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Regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Israel ‘Peeping Toms’ mural erased

Painted 18 years ago and often criticised as sexist, the mural was removed by a municipal worker with a paint roller from the exterior wall of a women’s changing room

Reuters Jerusalem Published 24.08.20, 01:01 AM
People enjoy the day on a beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday.

People enjoy the day on a beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday. AP

Israeli authorities on Sunday erased a “Peeping Toms” mural that had long been a fixture at a Tel Aviv beach, responding to public outrage over the suspected gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in the southern resort of Eilat.

Painted 18 years ago and often criticised as sexist, the mural was removed by a municipal worker with a paint roller from the exterior wall of a women’s changing room. The image showed two young men in bathing suits peering inside.

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It was a nod to the beach’s name — “Metzizim”, Hebrew for “Peeping Toms” — identical to the title of a 1972 Israeli cult film about a lifeguard who spies on his friends’ sexual escapades at the seashore.

The mural, located at what the Lonely Planet describes as “actually a family-friendly beach” on the Mediterranean, had survived defacement by women’s rights groups, which complained that sexual assault cases in Israel are not prosecuted thoroughly.

But Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai said on Sunday it was time for the painting to go in the wake of the assault against the teenage girl at Eilat, on the Red Sea, on August 12.

“Freedom of expression and the arts are important values in our city, but because the painting was seen as acceptance of a forbidden and criminal act, we have decided to say goodbye to it,” Huldai wrote on Twitter.

Police said they would ask a court later in the day to extend the detention of three suspects arrested so far in the rape case. The teenage’s lawyer said one of them told the police that about 30 men had waited in line to rape her.

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