A multiparty effort succeeded on Wednesday in passing a new bill into law which
states that domestic violence cases will be heard in court behind closed
Knesset members across the spectrum cosponsored the bill,
including: Nino Abesadze (Kadima); Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-On; opposition
leader Shelly Yechimovich (Labor); Miri Regev (Likud); and Einat Wilf
The court will still have the authority to order that
hearings be open to the public, but the default will be that hearings will be
held behind closed doors.
Abesadze said the law was “born of a true need
of women who complained of domestic violence and found themselves having to
testify about intimate aspects of their relationship, the violence and abuse
they suffered, before a full court [of people].”
She added that the most
difficult details of abused women’s lives had been open to all.
how hard it is for abused women to tell even the court about the violence and
abuse they experienced, it has been even more difficult when the hearings have
been open to the whole nation.”
Yechimovich celebrated the law’s passage,
stating, “Unfortunately women are victims of violence and are ashamed of it as
if it was their fault.”
She added that the new law will assist and
support battered women in filing complaints against their abusers and testifying
in their cases “without fear.”
Gal-On commented that the bill was
designed to “ensure that those brave women who have experienced violent crimes
and decided to file complaints and fight for their freedom can benefit from
immunity, and not be afraid that their identities will be exposed during the
legal proceedings against the abuser.”
Prior to the law’s passage, Gila
Oshrat, chairwoman of the Women’s International Zionist Organization in Israel,
said: “The law will encourage women to report violent crimes and not be deterred
by a legal process that forces them to be exposed to many other dangers. It’s
another step in our fight to help women choose a life without fear of
The law already recognized the need to protect complainants
and defendants in sexual or violent offenses against minors, according to WIZO.
However, there was no similar treatment in domestic violence cases until the new
law was passed.Ruth Eglash contributed to this report.
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