A reader writes:
The two cases from Israeli law discussed in this Haaretz article look like this: A man said he was a neurosurgeon. Woman slept with him based on that. He wasn't. Conviction. A man said he was a housing ministry official and would help them get better apartments. He wasn't, and he didn't. Conviction. Both men were Israeli Jews.
I'd say that lying about your job is basically on par with lying about your race or religion. While I don't doubt that there was a race/religion component to the prosecution, and while I very much think this kind of law is (practically speaking) a bad idea, Israeli courts first applied this theory of law to Jews who lied about their jobs. It's consistent with the law as stated, which is simply that if the misrepresentation is material to the decision to have sex with someone, then it constitutes rape-by-fraud. (For what it's worth, I don't think it was reflexive antipathy on your part, just a lack of information.)
Your dissenting reader is mistaken. Nowhere in this BBC article does the complaint filed by the claimant indicate that the alleged perpetrator said he was Jewish. He had a name that was consonant with a Jewish name. Nowhere in the claim does the defendant indicate that she asked his religious status and he told her a lie. Quite simply, this woman assumed the man was Jewish, never asked, and he assumed it wasn't a problem because at no time had she indicated to him that being of Arab descent would be a problem.
This might actually be rape by deception if deception had occurred. But none did.
I am a feminist and am among the most vociferous when it comes to attacking real rape, and real cases of deception in order to obtain uninformed consent. But, by all available accounts, nothing of the sort occurred. Should new information surface, I'd change my mind. But at the present state of affairs, the only information available indicates that a man and a woman engaged in sexual relations under all the required conditions of consent, and only later, when the woman discovered she had failed to ask the right questions, she decided to use the force of Israeli law to punish the man.
Do you think the Israeli court would have ruled the same way if the man lied to the woman by telling her that he was in love with her and the woman relied on that affirmation of love? What if he said he had a job and the woman had a policy against sleeping with jobless men? Men say and do things to deceive women into sleeping with them all the time.
I'm Jewish. I have family members who don't date non-Jews, let alone sleep with them. Nevertheless, jail time strikes me as being an extreme punishment for a common offense - lying one's way into a woman's pants.