Woman Murdered in Southern Israel Had Complained About Violence From Brother, Ex-husband

Police were aware of previous instances of domestic violence against Hanin al-Abeid, shot dead in her Rahat home

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The scene of the shooting, September 10, 2020.
The scene of the shooting, September 10, 2020.Credit: Almog Ben Zikri

A 27-year-old woman, Hanin al-Abeid, was shot and killed in her home Thursday in the Bedouin city of Rahat in the Negev. According to police, al-Abeid had been shot in the head.

No suspects have been arrestedso far, and it is unclear who committed the murder.

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Police were aware that al-Abeid’s brother and ex-husband had previously committed acts of domestic violence against her. A decade ago, her brother was sentenced to seven months in prison for assaulting her and threatening her life, after she refused to testify against him in court.

Hanin al-Abeid, who was shot and murdered on Thursday Credit: Courtesy of the family

Al-Abeid lived in Lod until 2018, moving to Be’er Sheva because of the violence against her. She fled her family and left with her partner for Rahat, where a few of her relatives live, and the two rented a home there.

A Magen David Adom paramedic that arrived on the scene said, "When we arrived at the scene, we saw an unconscious woman with a severe wound. We administered medical treatment and attempted resuscitation for an extended period of time, but her condition was critical and we were forced to declare her death."

The Israel Police said in a statement, "Near 7:00 P.M. Israel Police received a report about an incident of gunfire at a home in Rahat and that a woman was wounded." The police added that an probe had been opened and the circumstances are under investigation.

Her father, Ibrahim, told Haaretz that “She was a good girl, was problematic, but then returned to religion. She had a few problems in her head, did stupid things here and there, didn’t live at home. She moved to Rahat about half a year ago, was with her sister and did not have a partner. She was married and divorced, but I don’t think that was the reason because eight years have passed since then. It could be there was a history of domestic violence, I don’t know anything about that.”

When al-Abeid was 16, she married a 44-year-old man. He attacked her a number of times, and she ran away to a shelter for young women and filed a police complaint against him. In 2009, when he was in prison and she was in the shelter, her brother threatened her and as a result she left the shelter. The police said he chased after her in her neighborhood with a knife, and shouted at her: “Stop, you whore.” He attacked her, punched her and pulled her hair, because he suspected that she was involved in a relationship outside of her marriage. Evidence submitted in court showed that her uncle searched for her too, at her father’s behest.

After she ran away from Lod, she filed a complaint with the police about her brother. In 2011, he was indicted for assault and making threats. Prosecutors said at the time that her life was in enormous danger. Her brother denied the charges and said the two had no conflict between them. She was summoned to testify against him in court, but refused to do so. The police prosecutor said they were unable to bring her to testify.

As a result, the police reached a plea bargain deal with the brother, and the court sentenced him to seven months in prison and eight months of probation. “It seems that the defendant has adopted a sort of ownership over his sister and does what he pleases, both in threats and in attacks against her,” said the prosecutor. “The defendant needs to understand the message that he does not have the authority to take responsibility for his family.”