Police on Tuesday arrested a fifth suspect in the killing of a Galilee teenage girl whose death fueled a wave of women’s protests throughout the country.
The suspect, a 17-year-old male from Jish, the Galilee town of the victim, Yara Ayoub, will be brought before the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for an extension of his remand.
Sixteen-year-old Ayoub’s killing last week shocked the quiet village of some 3,000, leading local schools and businesses to close in protest. Thousands accompanied her casket through the streets to the village’s Muslim cemetery.
Police have already arrested four other people: a 50-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man; the primary suspect in the murder, a 28-year-old man from the village who is believed to be the last person to have seen Ayoub alive before she disappeared; and the 53-year-old father of the primary suspect, who is believed to have aided his son after the crime was committed.
Many of the details of the investigation, including the identities of the suspects, are under a court-ordered gag order for fear that their publication could hinder the investigation.
Ayoub was last seen on November 21 at 5 p.m. when she walked into a bakery in Jish. She disappeared after that, triggering a five-day search in the village and neighboring region until her body was found in an alley next to a business establishment in the village last Monday.
Her death, along with that of 13-year-old Sylvana Tsegai in Tel Aviv — allegedly carried out by her mother’s former partner — led to a public outcry over government inaction on violence targeting women.
On Tuesday thousands of women across the country went on strike, with marches and protest events held throughout the day.
Organizers called the strike last week in the wake of the murders of the two teen girls, whose deaths brought the number of women killed in the last year in domestic violence-related incidents to 24, the highest in years. The strike was initiated by a group called “I’m a Woman, I’m Striking” and a “Red Flag coalition” made up of dozens of women’s groups.
Hundreds of institutions, municipalities, schools, and organizations have allowed their employees to strike, and the government’s civil service commissioner has also made concessions to allow participation in the labor action.
President Reuven Rivlin lent his support to the protest, tweeting photos of his wife, first lady Nechama Rivlin, demonstrating alongside workers from the President’s Residence in the capital.
Demonstrators rallied in nearly every major town and city in the country, with protests in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Acre, Lod, Tira, Ashdod, Bat Yam, Beit Shemesh, Rehovot, Netanya, and Beit Jann, among others.
“We are striking because decision-makers must realize that actions are required, not empty words,” the organizers said in a statement on Monday that called on Israelis to take to the streets the next day “to stand up to negligent indifferent and demand solutions.”
“We demand the transfer of the NIS 250 million budget promised a year and a half ago, for the emergency plan to prevent violence against women,” organizers said, and called for additional educational and rehabilitation programs to combat domestic violence.