The morning after tens of thousands protested the lack of government action to combat domestic violence Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the speedy implementation of draft legislation to protect victims of abuse.
The legislation proposed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked aims to protect female victims by introducing electronic GPS tagging for perpetrators or those suspected of violence.
Netanyahu instructed the Ministerial Committee for Legislation to consider the draft legislation on Sunday.
Speaking at the opening of a ministerial committee on combating violence against women, Netanyahu described domestic violence as “terror in every way,” and said it was “necessary to give support to battered women on one hand and, on the other, to punch the men or husbands responsible for beating women in the face.”"If it's possible to rehabilitate a violent offender, we'll do it, but first and foremost we must ascertain that these criminals will be punished," Netanyahu said.
The proposed electronic tags, which may be issued by court order, will enable law enforcement services to track the location of violent individuals at all times, thereby preventing suspects from unexpectedly surprising their victims.
It will also enable authorities to verify that restraining orders and conditions of release handed down by courts are being adhered to.
“Women must feel protected and safe, and not fear further violence at the hands of those that harmed them,” Erdan said.
“The use of the bracelet will enable a quick and effective response for the protection of female victims of domestic violence at any given moment, and especially will grant them the freedom that they deserve without fear that a violent man will violate the restraining order or the terms of his release,” Erdan added. “In the event of violation, the law enforcement system will be able to intervene immediately.”
The draft legislation provides a three-year temporary period to examine the effectiveness of the tagging technology in preventing domestic violence.
“It isn’t the female victims of violence who need to hide – it’s the violent criminals who need to be pushed back,” said Shaked. “That is the objective of this draft legislation that we are leading. Through this new technology, we will able to turn the tables and free women from the grip of violent individuals.”
Netanyahu appointed his chief of staff Yoav Horowitz and Deputy Finance Minister Itzik Cohen to examine the possibility of increasing budgetary sources for existing plans to combat domestic violence.
On Tuesday, tens of thousands of demonstrators from around Israel gathered at Tel Aviv’s iconic Rabin Square, marking the climax of an eventful day of protests and strike action demanding the implementation of an emergency program worth NIS 250 million to combat domestic violence against women.
The program, approved by the government in June 2017 but has yet to receive the required funding, includes a public rehabilitation program for victims of domestic violence; a rehabilitation program for attackers; education and public awareness efforts; and a comprehensive policy change in the Israel Police’s approach to domestic violence.
Sara Rubenstein contributed to this story.