Commenting on the killing of a woman over the weekend, Communications Minister David Amsalem said on Sunday that the police would have more time to deal with violence against women if they didn’t prioritize criminal investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I think the Israeli police should redouble its efforts. It’s not just a question of budgets, it’s a question of priorities,” Amsalem said in an interview with Channel 12.
“The police have to decide whether their top priority is to investigate the prime minister’s cigars or these issues,” Amsalem said, referring to the case of 32-year-old Michal Sela whose husband has been remanded on suspicion of her murder after she was found with stab wounds in her Jerusalem home early on Friday morning.
Sela’s husband claimed to neighbors that the couple had a suicide pact; however according to Hebrew-language media reports, police believe he killed Sela before attempting to take his own life.
The couple’s eight-month-old baby was not harmed in the attack.
Police said there was no record of prior domestic violence, and friends and family expressed profound shock at the incident.
If Michal Sela’s husband is formally charged with her murder, her death will bring to 12 the number of women killed in Israel in 2019 by people known to them, according to the Walla news site.
Last year, 25 women in Israel were murdered in domestic violence-related incidents, the highest number in years, prompting a string of protests and urgent calls for authorities to take action against the increasing incidence of violence against women in Israel.
Many of those women filed police complaints prior to their deaths out of concern for their safety.
Attorneys for Netanyahu arrived Sunday at the Justice Ministry’s headquarters in Jerusalem for a third day of pre-indictment hearings in the prime minister’s three corruption investigations.
In all three cases Netanyahu is suspected of fraud and breach of trust and also of bribery in one of the cases.
Amsalem, in mentioning “the prime minister’s cigars,” was referring to one of the cases, Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of receiving gifts such as luxury champagne, cigars and jewelry valued at some NIS 700,000 ($201,000) from billionaire benefactors Arnon Milchan and James Packer, and allegedly reciprocating in Milchan’s case with various forms of assistance.
Netanyahu denies all the allegations and claims they constitute a witch hunt by his political opposition, media, police and state prosecutors to remove him from office.