Police at the scene of a crime in Rameh in northern Israel.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
A 35-year-old Arab woman was shot and killed in the northern Israeli town of Rameh on Monday morning. It was the third murder of a woman in the last week. The incident sparked outrage from women’s-rights activists, especially those in the Arab-Israeli community, against a perceived lack of police efforts to stop such crimes.
According to police, Lina Ismail, the mother of two children, was shot several times while driving her car. The victim previously had filed complaints about abuse from her husband.
Emergency medical responders received reports of the shooting at 10 a.m. and pronounced the woman dead at the scene. A gag order was immediately placed on the investigation by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court.
The killing follows last week’s murders of two women. Meir Goldstein, 34, is believed to have decapitated his ex-wife, Adele Goldstein, 33, and burned her body on Wednesday.
Last Monday, 30-year-old women’s-rights activist Siam Azbaraja was shot at her home in Lod and died of her wounds the next day. On Monday police arrested five suspects on suspicion of involvement in the murder, conspiracy to commit a crime, and obstruction of justice.
“If three murders in a week do not turn on a red light for the authorities, then what will?” MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, said in a statement. Touma-Sliman called an emergency session of the committee on Thursday to discuss the series of killings.
According to Touma-Sliman, there is a systemic failure of the authorities and welfare departments with regarding such murders. “When there is a recurrence of murders and a lack of exposure of the murderers, like in Rameh and Lod, anyone can feel that he will not pay a price if he murders,” she said.
MK Haneen Zoabi also slammed the police. “It is time to declare war not only against organized crime, but also against arms dealers who make their fortune at the expense of women’s blood. Another finger should be pointed at the police. Enough!” Rivka Neuman, director of advancement of women at the Women’s International Zionist Organization, said the Rameh victim had “paid with her life for the state’s failure to allow women to live their lives in safety.” She added that women today are simply asking “to live their lives according to their own choices.”
Na’amat, the largest and leading women’s organization in Israel, called the murders part of a “national calamity” on its Facebook page on Monday.
“This is an intolerable ritual that the police do not do enough to prevent,” it said in a statement. “It is easy to shrug off responsibility and not act for weakened populations,” adding, “The next murder is only a matter of time.”
On Sunday, Na’amat chairwoman Galia Wolloch released a video in which she said that, while Passover is the holiday of freedom, women in Israel from all backgrounds are far from being free.
“Freedom passes over us here,” she said.
“But we promise to continue to struggle until we will have an equal and just society here, because freedom is a basic right for everyone.”