National Security Ministry ends funding for security program for domestic abuse victims – report

File: Women take part in a rally against domestic violence in Tel Aviv on December 12, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)
File: Women take part in a rally against domestic violence in Tel Aviv on December 12, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)

The National Security Ministry has ended a partnership with the Michal Sela Forum that affords protections to domestic abuse victims without them needing to enter a shelter, reports investigative journalism organization Shomrim.

The Michal Sela Forum was founded by Lili Ben Ami after her sister Michal Sela was brutally murdered by her partner in 2019.

The “Michal Patrol” provides women with a number of security measures, and can also give trained guard dogs to women at risk, allowing them to stay in their homes.

Since the program was launched about a year and a half ago, some 270 women have entered the program, which offers a rare alternative to moving into a shelter.

Ben Ami tells Calcalist: “I am amazed to find out through the media that there is no intention to renew the agreement, especially during days of war when the demand for protection for women who are at risk of murder has increased by 20%.”

The National Security Ministry says in a statement to Shomrim that the program had become too expensive. Shomrim notes that the amount of money provided by the ministry to the forum is relatively negligible in terms of the government’s budget — somewhere between NIS 500,000-1,000,000 (approximately $138,000-276,000) per year so far.

“The National Security Ministry’s engagement with the Michal Sela Forum, as part of joint ventures, has led to the promotion of two important projects in the protection of women,” the ministry says. “The arrangement, which was defined as a pilot, has long since ended and it was decided not to extend it due to a high cost proposal that was forwarded to the ministry by the association, with ancillary costs that were not there in the past. The ministry therefore intends to examine other alternatives to promote important projects.”

The Michal Sela Forum has made statements against far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s policy of expediting the application process for gun licenses, warning against the potential risks that are posed by the influx of new gun owners.

Women’s groups also sparred with Ben Gvir when the coalition torpedoed a bill that would have mandated an electronic monitoring system to enforce restraining orders issued against domestic abusers. Ben Gvir promised to submit a more “balanced” version that addressed false accusations against men, and said that his aims were achieved in the version of the bill that eventually passed.

Twenty-two women were murdered in Israel in 2023, 19 of whom knew their killer, according to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, a Hebrew University monitor group.

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