A resident of the central Israeli city of Taibe was arrested on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of murdering his wife, after she was found with multiple stab wounds in the stairwell of their apartment building.
According to Hebrew media reports, paramedics rushed to the scene after witnesses called the police. The unnamed victim was said to have been stabbed in her apartment before escaping into the stairwell, where she collapsed. Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. Her husband was taken into custody.
“When we arrived on the scene, we saw a 40-year-old woman unconscious at home with injuries to her body,” Magen David Adom medic Muhammad Natour was quoted saying by the Walla News site.
The killing was only the latest incident in a spate of domestic violence cases that have seen dozens of Israeli women murdered by their partners in recent years.
Thirteen Israeli women were murdered in 2019 by someone known to them. In 2018, 25 women were murdered in such incidents, the highest number in years, prompting a string of protests and calls for authorities to take action against the increasing rates of violence against women. Many of those women had filed police complaints prior to their deaths out of concern for their safety.
Police and social service organizations have reported a major rise in domestic violence complaints since the start of the coronavirus crisis, as many families stayed at home for extended periods of time.
On June 1, thousands of Israelis gathered at a demonstration in Tel Aviv to demand government action to end violence against women. At the time, 11 women had already been murdered since the start of the year. It was the second such protest in less than a month.
Organizers said most of the NIS 250 million ($71 million) approved in 2017 for national programs to prevent domestic violence have not yet been transferred to relevant authorities.
Hagit Pe’er, head of the Na’amat women’s advocacy group, told the demonstration: “We are witness to a dramatic increase in the number of calls to emergency hotlines and in cases of violence. It is not a matter of fate — the next murder can definitely be prevented.”
The rally came as the Welfare and Social Services Ministry published figures that showed a 112 percent increase in the number of complaints about domestic violence it received to its hotline in May compared to April.
Last October, the ministry announced a sharp rise in the number of reported cases of domestic abuse in Israel, stating that the number of women calling its abuse hotline rose by 160 percent between 2014 and 2018.
In May, the Knesset approved the formation of a subcommittee to combat domestic violence against women, which will sit under the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women (Last month, feminist groups expressed outrage after MK Oded Forer, the only man on the committee, was chosen as its new chair).
In June, the top level Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted to back a bill to impose electronic tracking on violent men who have restraining orders against them. The system would alert its carrier and police if the man approaches his spouse or home in contravention of a court order.