Rahat man suspected of killing wife, turning gun on self

Police arrest suspect, 35, with moderate injuries in predominantly Bedouin southern town of Rahat; lobby group says 21 women killed in homicides since beginning of year

A pistol retrieved from the scene where a man was suspected of shooting his wife dead and then attempting to take his own life, causing himself moderate injuries in Rahat, September 11, 2023. (Israel Police)
A pistol retrieved from the scene where a man was suspected of shooting his wife dead and then attempting to take his own life, causing himself moderate injuries in Rahat, September 11, 2023. (Israel Police)

A man was suspected of shooting his wife to death and then attempting to kill himself in the predominantly Bedouin southern city of Rahat Monday.

The victim, a woman in her 30s, was found dead by rescuers who were called to the scene.

The killing marked the 21st suspected femicide and 174th murder in the Arab community in Israel this year, advocates said, putting the nation on pace for the bloodiest year in recent memory in both categories.

“Murder follows murder,” said Einat Fischer Lalo, executive director of the Israel Women’s Network rights group, said in a statement reported by the Kan public broadcaster.

The suspect, 35, was taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba with moderate injuries, authorities said.

Israel Police said he would be placed under arrest after receiving treatment.

According to Hebrew media reports, the woman had not lodged any complaints against her husband and he did not have a criminal record.

Fischer Lalo said that since the beginning of the year, 21 women have been murdered in Israel.

“Another woman who will never get out of the cycle of violence,” she said. “About 200,000 women are caught in the cycle of violence every year. Fearing for their lives every day. Lives under terror and uncertainty.”

According to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, 24 women were murdered in suspected domestic violence incidents in 2022, a 50 percent rise over the 16 such murders recorded in 2021.

The Abraham Initiatives coexistence organization, which tracks crime statistics, said the death in Rahat brought to 174 the number of people in the Arab community killed in violent crime since the start of the year, amid a surge in deadly violence, much of it linked to organized crime. The toll is more than double the 77 killed in the community at this point last year.

Many community leaders blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence. They also point to decades of neglect and discrimination by government offices as the root cause of the problem.

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