Thousands Protest Violence Against Women in Tel Aviv

Organizers demand implementation of a 2017 government program to fight domestic violence

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הפגנה נגד אלימות כלפי נשים, היום בתל אביב
Protest against domestic violence in Tel Aviv, June 1, 2020. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Demonstrators protested against domestic violence in Tel Aviv Monday, demanding that the government transfer funds for a program to fight domestic violence that was approved back in 2017.

The organizers had intended to organize a rally similar to the Women's March in the United States, but were refused permits by the police due to coronavirus restrictions.  

Hotlines and women's shelters throughout Israel are reporting an uptick in reports of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ten women were murdered in 2020. Welfare authorities know of some 13,000 women who have reported domestic violence, and the actual number of victims is believed to be higher, because many do not report abuse. 

Israeli women protest against violence during pandemic

Murder is the extreme end of a range of phenomena like discrimination, harassment, objectification and the absence of gender education in schools, said the organizers. Demonstrators demanded the government allocate the 250 million shekel budget for a plan to fight domestic violence that was approved by an interministerial committee in July 2017.

Lily Ben-Ami, whose sister Michal Sela was murdered by her husband in October, said that the accused has remained silent through hundreds of hours of police investigation. "Silence, like violence, is a contagious pandemic," she said, listing the many reasons women remain silent in the face of violence.

Dan Alon, an acquaintance of the family of Maya Vishniak, who was murdered by her boyfriend last month, said it was the first time he attended such a protest.

"The incident shook us," he said, "It's time to do something and stop this. The police needs to believe women who complain. The court needs to punish them severely and then keep an eye on them."

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