Over half of spousal homicides in Arab sector end without indictment

With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women just around the corner, a report on violence against woman shows disparaging gaps in cases being solved in Jewish and Arab communities

Hadar Gil-Ad|
A new report from the Knesset highlights data regarding the number of indictments served on cases involving violence towards Arab women.
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  • With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women coming this Friday, a report from the Knesset's Information and Research Center released today indicates data regarding all manners of violence towards women and most notably in the context of couples and family. The data was taken from police reports.
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    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, the report indicates a gap between number of indictments brought forth and offenders convicted, in cases involving Jewish women and Arab women.
    More than nine out-of-every ten Israeli women murdered, were killed by known family members. with 59% of them murdered by their spouse and 34%, by another family member. Only 7% of the murders were carried out by people outside the victim's family.
    At the same time period, out of 40 cases of the murder of Arab women, in more than half, the identity of the murderer or the motive for the crime, remained unknown. In a third of the cases, most murders were committed by the spouse and some by other family members.
    According to the report, a low rate of crimes in general were solved and even less, in cases of murder.
    Tomer Lotan of the Ministry of Public Security said that up until the end of 2021, about a quarter of murder cases in the Arab sector were solved. A stark contrast to Jewish society, where nearly 70% of cases were solved.
    They also said that the nature of the investigation into murder cases was different between offenders that have a history of violence towards the victims, and incidents where the familial connection was not taken into account.
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    איור אילוסטרציה אלימות גבר אישה
    איור אילוסטרציה אלימות גבר אישה
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Up until the report was released, 14 indictments were served in the murders of 22 Jewish women in 2020 and 2021. During the same timespan, 33 Arab women were murdered and only 14 indictments were filed, 10 in cases where the murderer had a familial connection and only 4 when there were no such ties.
    In the years 2019 and 2020, spousal violence against women grew at a rate of 5% when not distinguishing between Jewish and Arab women. The report indicates that the Covid-19 outbreak of 2020 was the cause of the rise in cases, mostly due to overall stress and anxiety brought on by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
    That said, even when lockdowns and restrictions were lifted in 2021, no corresponding drop in cases was registered. In fact, a small increase was seen in violence towards Jewish women.
    With regards to spousal violence during 2019, 2020 and 2021, almost a third of the women were not Jewish. About a quarter of the women that were sexually assaulted were also not Jewish.
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    הפגנה נגד אלימות נגד נשים מול ביתו של יאיר לפיד
    הפגנה נגד אלימות נגד נשים מול ביתו של יאיר לפיד
    A protest for violence against women
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    "Violence in Arab society is a social menace that needs to be eradicated. We conduct thorough and professional investigations to bring all culprits to justice. Furthermore, we dispute the findings of the report," Israel Police said in a statement.
    "Our data suggests that between 2020 and 2022, 16 indictments were served in 35 cases where Arab women were murdered, and 18 indictments were served out of 25 murder cases of Jewish women. Needless to say, increased cooperation from the Arab sector would go a long way in helping us solve these crimes and make Arab women feel more secure," the police said.
    "It is worth noting that in the last few years, we've put special emphasis on complaints filed by women regarding violence. Specialized investigators with domestic violence experience and training, were recruited, with the appropriate parameters in place for the duration of the investigation and increased sensitivity towards victims, including the involvement of the Ministry of Welfare. More investigators and social workers were likewise recruited to precincts in Arab communities, in order to provide an all rounded response to victims. We remain steadfast in our commitment to combat violence in the Arab sector for everyone's increased security," the police statement read.
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