(photo credit: Channel 10)
A border policeman shot and seriously wounded his girlfriend and another woman in Eilat on Saturday before shooting himself.
All three, each in their early twenties, were taken to Yoseftal Hospital.
According to Magen David Adom, the girlfriend was in serious condition, while the two others were considered moderately wounded.
Witnesses at the scene said they believed the motivation for the incident was romantic. One woman was shot in the foot, and the other was shot in the stomach and hand.
The attack took place just one day ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is to be marked both in Israel and around the world on Sunday.
While the day traditionally highlights such attacks against women as the one in Eilat, Yahel Ash Kurlander, spokeswoman for Isha L'Isha-Haifa Feminist Center, commented that it should also focus on all types of violence against women and not just domestic or romantically motivated disputes.
The organization published figures late last week showing that a total of 28 women have been murdered so far this year in gender-related incidents, seven more than in the previous year. The statistics collected by Isha L'Isha are based solely on media reports of murders since the beginning of the year and include those women killed either at the hands of their husband, ex-husband, partner or other family member, as well as any sexually motivated murders. The figure also includes so-called Ohonor killings' in the Arab community and those women working in the country's growing sex industry.
"We should use the day to remember all female victims of violence," said Kurlander, adding that the most recent victim was that of an unidentified woman found murdered on November 9 in a district of Tel Aviv known for its brothels. "There are many more murders of women in the sex industry, for example, that we do not even know about."
On Sunday evening, Isha L'Isha, together with the Association of Rape Crisis Centers and Kian, the complimentary organization for Arab women, will march through Haifa to remember all female victims of violence in the past year (For more information go to www.isha.org.il).
Also planning to pay tribute to women killed as a result of domestic violence is the international women's Zionist organization WIZO, which will hold a vigil for the 13 women it says have been killed by spouses, boyfriends or ex-partners. The memorial, including 13 mock coffins, will take place outside Tel Aviv's Beit Ariella between 10am-3pm Sunday (For more information go to www.wizo.co.il).
"This phenomenon is a social problem and not something that is unique to any particular family," Nurit Kaufman, Director of Violence against Women for WIZO, told the Post. "All of society has to work together to stop it." She said that WIZO's figures did not include the Arab sector or women working as prostitutes.
"Whatever the figures are, we can all agree that these murders are terrible, terrible acts," continued Kaufman.
WIZO, which runs the National Hotline for Battered Women and Children at Risk together with the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, said that more than 4000 women had called its help line so far this year reporting some type of violence -verbal, emotional, physical, sexual or financial - towards them. Thirty-five percent of those who called the hot line reported they were the victims of violence at the hands of their close family members.
Also ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services released statistics highlighting that more than 13,000 people had turned to its various centers nationwide for assistance in treating violence in the past year, including some 8000 families.
Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog said that his office would increase the level of treatment currently available to provide counseling for violent men, and aim at reducing domestic violence in general.
The International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women has been marked on November 25 since 1981 by women activists, and was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999.
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