Report: 22 Women Murdered in Israel So Far This Year, Up Nearly 30 Percent

According to estimates by welfare groups, in Israel there are about 200,000 battered women, and about half a million children who witness violence

A murder scene in Jaffa, after two sisters were killed by their brother, on May 17, 2018.
Tomer Appelbaum

Twenty-two women have been murdered in Israel so far this year, compared to 17 in all of 2017. In the past decade, 192 women have been murdered in this country. These figures emerge from WIZO’s annual report on domestic violence, published ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which falls on November 25.

The statistics show that every day, an average of 70 criminal files are opened due to domestic violence, and in the past year more than 13,000 women who complained of being violently assaulted were handled by the various authorities. According to estimates by welfare groups, in Israel there are about 200,000 battered women, and about half a million children who witness violence. In other words, about 1 million women, men and children populate the cycle of violence.

To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

WIZO Israel chairperson Gila Oshrat said: “The figures must serve as a wake-up call for the Israeli government to take care of thousands of families living in the shadow of violence, and mainly for a change in the approach to the treatment of men. The time has come to see them as a target for change and as part of the solution, and not only as part of the problem.

“The solution has been placed before the government for over two years: the National Strategy to Combat Violence Against Women, which was approved in 2017 but has yet to be budgeted. We call on the government to implement the plan and to change the face of the treatment of domestic violence,” said Oshrat.

In 2017, 62,466 files were opened by the police for complaints of violence, of them 24,424 complaints by women. Of these, 4,163 ended in indictments – 17 percent of all the files .Another 714 files were opened for complaints of violation of restraining orders, with 283 of them (39 percent) ended up in indictments.

In 30 local authorities there is a special program called “Social Worker Police,” in which social workers, in cooperation with the Israel Police, recruit women and men for treatment after a criminal complaint is filed. In 2016 social workers treated about 5,800 men and women based on such complaints, and 2,778 of them continued treatment in centers for the prevention of domestic violence.

In the past year 564 women and 945 children stayed in 14 shelters for battered women and their children, which operate nationwide. This number has remained fairly constant over the years. Only one of the 14 shelters is capable of taking in two families with adolescents at any given time.

Only 6 percent of all the women who stayed in the shelters were transferred to rehabilitation programs in 12 halfway homes for battered women and their children who are in need of protection, which are funded by the Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry, along with 57 children.

In 2017, there were 113 centers for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence, 37 of them designated for Arabs and four for the ultra-Orthodox community. There were 8,746 families and 10,337 individuals treated in the centers, with about 66 percent women, 25 percent men and the rest children.

Less than 0.5% of the estimated 500,000 children exposed to violence are getting therapeutic treatment.