress at a time of great uncertainty following Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the presidential race.

With efforts ongoing to bring about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, rising concerns about the war spreading to Lebanon and Yemen, and the U.S. in the midst of a dizzying election campaign, Netanyahu’s speech has the potential to cause disarray on both sides of the ocean.

The risks only increased with Biden’s decision Sunday to drop out of the race for president, especially since the choice of a replacement Democratic nominee — and the potential next American leader — are still up in the air.

Before stepping on the plane, Netanyahu said he would emphasize the theme of Israel’s bipartisanship in his speech and said Israel would remain America’s key ally in the Middle East “regardless who the American people choose as their next president.”

“In this time of war and uncertainty, it’s important that Israel’s enemies know that America and Israel stand together,” he said, adding that he will meet Biden during his trip and thank him for his support for Israel.

What to know:

A person familiar with Biden’s schedule confirmed Sunday that the president will host Netanyahu at the White House. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly, said the exact timing of the meeting has not been established because Biden is recovering from COVID-19.

Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday. He is also expected to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Netanyahu will deliver his congressional address with an eye on several audiences: his ultranationalist governing partners, the key to his political survival; the Biden administration, which Netanyahu counts on for diplomatic and military support; and Donald Trump’s Republican Party, which could offer Netanyahu a reset in relations if he is reelected in November.

His words risk angering any one of those constituencies, which the Israeli leader cannot afford if he hopes to hold on to his tenuous grip on power.

“There are a few land mines and pitfalls on this trip,” Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said before Biden’s withdrawal. “He is thought of as a political wizard who knows how to escape from traps. I am not sure he still knows how to do that.”

It is Netanyahu’s fourth speech to Congress — more than any other world leader. During his address, his far-right governing partners will want to hear his resolve to continue the war and topple Hamas.

The Biden administration will look for progress toward the latest U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal and details on a postwar vision. Republicans hope Netanyahu besmirches Biden and bolsters the GOP’s hoped-for perception as Israel’s stalwart supporter.

The war, which was sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, has tested Israel’s ties with its top ally as never before.

The Biden administration has stood staunchly beside Israel. But it has grown increasingly alarmed about the conduct of the Israeli military, the continued difficulties of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, especially after the short-lived U.S. military pier off Gaza coast, as well as Israel’s lack of postwar plans and the harm to civilians in Gaza. Similar concerns will likely persist if Americans elect a new Democratic president.

Biden earlier this year froze the delivery of certain bombs over fears they would be used in Israel’s incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which at the time sheltered more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million.

The U.S. abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote in March that called for a cease-fire and the release of hostages but did not link the two. Netanyahu called the decision a “retreat” from a “principled position” by Israel’s ally.

Biden has had to walk a fine line of his own. He has faced harsh criticism from progressive Democrats and many Arab Americans. Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking elected U.S. Jewish official, lambasted Netanyahu in March for his handling of the war.

Some Democrats will likely demonstrate their anger toward Biden and Netanyahu by skipping Wednesday’s speech. Netanyahu is also likely to be hounded by pro-Palestinian activists during his trip.

The last time Netanyahu spoke to Congress in 2015 was at the invitation of the Republican Party. The trip drove Israeli-American politics deep into the partisan divide as Netanyahu railed against then-President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu has not shied away from making Israel a partisan issue. With his nationalist conservative ideology, he has been perceived as throwing his support behind Republican candidates in the past, rankling Democrats and Israelis who want to keep the U.S.-Israel relationship bipartisan.

It’s unclear if he will meet Trump. If there is a meeting, it could expose Netanyahu to accusations that he is once again taking sides. But if he doesn’t meet with Trump, the former president could feel slighted.

The speech also offers Netanyahu opportunity. He will be able to show Israelis that despite the tensions with the Biden administration, U.S. support for him remains ironclad.

“He wants the Israeli public to believe that he is very much still very welcome in the United States. And this shows that the American people are with him,” said David Makovsky, director of the program on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

For critics of Netanyahu, that embrace is unacceptable and grants legitimacy to a deeply polarizing leader whose public support has plummeted. Netanyahu faces widespread protests and calls to resign over the failures of Oct. 7 and his handling of the war.

In a letter to Congress, 500 Israeli writers, scholars and public figures expressed their dismay over the invitation to Netanyahu, saying he will use the platform to advance misguided policies that align with his far-right governing partners.

“His only interest is preserving his own power,” they wrote. “Does the United States Congress wish to support such a model of cynical and manipulative leadership in these times?”

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu will be joined by rescued hostage Noa Argamani and her father. But for many of the families of hostages held in Gaza, the trip is an affront.

“This is not the time for trips,” Ayelet Levy Shachar, whose daughter Naama was kidnapped on Oct. 7, told reporters.

“Netanyahu: First a deal, then you can travel.”

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Vladimir Putin Looks to Donald Trump for a Win in His War in Ukraine

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Welcome to Balance of Power, bringing you the latest in global politics. If you haven’t yet, sign up here.

For all the political theater at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s main foreign-policy message was that he’s a peacemaker. That’s of particular interest to Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin isn’t hiding its satisfaction at the prospect of Trump and his running-mate, JD Vance, winning November’s presidential election on a platform that includes a pledge to end the war in Ukraine quickly. Russia’s foreign minister this week said Vance’s stated opposition to further aid for Ukraine was “what we need.”

Ukraine fears Trump may force it to make territorial concessions to Putin or face Russia’s army without US backing. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy challenged Trump in a Bloomberg interview this month to explain how he’d end the war, and they may speak by phone today.

Russia’s military is largely bogged down in Ukraine after incurring huge losses. By digging in for another four months, Putin now knows American voters may help him deliver the victory he failed to achieve on the battlefield.

And there’s a potentially even greater prize on the horizon.

The Russian president has started arguing for a new security architecture embracing Europe and Asia to replace the “outdated” US-led world order, with a central role for Russia.

The Kremlin may hope the offer of a grand bargain to reshape global security will appeal to Trump, a famously transactional dealmaker.

Europeans are already fearful he’ll leave them exposed to Russia by pulling the US out of the NATO military alliance.

In his convention speech yesterday, Trump said the planet is “teetering on the edge of World War III.” He declared he’d “end every single international crisis that the current administration has created” including the war in Ukraine.

It was Putin who started the war in February 2022.

The question for the Russian leader is what a peacemaking Trump may now offer him to end it.

Global Must Reads

Trump used his 93-minute speech accepting the Republican nomination for president to fire off insults at his usual targets: immigrants, Democrats and the media. Basking in total control of the party, he vowed to reverse President Joe Biden’s policies to promote electric vehicles and criticized what he said was trillions of dollars of wasteful spending “having to do with the green new scam.” He also recounted to thousands of rapt supporters his narrow escape from a would-be assassin’s bullet.

The pressure on Biden to quit his reelection bid keeps building. While his surrogates insisted that he was “not wavering” on running, even some of his cabinet ministers discussed among themselves whether he should step aside due to his health and doubts over his ability to defeat Trump in November. The harshest blow was a report in the Washington Post that former President Barack Obama told allies the pathway to victory for Biden, who is isolating at home due to Covid-19, was greatly diminished.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves warned “difficult decisions” lie ahead as she tries to fix the UK’s public finances, raising the prospect of tax hikes or spending cuts in her maiden budget. Reeves, Britain’s first female finance minister, told Bloomberg in her first TV interview since the Labour Party’s landslide election victory that she would be honest about the scale of the challenges ahead.

A wave of arrests kicked off Tunisia’s election season with the targeting of rivals and critics of President Kais Saied, stirring fears of a barely contested presidential vote on Oct. 6 that would deal a hammer blow to what was once the Arab world’s most progressive democracy. In a matter of days, three prominent aspiring candidates have faced police action in a crackdown that’s also swept up members of the largest remaining opposition party.

French President Emmanuel Macron scored a political victory when lawmakers reelected a centrist candidate from his party to a second term leading the National Assembly. Yael Braun-Pivet of Macron’s pro-business Renaissance party won the vote for parliamentary president by 13 ballots, with the support of centrist and center-right lawmakers from outside his alliance.

Computer systems failed across the globe today, taking down services at airlines, banks and the London Stock Exchange after a widely used cybersecurity program crashed and Microsoft separately reported problems with its cloud services.

One man was killed in the heart of Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv today by an explosion from a suspected drone, with Yemen’s Houthi militants claiming responsibility.

Russian prosecutors have asked a court to hand down an 18-year sentence in a penal colony on espionage charges for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the Interfax news service reported.

Bangladesh was hit by a nationwide internet shutdown as students armed with sticks and stones clashed with police in protests against the government’s job quota policy that reports said have left at least 39 people dead.

Washington Dispatch

The moment that markets and economists as well as people seeking mortgages and lower credit-card charges have long anticipated may finally be at hand. The US Federal Reserve, after more than two years of a laser focus on inflation, may be prepared to cut interest rates in September.

The central bankers have expressed increasing confidence that price stability is within sight, while risks to the labor market have grown. They’ve laid the groundwork for the coming decision in speeches over recent weeks, and Chair Jerome Powell will likely offer more specifics after a policy meeting on July 30-31.

It’s not quite a sure thing. Fed officials still want to see monthly price numbers continuing to trend down toward their 2% annual inflation goal before they commit to lowering borrowing costs from a two-decade high. Yet Powell and his colleagues are also determined not to squander the chance of a so-called soft landing for the American economy, which is showing at least a few signs of losing momentum.

One person to watch today: Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, will speak at a conference.

Sign up for the Washington Edition newsletter for more from the US capital and watch Balance of Power at 1 and 5 p.m. ET weekdays on Bloomberg Television.

Chart of the Day

At the current pace, public fast-charging sites for electric vehicles will outnumber gas stations in the US in about eight years, and the momentum is expected to accelerate. North American operators will spend a collective $6.1 billion on the necessary infrastructure this year, nearly double their 2023 investment, according to BloombergNEF estimates. The annual outlay is expected to double again by 2030.

And Finally

While the vast majority of the world supports a two-state solution to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the Knesset rejected the establishment of an independent Palestinian state at a sitting yesterday in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit Washington next week where the Biden administration is expected to urge him to accept a nation for Palestinians as the way to bring Arab states into the rebuilding of Gaza and normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Pop quiz (no cheating!) Which former French president never kept his promise to swim in the Seine to show how clean it was? Send your answers to balancepower@bloomberg.net.

More from Bloomberg

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89-year-old comedian recovering after she was randomly punched on New York street

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NEW YORK (AP) — An 89-year-old comedian is recovering after being randomly punched and knocked to the ground while waiting to cross a street in New York earlier this month.

D’yan Forest said she had just stopped at a coffee shop and was heading to a swimming pool when someone came up to her from behind and hit her in the eye. She lay on the ground in shock as police and paramedics came to her aid.

“I thought I had lost use of the eye because I couldn’t see anything.” Forest said. Her eyesight returned over the next four hours while she underwent tests at a hospital.

Police on Saturday said the female suspect in the July 10 incident had a medium complexion and cornrow braids and was last seen wearing a tank top and shorts with a Jurassic Park logo.

Forest said she has lived in Greenwich Village since 1966 and had never had anything else bad happen to her aside from watching the 9/11 attacks from her roof.

“I walk around the village now and I don’t go near anybody. I don’t want to be near anybody,” she said.

Forest holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest working female comedian. She said her first thought after falling to the ground was whether she would be presentable for her July 29 nightclub show.

But she said her eye is healing.

“My eye was totally red and horrible. But now at least I can go on stage without a black eye,” Forest said.

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Person in police custody allegedly killed 4 relatives in Brooklyn: NYPD

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) – We’re learning new disturbing details about a horrific quadruple homicide in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Four members of the same family, including two young children, have died. A family member is now in custody.

Police say they were called to an apartment at the corner of West 8th and Avenue P around 10:30 p.m. Friday night about an assault that was in progress.

Sources say a man came home to find his wife, two young children, and his mother inside the apartment, all suffering from stab wounds.

They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Police then arrested the man’s 24-year-old brother. 

A woman named Guzal lives in the building and says she knew one of the women. “She always helped me when I came ten years before, and she was always helpful.”

Neighbors say the family was originally from Uzbekistan and had lived in the building for years. 

Jennifer Ponti was still reeling after seeing officers remove body bags from the apartment.

Ponti said, “It’s sad. It’s horrible. Babies shouldn’t die no matter what.”

Detectives believe the stabbings took place due to a domestic dispute. 

The 24-year-old man is now a person of interest in the deaths of his own mother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew.

He was taken into custody for questioning. 

One neighbor says after the stabbings, a large crowd gathered to console the family outside.

Juan Perez said, “There were multiple men sobbing and crying inconsolably and multiple men trying to console and just cries.”

“It’s heartbreaking to hear this. They didn’t deserve this.” 

The victims have been identified as 56-year-old Fayzieva Mavlyuda, 27-year-old Maftuna Khakimova, 5-year-old Kamila Shavkatova, and 4-year-old Timur Shavkatov.

Police have not released the identity of the 24-year-old person of interest. 

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Physicians weigh in on potential impact of Trump’s ear wound: 'It’s a matter of inches'

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5 days ago
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