Israel will allocate NIS 155 million ($50 million) to help fight domestic violence, Transport Minister Merav Michaeli, who also chairs the newly established ministerial committee on gender equality, announced on Sunday.
"It's time we moved from words to actions," the Labor Party leader said at the committee's inaugural meeting.
Michaeli is currently sponsoring a bill in Knesset alongside Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar that seeks to recognize economic violence as a form of domestic violence.
"We will take steps to prevent it, the time has come to have this in our law book. It is not up to interpretation, it's not a mistake, but simply impermissible violence even if it is done by economic means," she said.
Michaeli asserts that domestic violence must be considered a societal challenge that requires protection and assistance for victims.
"These NIS 155 million that we will spend on care, education... all these things that will stop this terrible violence and allow us to move forward to equality and a life without violence," the 54-year-old said.
Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which takes place on November 25, the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) released an annual report which showed that the number of domestic violence complaints between spouses in Israel jumped by 315 percent in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WIZO’s data showed that 26 women were murdered in Israel in 2020, compared to 17 in 2019. There was also a massive uptick in the number of distress calls made to the 118 domestic violence hotline, from 2,286 calls in 2019 to 5,866 calls a year later, a 157% increase. Of these, more than half were instances of spousal violence, also known as intimate partner violence; the number of calls related to spousal violence jumped from 688 calls in 2019 to 2,853 calls in 2020, a 315% spike.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.