Who is Sabar Kashour?
He’s a guy who lies to get laid. Which is another way of saying, he’s a guy.
Two years ago in September 2008, he met a woman outside an office building where he worked, told her he was single and interested, and within 15 minutes they were having sex on a roof.
Agree or disagree with the morality of that (for the record, it seems pretty skeevy), either way you’ll have to admit that if the roof were in Hollywood or Pittsburgh or Berlin, Kashour would still be high-five-ing his buddies and showing the iPhone pics around the bar at Yankee Doodles.
But the rooftop was in Jerusalem, the woman who had sex with Kashour is Jewish, and Kashour is an Arab. Last week an Israeli court sentenced him to 18 months in prison, a 30-month conditional sentence, and a $2,800 fine, to be paid as compensation to the woman.
According to the woman, had she known Kashour was an Arab, she would never have had sex with him. All he told her, according to her testimony, was, “I’m single and my name is Dudu.”
“Dudu” is a common Israeli nickname—it sounds MUCH better in Hebrew. As an Israeli Arab, Kashour, 30, undoubtedly speaks Hebrew as well as any Jewish Israeli—and of course far better than the vast majority of American Jews. In terms of looks, it’s impossible to distinguish the bald, brawny young man from any Jew of Sephardic origins, or a young James Gandolfini with a really good tan.
Kashour wears a wedding ring, but that day or at that moment he took it off. After the sex, Kashour hitched up his pants and walked away. He told an interviewer he figured that all the woman wanted was sex, not coffee and long moonlit walks. Several weeks passed. Then, when the woman found out Kashour was an Arab, she filed a complaint with the police, who arrested and charged Kashour with rape and indecent assault. He pleaded guilty to a charge of rape by deception as part of a plea deal.
“If she hadn’t thought the accuser was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated,” Judge Zvi Segal wrote in his verdict.
Kashour’s lawyer Adnan Aladdin said on Wednesday he will appeal the sentence, which is drawing fierce condemnation from Israeli Arabs, who see it as an example of outright racism.
My sense is the uniformly negative international reaction might pressure a judge to reconsider as well. After all, Kashour did what every guy, and frankly, most women, in the world do in order to hook up: they fib. They dissemble. They act like they have more time, more money, more happening, more interest, than they really do.
It’s all a deception, but a necessary one. Make up is a lie, hair dye is a lie, Spanks and heel lifts and breast implants and credit cards and that second glass of wine—all of it lies, lies lies. We use them to help our date, or even our spouse, suspend disbelief, and pretend until morning that we are prettier, thinner, younger, richer or more eligible than we are. If lying for sex were a crime, God would have to put bars over Creation.
Kashour said it even better than me, in an interview with CNN: “If I told the woman I was a pilot and later she finds out that I was not a pilot, then she goes and says that ‘He raped me’? If I told her that I was a millionaire and it turns out that I am a poor man, then she goes and says that ‘He raped me’?”
There is an Israeli law that obtaining sex by false pretenses is a form of rape, and similar laws exist in several countries, including the United States. But civil rights attorneys in Israel say the court has gone too far in applying it to Kashour, who lied about his marital status.
One has to conclude that Kashour is not the first Israeli to lie about being single to get sex—which makes his prosecution look suspiciously selective and race-based. Israel’s Arabs, who make up 20 percent of the country, are often treated as second class citizens, both in law and in practice. Former Defense Minisiter Moshe Arens, a stalwart of the right, has pointed to this as a major obstacle to Israel’s success. As Israel’s representatives and supporters struggle to make the case that the country is a besieged democracy, a United States-in-the-Middle East, headlines like these paint Israel as Little Rock-circa 1950-in-the-Middle East.
Under other circumstances this would play out as a kind of seedy Shakespearean comedy—hidden identities, deception, outdoor sex—but now it has turned into something much uglier, Neil LaBute-meets-Bull Connor.
Here’s hoping the courts uphold Kashour’s appeal, and the man goes free to face the only punishment he deserves: a very, very angry wife.
Here’s a video report: