Nimr Jamal
Year 24
Month 06
Day 07
dividerNews ArchivedividerRise in domestic violence: 16 women murdered in 6 months in Israel
Rise in domestic violence: 16 women murdered in 6 months in Israel

The recommendations of a committee on the prevention of domestic violence—including ankle monitors, more shelters for victims, and treatment of violent men—have yet to be implemented, while the list of victims only grows longer.

 

Sixteen women have been murdered in the past six months, which is a dramatic increase compared to previous years.

The latest victim is Henrietta Kara, a 17-year-old who is related to Supreme Court pick Judge George Kara, was murdered in Ramla on Tuesday. Maya Goren, 41, was murdered in Bat Yam at the end of last week.

The wave of murders of women by their spouses or relatives came as no surprise to activists in the fight against domestic violence. The authorities' treatment of this issue suffers from the absence of a leading directive, a lack of coordination between the various bodies—including welfare services and the police—and a lack of funding for shelters and centers for domestic violence prevention.

According to the Women's International Zionist Organization's (WIZO) Index of Violence Against Women, 185 women were murdered by their spouses or by a family member in the past decade.

In September 2014, a government team was established to deal with the plague of domestic violence, but its recommendations, submitted a year ago, have not yet been adopted, even though they were budgeted by the government.

The inter-ministerial committee began its work at the end of 2014 and formulated its recommendations in June 2016. Following the submission of its conclusions, the government decided to appoint an administrative committee for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence headed by the director general of the Ministry of Welfare.

The administrative committee was tasked with formulating a plan on implementing the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee. Last November, the implementation plan was presented to the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality presented, after the approval of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Welfare Minister Haim Katz. The plan was estimated to cost NIS 350 million.

 

 

The plan was supposed to pass the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Budgeting, but to date that has yet to happen.

It includes strengthening protection systems, treatment of women and children who are victims of violence and violent men, recommended legislative changes and campaigns to raise awareness.

"It is absurd that in just a few days two women are murdered while the Knesset is holding an emergency discussion on how to save women's shelters before a budget collapse," said MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), the chairwoman of the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

"Two months ago, after three other murders took place in less than a week, I said in an emergency meeting I convened that the welfare and public security ministers should declare a state of emergency," she said.

MK Toma-Suleiman added, "In the past week, we have witnessed more shocking murders. Apparently, women's lives are forfeit in this country. Instead of these murders leading to the formulation of emergency plans—they can't get the system out of its apathy. I call for an emergency meeting of the ministerial committee for the treatment and prevention of violence against women and for the immediate adoption of our plan, which was formulated and budgeted seven months ago."

The MK said she believes one authority should be established to coordinate the struggle against domestic violence, adding, "It is time to have a single authority to manage the entire struggle against domestic violence. The bill I proposed to establish such an authority will coordinate all the resources and maximize all efforts, enable maximum cooperation between the ministries and ensure there is one body in the country whose primary responsibility and interest is exactly this."

The plan was supposed to pass the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Budgeting, but to date that has yet to happen.

It includes strengthening protection systems, treatment of women and children who are victims of violence and violent men, recommended legislative changes and campaigns to raise awareness.

"It is absurd that in just a few days two women are murdered while the Knesset is holding an emergency discussion on how to save women's shelters before a budget collapse," said MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), the chairwoman of the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

"Two months ago, after three other murders took place in less than a week, I said in an emergency meeting I convened that the welfare and public security ministers should declare a state of emergency," she said.

MK Toma-Suleiman added, "In the past week, we have witnessed more shocking murders. Apparently, women's lives are forfeit in this country. Instead of these murders leading to the formulation of emergency plans—they can't get the system out of its apathy. I call for an emergency meeting of the ministerial committee for the treatment and prevention of violence against women and for the immediate adoption of our plan, which was formulated and budgeted seven months ago."

The MK said she believes one authority should be established to coordinate the struggle against domestic violence, adding, "It is time to have a single authority to manage the entire struggle against domestic violence. The bill I proposed to establish such an authority will coordinate all the resources and maximize all efforts, enable maximum cooperation between the ministries and ensure there is one body in the country whose primary responsibility and interest is exactly this."

Rivka Neuman, the director of the Division for the Advancement of Women at WIZO, believes the plan to combat domestic violence must be implemented immediately and pointed to a number of steps she says should be implemented.

"There is a need for a prevention program for young people in the courtship period, which is currently non-operational; treatment among men and a special hotline for men who are stuck in the cycle of violence is under-budgeted; care for children growing up under violent parents is under-budgeted; more shelters and treatment centers for women and men are under-budgeted; and ankle monitors, which have proven to be an absolute life saving tool that was never even implemented."

"Murder and violence against women are not a decree of fate," added Neuman. "Nearly three years have passed since the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee, which ended its mandate a year ago and submitted its conclusions, including a NIS 350 million budget for a five-year comprehensive intervention program.

"Spousal homicide is not inevitable. It is possible to intervene at every stage in the couple's life, from childhood to moments before the murder. I call on the directors-general of the Ministry of Welfare and Public Security—pick up the gauntlet; you have the ability to prevent the next murder."

The Welfare Ministry said in response, "The plan was presented to the inter-ministerial committee at the beginning of January 2017. It should be noted the issue is complex and requires the overall responsibility of a number of elements, and that in the last two months the committee's members have been working on budgeting all the details of the plan.

"Once the plan is approved by the Ministerial Committee on Violence, headed by Minister Gilad Erdan, the government will adopt the plan and budget it. We emphasize that domestic violence prevention is carried out intensively throughout the year by professionals in all relevant ministries."


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