Red Tape Delays Action to Stop Domestic Violence

In four months since panel got report, three women murdered allegedly by husbands or partners.

A victim of domestic violence (illustrative photo).
Pavel Wolberg

The government is dragging its feet on advancing a national program to drive down domestic violence. The ministerial committee for domestic violence has repeatedly put off authorizing the program, which it received four months ago. During these months three women were murdered allegedly by their husbands or partners.

Some 200,000 battered women live in Israel today. There used to be over 40 more of them, but they were murdered by their spouses since an inter-ministerial committee to deal with domestic violence was set up in November 2014.

This committee submitted most of its recommendations to the ministers already a year and a half ago. The ministerial committee for domestic violence, headed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, was supposed to meet to discuss the recommendations this week, but the meeting was postponed for undisclosed reasons. So while the inter-ministerial committee completed its work, which the cabinet long ago defined as “urgent,” the ministers are still taking their time.

Over the past four months, several women and children fell victim to domestic violence. Dor Cresanti, 23, her children and the neighbor’s son were murdered allegedly by her husband; Wijdan Abu Hamid, 17, was stabbed to death by a youth whose advances she rebuffed; and Tehilla Nagar, 31, was murdered allegedly by Raad Roshrosh, after she complained to the police of his violent behavior toward her.

The inter-ministerial committee drafted a national program intended to prevent wife-battering, murder and other kinds of domestic violence. It calls for keeping violent men away from their families or partners, including by making them wear electronic ankle bracelets. The program’s implementation might have kept Raad Roshrosh away from Tehilla Nagar after she filed a complaint against him.

The plan also calls for posting a social worker in every police station, rehabilitation for violent men and the setting up of shelters for pregnant teenagers.

MK Aida Touma-Suliman (Joint List), head of the Committee on the Status of Women, said, “The conclusions and recommendations were submitted to the ministerial committee four months ago but the government is delaying its implementation. The delays in budgeting the implementing of such an important program only proves the urgent need for [an apolitical] state authority to fight domestic violence.”

Such an authority would focus on this task, without acting to fulfill the interests of some ministry or other that would be in charge of it, she said.

The committee’s conclusions were submitted in November 2015. But a disagreement between the defense and social affairs ministries, each of which wanted to head the program’s implementation team, delayed the program’s execution.

Finally the former director general of the Social Affairs Ministry, the late Eliezer Yablon, was appointed head of the team, which was instructed to submit its conclusions to the cabinet by August 2016. The conclusions were submitted in November that year and the ministers have not moved on the matter since then.

Sources familiar with the matter told Haaretz that in recent months the ministers have estimated the program’s cost at 350-500 million shekels ($96.4-137.7 million).

The Finance Ministry would not respond to Haaretz’ query as to how much money it would allocate for the program.