ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Mother and two baby sons found stabbed to death in Taibe

Husband arrested on suspicion of killing Bara’ah Jaber Masarwa, 26, and two sons, Amir, 2, Adam, 6 months, in grisly overnight slaying, amid ongoing rash of deadly violence

Bara'ah Jaber Masarwa (right) and her sons Amir and Adam, murdered overnight in Taibe on May 1, 2023. (Courtesy)
Bara'ah Jaber Masarwa (right) and her sons Amir and Adam, murdered overnight in Taibe on May 1, 2023. (Courtesy)

A young woman and her two small sons, including an infant, were found stabbed to death in their central Israel home early Monday, in what was suspected to be among the most grisly domestic slayings the nation has seen in years.

The woman’s husband, aged around 30, was arrested a short time later on suspicion of killing the three, police said.

The three were found dead just after 2:30 a.m. by paramedics who arrived at a home in Taibe, an Arab city east of Netanya.

There they found the lifeless bodies of Bara’ah Jaber Masarwa, 26, and her two sons, Amir, 2, and Adam, just 6 months old. Her husband, who was not named, is suspected of killing the two children as they slept in bed and attacking his wife while she was in the kitchen.

Paramedic Mahmoud Araki said emergency responders attempted to save the three but were unable to revive them. They were declared dead at the scene.

“When we got there we saw the most disturbing scene,” Araki said in a statement to the press. “We found a woman, toddler and infant unconscious, with signs of violence on their bodies.”

Police at the scene of a suspected triple murder at an apartment in Taibe on May 1, 2023. (Courtesy Israel Police)

The commander of the Israel Police’s central district, Avi Biton, held a situation assessment at the scene and tasked a special crime-fighting unit with the sensitive investigation due to the case’s complexity.

Taibe Mayor Shuaa Masarwa Mansour told Ynet on Monday that the family was not known to the city’s welfare authorities, and that there had been “no red lights raised” before the slaying. Mansour said there was no connection between the murder of the family and the slew of recent violent underworld killings in the Arab community.

While domestic violence has long plagued Israel and the Arab community has grappled with a years-long uptick in deadly crime, familicides are fairly rare, though not unheard of.

The deaths marked the 62nd, 63rd and 64th slayings in the Arab community this year, according to a count kept by the Abraham Initiatives, which tracks Arab communal violence. The organization noted that in the same period last year, the number of Arab victims was 27 — less than half.

Last month, lawmakers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition voted down a bill that would impose electronic monitoring on domestic violence suspects with a restraining order, saying they sought language that was fairer toward predominantly male abusers.

The bill’s proponents cited experts who claimed the measure would save women’s lives.

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

Labor chief Merav Michaeli said the “horrendous” murder left her “speechless… how many bodies need to be counted before this government will wake up??”

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman, chair of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, said there “are no words to describe the horror, the anger and the pain.” Touma Sliman added that “now is the time to make our cry heard, we cannot go back to routine.”

At least 11 women have been killed this year in suspected femicides, according to a tally by the Haaretz daily. The Israel Observatory on Femicide says 24 women were killed for being women in 2022, up from 16 the year before.

Haaretz reported Sunday that the number of homicides committed in the first four months of this year was more than twice that of January-April 2022 — a sharp jump under National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who came into office on a platform of improving citizens’ personal security.

Many of the killings have come amid a spurt of violence over the last several days. Over the weekend, an Umm al-Fahm teen was gunned down on a highway and a woman was hospitalized in serious condition after being stabbed in her home, in a suspected domestic violence incident. On Friday, a Holon man died from stab wounds.

On Wednesday and early Thursday, three men were shot to death in separate incidents in Holon, Elad and Kafr Yasif, and on Thursday morning a woman was found dead in her home in the southern Bedouin village of Abu Karinat with signs of abuse on her body.

Last week, Ben Gvir called an emergency meeting of police brass to address the spike of killings, suggesting a policy of holding suspects without charge as a means to combat violent crime. Ben Gvir opposed the bill for electronic monitoring of domestic violence suspects, claiming that it could be too easily used to lob “false accusations against men.”

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