A mother of seven was shot to death overnight Saturday outside her home in the Negev Bedouin encampment of Abu Sulb.
Israel Police have opened an investigation but have yet to arrest a suspect in the murder of Nura Abu Sulb, 36. Her husband, from whom she was separated, is serving a prison term following a conviction last August for aggravated assault and battery against her. It was his second conviction for violence against his wife.
Police said they are looking into various leads including disapproval of Nura Abu Sulb’s lifestyle by some of the men in the community.
Social activist women were planning to hold a demonstration outside the municipal police station to protest the failure of law enforcers to protect women’s lives.
The shooting took place around one o’clock in the morning on Sunday when Abu Sulb was at the entrance of her home. She had not lived with her husband, Ahmad Abu Sulb for several years. According to 2011 charges, he had hit her with a pipe, threw her to the ground and trod on her head. He also beat his eight-year-old daughter. Nura had a swollen right eye because of the beating. In a plea bargain, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison and a suspended sentence.
Last August he was indicted and convicted again for attacking her twice in her home. Once he entered her room and asked her where she had been and why she was late coming home. Immediately afterward, he turned out the lights and punched her in the face, causing Nura to bleed. He kept hitting her, dragging her by her hair outside and beat her in front of the children, who tried to intervene. Three weeks after that attack, he entered her home again, opened her closet and threw all her clothes outside. When Nura tried to ask him what he was doing, he slapped her, shoved her and bit her.
On Sunday night, several police officers at the scene of the crime said they have a number of leads indicating that men in the community disapproved of Abu Sulb’s lifestyle, but no arrests have been made.
“Nura’s cruel murder was perpetrated because she is a woman and constitutes another stain on the negligent behavior of the authorities and another failure of theirs to protect women’s lives,” a public letter by women social activists declared. “We demand the local Arab leadership in the Negev and national leadership condemn clearly and unequivocally the despicable act of murder and denounce the murderers and their twisted worldview.”
Attorney Ainsaf Abu Sharb, a prominent social activist and one of the organizers of a demonstration planned in the Negev, told Haaretz, “Our protest is a reaction to the murder and is meant to break the silence. In the shadow of the leadership, both in the Negev and nationally, which hasn’t said a word against this murder, it is our duty as activists to put out a strong call against this murder. We want to put discussing these gender-based murders on the agenda.” She added, “We don’t want to cooperate with the silence but to send a message to women who are in such situations that we will do everything possible to prevent the next murder.”
Abu Sharb called on the police to work more closely with social services to prevent the murder of women by violent partners.
MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) commented: “The media continues to attack this woman by referring to the ‘suspicion of honor killing’ and refuses to internalize what we have said for years – women are murdered because they are women, by those who think they can dictate their way of life and choices. There is no honor in murder, and it’s impossible to connect honor to a violent act of taking life. Using such concepts, alongside barely representing the victims who are a world by themselves relative to the murderers, only preserves the patriarchal structure.”
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