Ministers to reconsider bill to monitor domestic abusers following latest murder

Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss bill initiated by previous coalition to electronically track offenders and prevent them from coming near victims

Illustrative: An ankle bracelet (Video screenshot WGN News; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Illustrative: An ankle bracelet (Video screenshot WGN News; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Walking back a recent decision, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss on Sunday a bill initiated by the previous coalition to introduce electronic tracking of domestic violence offenders.

Ministers will review former justice minister Gideon Sa’ar’s bill a week after deciding to delay any further discussions by six months. That bill had already passed its first reading in the previous Knesset.

Under the original proposed legislation, GPS technology would be used to ensure that an offender does not come within a distance specified by a restraining order.

The law proposed by Sa’ar — now an opposition member — is regarded by professionals as life-saving, the Haaretz news site reported Sunday.

The change of course comes shortly after the latest domestic murder in the country. On Friday police arrested a Haifa resident on suspicion of murdering his wife, a mother of three. Darya Leitel, 31, had previously complained of threats from her husband.

She was the fifth female homicide victim in Israel since the start of the year.

Darya Leitel, allegedly murdered by her husband on March 17, 2023 (Courtesy)

It was not clear whether the latest murder had brought about the government’s decision to reconsider the bill.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who filled in at the committee this week for Justice Minister Yariv Levin after the latter’s father died, said at the time that the purpose of the delay was to introduce a new, government-backed bill that would seek to protect women while also including an increased emphasis on defending men from false accusations.

MK Gideon Sa’ar attends a faction meeting of the National Unity Party at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A report released in November by the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry showed that between January and October of 2022, the ministry received 5,712 complaints of domestic violence — a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year.

Among the reports, 3,432 were about violence directed against women in a relationship, 184 reports were made by men suffering from abuse in a relationship, and 1,266 were about violence directed at children by a family member.

Data also showed that more people were seeking help from welfare centers that support victims of domestic violence. Throughout 2021, some 21,491 people sought help, compared to about 19,337 people in 2020 — an 11% increase.

According to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, 24 women last year were “murdered because they were women,” a 50% rise over the 16 such murders recorded in 2021. Half of those murders were in the Arab community, which makes up just 21% of the population.

While data is scarce on false domestic violence accusations, researchers around the world agree that the number of actual assaults far outweighs the number of false claims. Additionally, there is the issue of unreported assaults, which are missing from official statistics.

Michael Bachner contributed to this report.

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