More than 200 Arab citizens demonstrated at the city of Arrabe in northern Israel on Tuesday, November 17, following the murder of a 37-year-old woman there, Wafa Abirah, by her ex-husband. Among the protestors: Communist Party of Israel (CPI) Secretary General Adel Amer, and leading activists of the CPI and Hadash. At a request of Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), the Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality of the Knesset will launch a subcommittee to investigate the failure of police and local authorities to prevent domestic abuse and violence.
Demonstrators highlighted the fact that a national plan to fight domestic violence was approved in 2017 by the Knesset, but has since been abandoned, and is still waiting for funding. Activists say most of the approved NIS 250 million ($71 million) has not yet been transferred to relevant authorities. Police and social services organizations have reported a major rise in domestic violence complaints since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
The victim, the mother of five children, was killed on Monday, November 16, when her ex-husband, Rabiy’a Kna’ane, 40, crashed into her car and then stabbed her several times with a screwdriver in the back and chest before driving away. Police have been searching the region for him, to no avail. The victim had been residing for almost a year in a women’s shelter due to threats from her former husband
Kna’ana had previously served a prison sentence for offenses unrelated to domestic violence. A decade ago, he was arrested for firing a gun at local businesses in Arrabe due to his opposition to the drinking of alcohol. His ex-wife, the victim, was the 17th woman murdered in the Arab community in Israel since the beginning of the year, according to the Aman Center for Combating Violence in Arab Society.
MK Touma-Sliman tweeted that if the reported details of the incident were accurate, it raises questions about the rehabilitation of violent criminals when they exit prison, writing: “If the murderer was indeed released from prison, the failures once again rise up: Not enough rehabilitation, no monitoring of violent men, and still no electronic tagging — and the murder of women continues.”