Police arrested three suspects in the death of an Arab-Israeli teenager, found Tuesday with multiple stab wounds in the central Israeli city of Ramle, a spokesperson for the force said.
Seventeen-year-old Henriette Kara was found dead by Magen David Adom paramedics who were called to the scene by relatives.
Arriving at the home on Kehilat Detroit Street in Ramle’s Old City, first responders found Kara “unconscious, with no pulse and not breathing and with signs of violence on her upper body,” Yosef Ismail, a MDA paramedic said. “We pronounced her death at the scene.”
Police confirmed the arrests early Tuesday evening but declined to give information on the suspects in accordance with a gag order issued by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court.
“We are investigating all possible directions, including murder,” police spokesperson Luba Samri told the Times of Israel. Kara had filed a domestic violence complaint against her mother several weeks ago, according to Hebrew media sources.
Kara, who was said to have graduated high school on Monday, was a relative of incoming Supreme Court judge George Kara, the reports said. He apparently learned of Henriette’s death during a special swearing-in ceremony at President Reuven Rivlin’s residence Tuesday afternoon.
Joint (Arab) List lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman, who heads the parliamentary committee on the status of women and gender equality, said that the murder was another sign of the “systemic failure of law enforcement and welfare authorities in dealing with these cases of murder.”
Kara’s death was the latest in a string of murders of Israeli-Arab women, many of which were believed to have been carried out by relatives. According to Touma-Sliman, over 15 women have been killed in the Ramle-Lod area in the past year, but only three men have been charged.
A police spokesperson told The Times of Israel that “every day there are murders” in the Arab-Israeli community but there was not enough public interest, they claimed, to publicize each one.
The killings have some similarities to the so-called “honor killings” elsewhere in the Muslim world, where women can be murdered by relatives for tarnishing the family name through perceived sexual indiscretions. But activists in Israel reject such comparisons, saying the vast majority of the killings are the result of rampant spousal abuse that has been ignored by police in a landscape rife with drugs, crime and poverty.
Though just one-fifth of the population, Arabs represent half of the women murdered in Israel each year.
Half of those women are killed in Arab neighborhoods of Ramle and Lod, cities just outside of Tel Aviv where several large clans involved in organized crime have made weapons easily accessible and allowed violence, particularly toward women, to go unchecked for years.