Israel’s prime minister says he will fast-track a bill combating domestic violence after tens of thousands of Israelis marched the previous day in Tel Aviv to protest perceived government inaction.
Red-capped demonstrators called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “wake up” and carried signs reading “Women’s blood is not cheap” and “We are killed and the government is silent.”
In Jerusalem, protesters splattered red paint on a street littered with signs bearing the names of dozens of women killed. Activists filled a Tel Aviv square with some 200 dyed-red shoes meant to symbolize violence against women.
Netanyahu ordered on Wednesday the government to advance the bill, which would track convicted or suspected domestic abusers with GPS bracelets to ensure they comply with probation and bail restrictions.
Netanyahu says violence against women is “like terror in every respect” and pledged harsher punishments for perpetrators.
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PHOTOS: Tens of thousands of protesters marched in #TelAviv on Tuesday against what they see as the #Israeli government’s inadequate response to #violence against #women. . Red-capped demonstrators called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “wake up” and carried signs reading “Women’s blood is not cheap” and “We are killed and the government is silent.” Organizers of the nationwide protests want the government to implement a $67 million plan it promised last year to combat violence against women. At least 24 women were killed in #Israel this year, most of whom notified the police prior to their deaths that they were concerned for their safety. . In #Jerusalem, protesters splattered red paint on a street littered with signs bearing the names of dozens of women killed. Activists filled a Tel Aviv square with some 200 dyed-red shoes meant to symbolize violence against women. . “We had to do something radical, to make sure that women in Israel show the government that we are not going to take this anymore,” said Ruti Klein, a protest organizer. . #Netanyahu responded by saying violence against women is “like terror in every respect” and pledged harsher punishments for perpetrators. . Dozens of major Israeli corporations and municipalities supported Tuesday’s strike by paying women who took leave. The protests cut across Israeli society’s many divides. Religious and secular Israelis, both Arabs and Jews alike, attended protests in every major city across the country.
Organizers of Tuesday’s protests want the government to implement a $67 million plan it promised last year to combat violence against women. At least 24 women were killed in Israel this year, most of whom notified police beforehand that they were concerned for their safety.
Netanyahu promised to disburse the funds.
On Wednesday morning, 27 Kislev, Netanyahu chaired the first meeting of the ministerial committee on the fight against violence against women. Also attending the meeting were Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Social Welfare Minister Chaim Katz, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and other relevant professional officials.
Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman to submit the legislation on electronic handcuffing (Law on Technological Monitoring to Ensure the Honoring of Protection Orders and Terms of Conditional Release) to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday 1 Teves, and to then oversee the rapid advance of the law in the Knesset.
PM Netanyahu also appointed the head of his staff and Prime Minister’s Office Acting Director-General Yoav Horowitz, and Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen to evaluate the possibility of increasing budgetary sources for existing programs.
Prime Minister Netanyahu demanded to receive the actual budget spread as well as the designation of the budgets. The Social Welfare Ministry presented the working plan, including assistance for victims. The Prime Minister said that additional action must be taken in prevention, enforcement and punishment.
Mr. Netanyahu also directed that educational programs – for kindergartens and schools – on preventing violence in the family be examined.
Prime Minister Netanyahu: “This is the first meeting of the committee on the fight against violence against women which I chair. I do not chair many committees. The committees that I chair usually see activity and results, such as the Ministerial Committee on National Security [the Security Cabinet], the committee on the Jewish community from Ethiopia and on regulation. This committee is important, and I intend to bring about two results – one for the victims and one for those who carry out the crime. The victims are women who suffer violence and abuse and we are committed to implementing the existing plans.
“I believe that there are more budgets than I thought, but they are not being used. An unused budget is as if it does not exist. We know what the amounts are, and we will act now, first of all, to use them and – if need be –to augment them.
“The second thing is to deal with the violent men. I see violence against women as terrorism in every respect. We do not deal with terrorism only by caring for the victim; of course, it is necessary to care for the victims of terrorism. But nobody would dare consider that we fight terrorism without dealing with the terrorists. First and foremost, there needs to be punishment for these criminals.
“My impression is that our various establishments are largely paralyzed and are not doing this. I saw the raw statistics and they are very problematic; therefore, we also want to take action against the abusive husbands and today this is lacking. The discourse that discusses one side only, and does not discuss how we fight this terrorism, this discourse is lacking. Therefore, we need to take both sides. The state must give assistance to battered women and children, and we are doing so, but on the other hand, ‘punch in the face’ the abusive husbands. We must do both things together. We have much work to do on both.
“My method in these committees is to set goals and meet every other week, on average, in order to verify that things are being implemented. We must receive a report on what is being done and it was decided in the previous committee to move on to the next meeting. The system is very simple, efficient and very effective. This is what we will do here.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/photo credit: Haim Zach, GPO)