Twenty-three Israeli women were murdered by their partners in 2011, according to data published by Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday.
This marks the second consecutive year in which the number of murdered women has increased: Fifteen women were killed by their partners in 2009, while the number jumped to 20 in 2010.
On Monday the Knesset's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee gave preliminary approval to a bill that will increase financial benefits for women taking refuge in state-run shelters.
According to data published by the Knesset, in 2010 the 13 shelters for battered women in Israel housed 765 women and 1,097 children.
The Welfare Ministry said 2010 saw a 14% increase in the number of families which have received counseling at various centers for the prevention of domestic violence. According to the ministry, 9,749 Israeli families sought the help of these centers in 2010.
Welfare Ministry Director General Nahum Itzkowitz said the increase in the number of families who turn to such centers is indicative of "the public's growing awareness regarding the severe ramifications of domestic violence" and shows that welfare services have become more accessible.
Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon said, "It is inconceivable that so many women and children are subjected to domestic violence and that the home is not a safe place for them. The ministry is doing everything within its power to help them."
Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence, WIZO launched a campaign urging women who are subjected to mental abuse to seek help. As part of the campaign, the group will hand out pamphlets warning women of certain sentences their partners may use to try and hurt them, such as "You're cheating on me, admit it"; "I'll hurt myself because of you" and "Look what you made me do! You're driving me crazy."
On Thursday WIZO is scheduled to hold its annual event in central Tel Aviv, with a “March of Coffins,” representing the women who have been murdered. The march will culminate in a rally at the Tel Aviv Museum and include speeches from opposition leader Tzipi Livni and Knesset members Zahava Gal-On and Orit Zuaretz.