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Hundreds rally in Tel Aviv to protest violence against women

Citing at least 20 murders this year alone, demonstrators demand government take action to halt domestic abuse

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

Hundreds attend a rally protesting violence against women, in Tel Aviv on November 25, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
Hundreds attend a rally protesting violence against women, in Tel Aviv on November 25, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Hundreds of demonstrators decried violence against women and sexism at a Tel Aviv rally on Sunday evening, in an event marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The demonstrators, including MKs Merav Michaeli, Tamar Zandberg, and Tzipi Livni, denounced misogyny and called for government action to halt the murder and abuse of women in Israel.

The protesters — mostly young women and men, many representing youth groups —  carried signs that read, “I believe you,” and “You are not alone,” and hoisted placards that featured telephone numbers for crisis call centers. The event was titled, “Putting an end to this.”

They also chanted slogans — many of which criticized the government for inaction in tackling violence against women — including “rape culture starts in the hallways of government” and “20 women every year, where is the government?” referring to the number of women murdered in Israel this year.

At least 20 women have been murdered by their relatives or partners this year, organizers said, including a 40-year-old Bedouin women killed in southern Israel last week in what may have been an “honor killing,” and Angoach Malkmu Wasa, 36, a mother of three killed by her husband in Netanya last month.

The protesters massed in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and marched through the center of the city to the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, where members of politicians, organizers,and victims of assault addressed the crowd.

The march coincided with international protests held each year on November 25, declared by the UN General Assembly as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The event was sponsored by the Tel Aviv municipality and leading Israeli feminist organizations and help centers.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited a women’s shelter in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu said he and Sara were “unsettled” by their visit and told ministers he surprised to learn that “almost nothing” was done to domestic abusers. Netanyahu said the uptick in violence against women in Israel in recent years was “a criminal phenomenon” and called for stricter enforcement. He announced he would chair a new ministerial committee dedicated to combating domestic violence.

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