Violent Husband Suspected of Stabbing to Death Wife and Mother of Their 5 Children

Police searching for Rabia Abahreh, 40, following murder of wife Wafa, 37, on the street in Galilee Arab town of Arabeh

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The scene of the crime in Arabeh, November 16, 2020.
The scene of the crime in Arabeh, November 16, 2020.Credit: Gil Eliahu

A mother of five who had long been the victim of violence at the hands of her husband was stabbed to death in the Galilee on Monday, and police say her husband, who is at large, is the suspect.

Wafaa Abahreh, 37, was killed on the street in the Arab town of Arabeh. Police are looking for her husband, Rabia Abahreh, 40, who was imprisoned in the past for domestic violence. Yet the couple’s five children had been in the husband’s custody.

A well-informed city resident said the suspect is a very violent man and a religious fanatic, who once attacked an Arabeh resident because he thought he was selling beer. Abahreh didn’t let his wife leave the house when they were married. Acquaintances said he was violent and she spent a year in a battered women’s shelter. He was said to have threatened for a long time to harm Wafa and her family. She suspected that her ex-husband or someone he sent was behind an attempt to shoot her last year.

The husband was arrested about a month ago on suspicion of attacking a female relative. Police asked the Acre Magistrate’s Court to release him, subject to a restraining order against his approaching his wife or the family home for 45 days. However, the judge agreed to issue a restraining order for only five days. The suspect maintained the accusation against him was false.

Arabeh Mayor Omar Wakid Nasser said the stabbing took place after a custody hearing in a municipal court. A family acquaintance said that until now the children were in the suspect’s custody. The family is known to the city welfare services and the police.

Initially, police and rescue services believed Wafa was injured in a traffic accident on Monday, but it turned out that the attacker rammed her with his car and then stabbed her. She was rushed to a Tiberias hospital in critical condition, with numerous stab wounds in her back and chest, and died there.

The chairwoman of the local branch of the Na'amat women’s organization said this was the second such murder in the city in a year. “In an earlier incident a man murdered his pregnant wife, and four children remained orphans,” she said. “It’s not only the murder of a wife, it’s the murder of a family and the murder of society. We have to train investigators who could prevent the next murder. The handwriting was on the wall and there weren’t sufficient protective measures. The subject should also be on the government’s agenda.”

The Social Affairs Ministry says the pandemic has driven up reports of domestic violence to 627 in September, up from 235 in September 2019.

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