HENRIETTE KARA was found dead on Tuesday in the kitchen of her Ramle home with stab wounds on her neck. A week prior, she went to the police and filed a complaint about domestic violence..
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Police and welfare authorities failed to act on a complaint by a 17-year-old Ramle girl that she faced violence at home a week before she was brutally murdered, according to the head of an NGO that combats gender-based violence.
Samah Salaime, a social worker who heads the Arab Women in the Center NGO said that Henriette Kara, who was found Tuesday in the kitchen of her home with stab wounds on her neck, had previously “come to the police and complained about violence.”
Salaime added: “Both the welfare authorities and the police had to do something about it. There were distress signs and if they took the complaint seriously, investigated it to the end and removed her from the house while finding her a framework, we would today be beyond this.”
The murder of the Christian girl has sent shock waves through Ramle, with Kara’s classmates convinced she was killed by her father for being romantically involved with a young Muslim man.
Such mixing among young couples is not uncommon in Ramle and Lod, but no one interviewed could recall another instance of it having fatal consequences. The police have arrested three close family members in connection with the murder.
A police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post
that two months ago both Henriette and her mother had complained to the police after an incident in which she and her mother had a fight and a pot was thrown. “The Welfare Ministry got involved, the girl had a meeting with the ministry officials. They were in contact with her but there was no suspicion that her life was in danger,” the spokesman said.
The Welfare Ministry could not be reached for comment.
Salaime says there is a pattern of women complaining to police and no action being taken to save them.
“The police sometimes do not understand the circumstances and danger that Arab women find themselves in. The police need to do soul searching. You can’t act as if it were 60 years ago. Today, there are pistols everywhere, rising violence and a difficult atmosphere and you have to act accordingly.”
The police spokesman responded: “We handle all complaints seriously and fully, regardless of ethnicity.”
At the Naamat High School in Lod where Henriette studied, a Jewish classmate who asked not to be identified, said “Christians, Jews and Muslims are all in shock. She was someone who loved life. She had a good character and a lot of friends. She wanted to do a lot of things. She had a graduation party and was murdered the next day. There’s a picture in school that she was working on but didn’t have a chance to finish, a picture of horses.”
The classmate said that Henriette’s boyfriend was 23 and not a student in the school.
“Everyone cried at the funeral. This isn’t right. She simply loved her boyfriend. And how can you murder a daughter you raised for 18 years?” Yafa, a neighbor of the Kara family who asked that only her first name be used, said: “We are mixed in Ramle. Our children mix. You don’t have to murder. There is great fear in the air now.”
Thirty-three Arab citizens, six of them women, have been murdered thus far this year, with no charges brought in any of the women’s deaths, according to the office of Balad MK Haneen Zoabi.
According to Zoabi’s office, despite the dire situation, three women’s shelters are in danger of closing due to lack of funds.
The six murdered Arab women are: Henriette Kara; Lina Ismail from Rama village who was killed on February 3; Suham Zabarqa, 32, from Lod who was shot on March 26; Hanan al-Buheiri from the southern village of Lakiya who was killed on May 3; Bira Shirbaji from Rahat who was killed on February 24; and Marya Ghanem from Jaffa, shot on May 31.Eliyahu Kamisher contributed to this article.