Sister of Michal Sela: This could have been prevented, blames the state

Some 6,488 women were aided in 113 centers operated by the Ministry of Social Welfare across the country during 2018, according to a new report, representing 160% growth since 2014.

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October 7, 2019 11:46
4 minute read.
Michal Sela, who was stabbed to death in October 2019.

Michal Sela, who was stabbed to death in October 2019.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The sister of 32-year-old murder victim Michal Sela, who was allegedly stabbed by her husband, Eliran Malul, slammed the administration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not funding a 2016 National Program to Combat Violence Against Women, Maariv reported on Sunday.

“If this happens to us, it could happen to any family,” Lili Ben-Ami told the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post. “It happened to her in her own living room in such a cruel way. This could have been prevented if the National Program to Combat Violence Against Women – unfunded by the state since 2016 – would actually be carried out. What are they waiting for?”

Malul, currently in the hospital, is suspected of murdering his wife and then attempting to take his own life.

Police found Sela’s body in the couple’s home with multiple stab wounds. Malul was discovered badly injured on the steps of a neighbor’s porch, where he collapsed after passing off his infant daughter to the couple who live next door.

Neighbors told the Walla website that he stumbled over, bleeding, and mumbled, “Please help, my wife and I just tried to commit suicide,” before he passed out. Police rejected the idea that the couple attempted to commit suicide due to the number of stab wounds found on Sela’s body, Channel 12 news reported.

Ben-Ami took to social media on Friday and released a moving post on Facebook in which she asked, “How can I sleep when my baby sister is laying in the earth?”

She thanked her friends and neighbors for offering help, mentioning that the police locked the crime scene so they are unable to use the baby clothes in her sister’s home.

She asked nursing mothers to stop sending milk as they now have more than enough.

“It is not easy to see your own father weeping in front of you,” she wrote, and asked people who knew her sister to send photos so that her baby would have memories of her mother when she’s old enough to understand what happened.

Ben-Ami mentioned a family dinner in which the suspected killer surprised the family by saying that when people use violence, the person attacking is suffering more than the victim. She claimed that both she and her sister disagreed with him.

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman slammed the Netanyahu administration in 2018 when she said, “Our lives [as women] aren’t even worth [NIS 30 million] in 2019. If more women will be murdered in 2019, their blood will be on the hands of the ministers who refused to attend [the meeting she spoke at in the Knesset] and answer our questions,” Davar reported in 2018.

MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Gesher) said that 70% of the decisions made by the government are not carried out due to lack of funding. She made the comments while comparing this situation to abused women who return to destructive partners because they are financially dependent on them.

FOLLOWING SELA’S murder, the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry released its 2018 report on domestic violence in Israel.

According to the report, 6,488 women were aided in 113 centers operated by the ministry across the country during 2018, resulting in 95 abusive males being placed in programs to help them relearn how to function as partners and husbands.

The ministry also hired 60 new workers who aid abusive men, and 68 workers who are engaged in addressing the needs of children brought up in abusive households. The report noted that it is vital to ensure that children brought up in such households be given the tools to handle the situation so that they won’t repeat such behaviors when they grow up.

Not all abusive men require prolonged stays in homes. Some benefit from an evening program where they are able to discuss the issues that cause them to abuse their partners. Others benefit from ongoing contact with care-givers in their respective communities, and only 17 men stayed in homes and underwent a special education program in 2018.

The ministry operates 13 shelters for women who suffer from domestic violence across the country.

The Social Welfare Ministry reported that a new center in Tel Aviv will be opened soon to streamline the process of servicing victims of domestic violence. The Tel Aviv center will not serve as a shelter, meaning women and men will not be able to stay there, but they will be able to have all their needs met in one place.

The center will include police investigators, mental health experts and social workers all under one roof, streamlining the process for those suffering from abuse who seek help: rather than being asked to go to a police station and then to a psychologist, all the help will be offered at one place. Four such centers will eventually be opened, one in each region of the country.

Some 80% of the women who seek help in the public centers turn to them after a period of abuse lasting from a year to a decade, the press release reports.

Since 2004, 163 women were murdered by their partners, half of whom were known to social welfare services. This figure does not include women murdered by other family members, men who were murdered by their partners, or women who were in the country illegally.


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