New Knesset subcommittee to battle the murder of women
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New Knesset subcommittee to battle the murder of women

Panel to ensure budgeting for programs combating domestic violence, oversee reforms; 12 women killed in violent assaults this year

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Demonstrators protest against violence towards women at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, on May 18, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Demonstrators protest against violence towards women at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, on May 18, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The Knesset on Wednesday approved the formation of a subcommittee to combat domestic violence against women, amid a spate of high-profile murder cases in the country.

The committee will sit under the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women, which has yet to be re-established by the new government following March elections. It parent committee is expected to be approved and formed next week.

“Today we have achieved a small victory on the still-long road to overcoming the shocking phenomenon of the murder of women. We will continue to follow up,” said Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg.

The subcommittee will be charged with monitoring lethal violence against women as well as ensuring that funding is provided for programs to reduce incidents, and that reforms are made.

Meretz party MK Tamar Zandberg in the Knesset, January 28, 2020. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Since the beginning of the year, 12 women have been killed in violent assaults in Israel.

Thirteen Israeli women were murdered in 2019 by someone known to them. In 2018, 25 women were murdered in such incidents, the highest number in years, prompting a string of protests and urgent calls for authorities to take action against the increasing incidence of violence against women in Israel. Many of those women filed police complaints prior to their deaths out of concern for their safety.

More than a thousand women demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Monday evening against the way the government and authorities have been handling domestic violence against women. At the demonstration, held in the city’s Habima Square, protesters held up photos of Maya Vishnyak, 22, who was choked to death in the neighboring city of Ramat Gan over the weekend. Her partner was arrested as the suspect in the killing.

A similar, smaller demonstration was held in Zion Square in downtown Jerusalem.

Police and social service organizations have reported a major rise in domestic violence complaints since the start of the coronavirus crisis, which has been blamed for exacerbating tensions as people were confined in close quarters by lockdown measures.

Women’s rights activists have predicted that violence could grow even as restrictions are eased and urged the government to fund a plan to battle domestic violence that was drawn up in 2017.

Demonstrators against violence to women hold up a photo of Maya Vishnyak, who was choked to death in a domestic violence incidence, as they participate in a rally at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, on May 18, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In addition to the killing of Vishnyak, there have been several other acts of serious, sometimes fatal, violence against women by their partners in late April and early May.

On Friday, a Holon man was indicted for murdering his wife in their apartment in late April in front of their children. According to the indictment, Alaza Mandparo slashed Mastwell Mandparo to death after she refused to make him a cup of coffee.

On May 3, a man was arrested after calling police to tell them he had murdered his wife in their Bat Yam apartment. The man was believed to be intoxicated during the call. He had previously served time in prison for assaulting his wife. The couple have two young children.

In April, a man stabbed his girlfriend at an Afula supermarket. He was arrested and confessed to the attack, which left his girlfriend hospitalized with moderate wounds. He told police that she had planned to leave him.

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