A Tel Aviv-area man was suspected of murdering his girlfriend and then stabbing his mother when she tried to call the police Saturday, sparking renewed calls for the government to tackle domestic violence amid a spate of killings.
The man, 21, was arrested near the apartment where the incident took place in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, police said. He was not named.
The victim was later identified as Maya Vishnyak, 22.
An investigation is ongoing and no motive has been publicly announced.
According to reports, the suspect and his girlfriend got in an argument that escalated, during which he choked her to death. When his mother came in, he asked her to see what he had done, and when she attempted to call the police, he stabbed her.
The mother, 50, was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries and Vishnyak was declared dead at the scene, the Magen David Adom ambulance service said.
Police commander Ronen Shamri said authorities were not yet ready to announce a motive for the killing.
“All avenues are being investigated. We’ve taken testimonies and know generally what preceded the murder,” he said.
Police and social service organizations have reported a major uptick in domestic violence complaints since the start of the coronavirus crisis, which has been blamed for exacerbating tensions as people were confined together by lockdown measures.
Responding to the killing, women’s rights activists predicted that violence could grow even as restrictions are eased and urged the government to fund a plan drawn up to battle domestic violence that was approved in 2017.
“Even if every murder of a woman is not a direct result of the coronavirus, there is no doubt that the sharp economic and social crises have ratcheted up violence in families who suffer from both. We could be at just the start of a wave [of violence] that will actually get worse as we exit the lockdown,” said Hagit Peer, head of women’s rights organization Na’amat.
Ora Korazim, head of the Women’s International Zionist Organization in Israel, said six women had been killed during the coronavirus crisis.
“Unfortunately, instead of working to immediately enact the national plan to deal with violence against women, the government is continuing to worry about handing out ministerial portfolios,” she said.
There have been several acts of serious 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, the suspect Alaza Mandparo slashed Mastwell Mandparo to death after she refused to fix 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.
Earlier 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 explained to police that she had planned to leave him.
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.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.