It’s a safe bet that being a haven for Jewish sexual predators wasn’t the intention when Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaimed the country would open its doors to ‘Jewish immigration and the ingathering of the exiles’
Mexican diplomat Andres Roemer came to Israel with a fake passport in 2021, reportedly in an attempt to avoid charges in his home country, where more than 60 women accused him of rape and sexual harassment.
Roemer, who is Jewish, had previously spent time in Israel after taking a pro-Israel stance that cost him his job as Mexico’s ambassador to UNESCO. Ramat Gan Mayor (and former UNESCO envoy) Carmel Shama-Hacohen was so impressed with Roemer that he decided to name a street after him, saying he “Loves Israel, fought for Israel, and paid a price for it.”
Shama-Hacohen was less impressed with the Mexican General Attorney’s decision to file charges against Roemer and issue an international arrest warrant against him. The Israeli mayor said that since Roemer denies the allegations, he won’t take his name off the street.
Now that Roemer is finally being extradited to Mexico (Mexican authorities claim Israel ignored their requests for a long time), Israel is getting a new accused rapist – Hollywood filmmaker Brett Ratner, who decided to make Aliyah to the Jewish state.
In 2017, six women accused Ratner, who directed the “Rush Hour” films and “X-Men: The Last Stand” of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
All of the women brought their allegations forward in a Los Angeles Times article. One of them, actress Natasha Henstridge, alleged that Ratner forced her to perform oral sex on him when she was 19. Actress Olivia Munn described in the article how Ratner masturbated in front of her without her consent.
Hollywood studios cut their ties with his production company immediately. The State of Israel – not so much. According to a report Tuesday by Tal Shalev on Israeli news site Walla, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally invited Ratner to attend his speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly last month. Ratner even uploaded a photo on Instagram with Netanyahu and his wife Sara on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
The serious allegations tied to Ratner’s name didn’t deter Netanyahu from rolling out the red carpet for the new immigrant. Neither did the fact that Ratner is a close friend and ex-business partner of billionaire James Packer, the man at the center of a criminal court case against the Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu was charged with fraud and breach of trust for accepting gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels from Packer – and is now hanging out in public with Ratner while his trial is still going on.
Nobody expects much of Netanyahu, a man that hasn’t missed an opportunity to befriend a rich Jewish man, no matter how inappropriate or unethical the relationship is. But sadly, the prime minister is not the only reason Ratner knows he will be welcome in Israel.
The country has become a hot spot for foreign Jewish sexual predators. According to Jewish Community Watch, an organization that tracks accused pedophiles, more than 60 U.S. citizens accused of pedophilia have fled from the states to Israel in the past few years.
Ratner isn’t even the first X-Men director accused of sexual crimes that has found a new home in Israel. Bryan Singer, who directed multiple films in the X-Men franchise, was accused of rape and sexual assault of several minors. He has been living in Israel for a few years and has had no trouble finding Israeli collaborators for his future projects.
When Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaimed Israel would open its doors to “Jewish immigration and the ingathering of the exiles,” it’s a safe bet that offering safe haven for Jewish sexual predators fleeing from justice wasn’t the intention.