Israeli Ministers Imply Fewer Women Would Be Murdered if Not for Netanyahu Probes

'It's not only a question of funding, but of priorities,' Communications Minister David Amsalem says after a woman was allegedly murdered by her husband in Jerusalem

Communications Minister David Amsalem enters a government meeting, Jerusalem, August, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Police would be more capable of dealing with violence against women if they were not making the criminal investigations against the prime minister their top priority, Communications Minister David Amsalem of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party said Sunday in the wake of the alleged murder of a woman by her husband in Jerusalem on Thursday.

"I think the Israel Police need to act vigorously," Amsalem told Channel 12 on Sunday. "It's not only a matter of funding. It's a question of priorities. The police need to decide if their top priority is to investigate the prime minister's cigars or these matters [violence against women]."

>> Read more: 3 cases, 4 days and dozens of lawyers: Netanyahu's pre-indictment hearing begins ■ This is how Netanyahu's attorneys will try to save him from trial 

"The police budget is one of the most important in the State of Israel. We need to understand that ultimately most of it goes to salaries. It is the police chief and the police commanders who decide what the priorities are, not the government," Amsalem added.

Later on Sunday, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, also of Netanyahu’s Likud party, told 90FM radio that “the vast resources put into [investigating Netanyahu’s cases] come at the expense on many, many things... be it domestic violence or theft.”

Michal Sela, 32, was stabbed to death in her Jerusalem apartment, and police suspect her husband, who was found in serious condition, attacked her and then attempted suicide.

Michal Sela

Sela's body was found at the couple's apartment in the Motza neighborhood in west Jerusalem after her husband took their eight-month-old baby to the neighbors next door, where he collapsed.

According to the neighbor, the suspect brought the couple's eight-month-old daughter to her, telling her that he and his wife had attempted suicide and then collapsed. He regained consciousness on Sunday at Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem and is expected to be questioned on Sunday.

Amsalem's interview on Channel 12 was preceded by one with Lili Ben-Ami, Sela's sister. 

Netanyahu's pre-indictment hearing has entered its third day on Sunday, and is expected to focus on Cases 1000 and 2000 – gifts in exchange for political favors, and legislation in exchange for favorable coverage, respectively.

On Wednesday and Thursday Netanyahu's attorneys presented their arguments regarding Case 4000 – which deals with a supposed quid-pro-quo with media mogul Shaul Elovitch.