Missing Israeli woman found dead after 4 days
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Missing Israeli woman found dead after 4 days

Husband of Susan Watad, 39, arrested; women’s rights group links case to government inaction on domestic violence

Susan Watad. (Courtesy)
Susan Watad. (Courtesy)

An Arab Israeli woman was found dead on Saturday evening after she had been missing for four days, and her husband was arrested by police on suspicion of involvement in her death.

Susan Watad, 39, from the northern Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya, went missing on Tuesday in what police said was a suspected murder case.

Her husband was detained during the investigation, before her body was found outside the nearby Jewish community of Harish, and was remanded until Monday. He has remained silent throughout his questioning.

One of the reasons for his arrest was the fact that he gave police conflicting versions of the last time he had seen his wife. On one occasion he said she had left the house to walk to a health clinic, and later he said he had driven her to the clinic.

Family members told Hebrew-language media that Watad had been the provider for the family — she has a 16-year-old daughter — while her husband was unemployed. “We are sure someone hurt her,” they said before the body was found.

Activists protest against violence against women, near the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, December 16, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israel Women’s Network linked the case to a wider trend of Israeli women — including in the Arab community — being murdered by spouses and other men they knew.

“Susan Watad was murdered this week because a man close to her decided to viciously end her life,” the women’s rights NGO said in a statement. “The murder of women isn’t a force of nature. It is affected by policy and priorities.”

In November, the separate killings of two teenage girls, allegedly by men they knew, led to a public outcry over government inaction on violence against women. On December 4, thousands of women across the country went on strike, with marches and protest events held throughout the day and the following week.

“A week and a half before the elections, it is time for our security — 51 percent of the public — to also be on the agenda,” the Women’s Network said. “Parties that don’t commit to battling violence against women are unworthy of our vote.”

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