The women’s protest will continue Thursday, with its initiators calling on the public to strike at 10 A.M. for 25 minutes – in honor of the 25 women murdered in Israel this year – until the government approves the budget for a plan to fight domestic violence. Demonstrations are planned for Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva and Rishon Letzion.
Dozens of unions, schools, and businesses all over the country have announced they will participate in the protest. “Every day that passes without the budgets passing is another day in which a woman could be murdered,” the protest leaders said in a statement. “This is a state of emergency and we won’t stop until our demands are fulfilled.”
>> After the national protest against femicide, women in Israel can dream | Opinion ■ Arab voices raised as local Israeli authorities join nation-wide women's strike to protest violence ■ Arab feminists in Israel refuse to let the struggle fade
On Wednesday, following the previous day’s death of Iman Ahmed Awad of Acre, whose husband is suspected of having murdered her, there were protests in various locations. About 30 people protested at the government precinct junction in Tel Aviv, where some tried to burn tires. Two women were arrested. Ten protesters disrupted traffic at the western entrance to Jerusalem.
There was also a hearing Wednesday by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on a government bill it is preparing to change the legal status of crimes that cause death. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called last week to increase the punishments for men who batter their wives or girlfriends – saying, “I view violence against women as terror in every way” – the Justice Ministry told the MKs that it opposes a compulsory life sentence for men who kill their partners.
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During the hearing there was a fierce argument between those MKs who support this change and the Justice Ministry representatives. The ministry, however, believes it would be an error to insert a gender-based criterion into the law, because the law must be equitable. “Most murder victims in the country are men,” noted attorney Tamar Borenstein, representing the ministry. “The question is whether the murder of a woman is more serious than other murders.”
Israeli women unite to battle violence – and a government that doesn't care
Under the government bill, the most serious homicide, which would carry an automatic life sentence, would be murder under aggravated circumstances. This category would include terror killings as well as “family honor” killings, which take place mainly in Arab society.