The Israel Police have declined a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the daily newspaper Haaretz regarding women who were murdered during the past decade by their intimate partners or ex-partners, responding that the requested information does not fall under the FOI act.
Haaretz requested the names and personal details of the victims, whether they had filed complaints about violence before they were murdered and, if they had, whether the police took steps to protect them. Only the police have information about complaints filed by the women who were ultimately murdered. When the police refuse to reveal the information, civil-society organizations often conduct private investigations regarding the women victims.
Based on information collected by such organizations, and partial police figures received by Haaretz, it is feared that a large percentage of the women who fell victim to murder had previously issued a complaint and requested police protection, but the police apparently failed to protect them.
Official police data sent to the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women indicate that, between January and October 2016, eight women were murdered by their partners. Three of the deceased had, prior to their deaths, complained to the police. The police refused to provide data on the total number of women murdered from 2007 to 2016. However, they did indicate that during this period, 125 women were murdered by their partners. Among the victims was a minor, the remainder were aged 18 and up. Of the 125 women murdered, 74% were married, 14% were divorced and 12% were single. The largest number of murders, 30%, took place in the Central Police District, followed by the Tel Aviv District (16.5%); the Southern and Northern districts, with 15.5% each; the Coastal District (12%) and the Jerusalem District (7%).
According to figures presented to the Knesset committee, 22% of women who go to a shelter leave within a week, in most cases even though they are still under threat.
“A woman has a right to live her life as she chooses. I would like women to receive protection in all cases, and not only if they seek refuge within a shelter, and that the person who is threatening them not being able to walk around free. The police and the welfare authorities must find a solution that will better protect women. Half the women [who ultimately became murder victims] tried to find protection, but the system failed. It’s a systemic failure attesting to criminal negligence,” said the Chairwoman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List).
This Saturday evening, June 17, four demonstrations against the murder of women and the inaction of the authorities to effectively combat this phenomenon will be held:
- In Tel Aviv from 8:00 pm in the square outside of the Habima Theater
- In Jerusalem from 8:30 pm at Paris Square nearby the official residence of the prime minister
- In Haifa from 8:00 pm at 1 Kiryat Sefer Street
- In the Upper Galilee from 8:00 pm at Gomeh Junction
The Communist Party of Israel has called upon members, supporters and the public in general to participate in these protests.