Despite growing public outrage over high murder rates of women, and with police investigating four incidents that took place in the last week alone, ministers on Sunday postponed a decision on an initiative to monitor suspected abusive spouses by forcing them to wear electronic tracking tags.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation pushed off a vote on the proposal by MK Aliza Lavi (Yesh Atid) that would allow courts to order the tags placed on a suspect after a complaint of domestic violence has been lodged against them, even without a full trial and conviction. The bill was similarly postponed three weeks ago, but had been expected to pass Sunday having since garnered the support of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
A spokesperson for Lavie told The Times of Israel that the bill had been pulled from the committee’s docket after last-minute opposition from the Finance Ministry, who challenged the cost of the initiative.
Lavie slammed the decision, saying that thousands of women across the country did not have the luxury to wait for the government to decide to take action. “Petty political fights are being fought at the expense of women who are in danger,” she said in a statement. “The next tragedy is only a matter of time.”
The bill was presented to the committee amid growing public outrage over the high murder rate of women by their partners, and with police investigating four such incidents that took place last week alone.
Advocates say that the introduction of tags would allow authorities to more effectively monitor suspects in real time and prevent them from approaching to the women who have made complaints.
“There is no reason that the victim of violence should be the one to lock herself away and cut off her regular life when there are technological solutions that could be helpful,” Lavie said of the bill before the cabinet vote. “This is a dramatic and necessary step toward protecting women who have experienced the hell of violence in the family and find themselves in ongoing danger.”
According to police statistics, 128 women have been killed by their spouses in Israel since 2011. A 2016 study conducted by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found some 40 percent of Israeli women have suffered physical, psychological or verbal violence from their partners.
On Saturday night, prompted by four suspected murders of women in the past week, some 200 people protested what they described as a weak police response to the high rates of violence. Many held photos of 17-year-old Henriette Kara, found dead on Tuesday in the central city of Ramle with multiple stab wounds to her body. Police suspect family members were involved in her death.
Kara’s death was the latest in a string of murders of Arab Israeli women, many of which were believed to have been carried out by relatives.
According to activists, more than half of the women murdered in domestic violence-related killings are Arab women, despite the fact that Arabs make up less than 20% of the overall population. Last year alone, 16 Israeli Arab women were murdered.