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Ottawa provides $1 million for Israeli women abused by Hamas militants

Photo: Justin Tang The Canadian Press “We believe Israeli women and we support them in their fight for justice,” Minister Joly wrote on X.

Dylan Robertson – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

6:12 p.m.

  • Canada

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced Monday that Canada is providing $1 million to support victims of sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas militants in Israel during the October 7 attacks.

“I think it will take years to find out everything that happened,” said Kelly Aizicowitz, a former political aide who now helps coordinate various Jewish organizations supporting Israeli women.

Ottawa has not specified which organizations will receive this million dollars, or when. Canada also offers support from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for criminal investigations, although it is unclear whether Israeli officials have requested it.

Minister Joly announced these measures on Monday on the social network p>

“We believe Israeli women and we support them in their fight for justice,” wrote Minister Joly.

This announcement responds to a request made three months ago by a transpartisan group of women who have held political office in Canada, including former federal Conservative leader Rona Ambrose and former Liberal Prime Minister of Ontario Kathleen Wynne.

“I’m glad they responded to our entire request,” Aizicowitz said Monday. If it could have been sooner, so much the better. But I am happy that they met our expectations. »

Last week, a United Nations envoy said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe Hamas militants committed rape and “sexualized torture” during attacks in southern Israel on October 7.

Call for female solidarity

Israeli women's organizations have criticized their peers around the world for their slowness in recognizing the sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas that day. Canada's special envoy for preserving the memory of the Holocaust and combating anti-Semitism attributed the delay to anti-Jewish attitudes.

Conservatives in Ottawa argued that Liberals were slow to condemn Hamas' sexual violence, and that government statements on gender-based violence in general downplayed the horrors of last October's attacks .

Israeli police have argued for months that forensic evidence of rapes was not preserved in the chaos of the attacks and that Hamas killed many people who were allegedly victims of these sexual assaults — and who therefore can no longer testify.

Minister Joly made the announcement on Monday, while in Israel as part of a tour of the Middle East to advocate for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and for the release of hostages held by Hamas.

“Today I met with Israel's First Lady, Michal Herzog, to discuss the sexual violence committed by Hamas on October 7 and our support for survivors,” a- she writes.

Separately, a delegation of Israelis with family ties to Canada will travel to Ottawa next week to speak with MPs about the October 7 attacks, with a particular focus on sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas.< /p>

“They come here to raise a voice against violence against women, in the face of the constant denial that the Israeli people face,” said Ariella Kimmel, who is helping coordinate the visit with Ms. Aizicowitz.

“If you are advocating for women, this advocacy cannot depend on whether or not you agree with the government of the country. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116