Health Crisis Domestic Violence Tolls: 4 Suicides and 4 Murders

The Ministry of Welfare and Social Services reported on Sunday morning, May 3, that there have been four cases of suicide related to domestic violence since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. Two men and two women have taken their own lives following implementation of restrictions on the time spent outside the home and travel were introduced in mid-March. The Welfare Ministry’s national superintendent for domestic violence, Hagai Moyal, told the Knesset Special Committee for Welfare and Labor that the past month and a half has witnessed a 20% increase in reported domestic violence.

MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash - Joint List) chairing the session of the Knesset's Special Committee for Welfare and Labor Chair on Sunday, May 3

MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) chairing the session of the Knesset’s Special Committee for Welfare and Labor Chair on Sunday, May 3 (Photo: Knesset)

Committee Chair MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) said during Sunday’s session that the restrictions on movement imposed on the public meant that women previously endangered by domestic violence were being forced into confinement with those who pose the greatest danger to them. “Since limitations were imposed on movement, abused women have essentially entered a trap by being confined to the place that is the most dangerous for them,” she said. “They are shut in with violent men who are liable to abuse them physically, emotionally or sexually.” MK Touma-Sliman publicly pleaded to any women who may be in danger and urged them, “Don’t stay in a home where there is violence.”

Touma-Sliman criticized the Welfare Ministry for limiting its recently launched campaign to rehabilitate women who escape domestic violence. The campaign is currently available only in Hebrew, and not in Arabic or Amharic, the language spoken by many Israeli women of Ethiopian origin as well African asylum seekers.

Four women have been killed in domestic violence incidents in recent weeks. A week ago, a man confessed to stabbing his wife to death in Holon. The couple had a history of domestic violence. Earlier this month, a 45-year-old woman was shot dead by an intruder in front of her husband in their Lod home. A police investigation led to the arrest of a family member. In March, a woman was murdered in Rishon Letzion, where police assessed that the victim’s husband shot her to death and then tried to commit suicide. Last Sunday evening, a man telephoned police and told them that he had murdered his wife and that they could find her body in their Bat Yam apartment. The murderer had previously served time in prison for assaulting his wife The death in Bat Yam brought to four the number of women killed in domestic violence incidents since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in mid-March.

Last Wednesday, April 29, the Welfare Ministry announced that during the previous two weeks, four times as many complaints about domestic violence were received compared to the first month of the lockdown, Haaretz reported. During the 12 days from April 16 to 27, the national domestic violence hotline received 400 complaints, an average of more than 33 a day. During the month from March 15 until April 15 there had been a total 244 complaints received, for an average of eight a day.

Related: Coronavirus Restrictions Lead to a Rise in Domestic Violence in Israel