A 26-year-old woman and her two infant sons were murdered in their home in Taiba late on Sunday night, the latest victims in a string of recent murders.
Baraa Massaroa’s husband, Mohammed Massaroa, has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing and murdering his wife and sons, Amir and Adam, who were two years old and six months old, respectively.
“When we arrived at the scene, the sight was extremely shocking,” said MDA paramedic Mohammed Araki. “We saw a woman, a baby and a toddler unconscious and with signs of violence. We did medical tests and tried to save them, but they didn’t show any signs of life and unfortunately, we had no choice but to pronounce the three dead.”
'I wish I had died instead of her'
Speaking to Army Radio on Monday afternoon, Baraa Massaroa’s father, Adel Jaber, said: “They were beautiful and healthy. There were never any problems [with their relationship], this was the first time. They had a good relationship, they traveled all the time.”
Earlier in the day, Jaber told Ynet that the last time he spoke to his daughter, she was away with her husband and sons on vacation.
“She and my grandsons hugged me and then left. They were on a trip and returned. We never expected it to end in murder,” he said.
Massaroa’s brother echoed the loss his father had spoken of. “She was a good woman, and now her story is over,” he told KAN. “I’m hurting, everyone is hurting, I wish I had died instead of her. We never heard that she was unhappy with him. It was a good relationship, and we were one family.”
"The knife used by the murderer was sharpened by the government which deliberately acts against us women and by the appointed minister who harms every plan to protect women."Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman
An anonymous family member of the suspect spoke to KAN, saying it was a shock and that there hadn’t been any signs of it coming.
“He wasn’t wanted for anything. He had a job, a house, a wife, children. Suddenly you hear about murder. I’m in shock, it’s unbelievable,” he said.
According to reports, there was no known history of violence in the family, and they were not known to social services for any issues.
Women being led 'as sheep to the slaughter'
Taiba Mayor Shua’a Masarwa Manzur said “the issue of crime in the Arab sector is not solely our problem. It’s all of Israel’s problem. We’ve seen that the murders have reached Tel Aviv and everywhere else. The safety of the country’s residents is the responsibility of the government. This is a difficult event. This was an economically stable family and they were known to the city as an exemplary family.”
"She was a good woman, and now her story is over. I'm hurting, everyone is hurting, I wish I had died instead of her."Brother of Baara Massaroa
Leaders of multiple organizations for the protection of women called on National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to push legislation to protect women and to effectively deal with the rising rates of murder.
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman, who has been involved with the Women’s Status Knesset Committee since 1992 and has headed it since 2015, accused the government of playing a role in the triple murder, saying: “The knife used by the murderer was sharpened by the government, which deliberately acts against us women, and by the appointed minister [Ben-Gvir], who harms every plan to protect women.
“There is a clear policy that encourages the current situation. We won’t be led to our deaths quietly like sheep to the slaughter. It’s time to make our voice heard clearly to shake everything,” she said.
Broken promises of protecting women
Other opposition MKs were quick to condemn the murder as well and called for the government to implement stronger security measures to protect women from violent, gender-based crime.
“The report of the murder of a mother and two children who never did anything to anyone breaks my heart,” said opposition leader Yair Lapid. “The number of murders has doubled under this government. The government under my leadership lowered the rate of violence in an organized and quiet fashion. The current government promised personal security and is failing with that.”
Labor MK Naama Lazimi also criticized the government for its inaction: “Violence is running wild, and the police aren’t managing to reign in the bloody reality that has a heavy price every day. There’s no treatment of crime, no significant extra budget for a plan to eradicate violence and murder of women. The electronic handcuff bill didn’t make it into law, and women who are scared to complain about violence are murdered in cold blood and endless cruelty.... There are no words in the world that can explain how a father murders his wife and two babies.”
"Violence is running wild, and the police aren't managing to reign in the bloody reality that has a heavy price every day."MK Naama Lazimi
The number of deaths from violence and crime in the Arab sector in 2023 now stands at 64, according to the Abraham Initiatives. Massaroa is the fourth Arab woman to have been murdered this year.
In 2022, the Israel Observatory on Femicide found that there had been a 50% rise in femicide cases in the Arab sector over the last year and that of the women murdered in Israel in 2022, 50% were Arab-Israelis.
The electronic handcuff law
In March of this year, a bill that would have required people convicted of domestic abuse to wear electronic tracking devices failed to pass in the Knesset after Ben-Gvir decided that the bill needed to become “more balanced” before being passed.
"The minister of 'national security for men only' is not facing his duty. Women's security is your job, and this murder is on your watch."Israel Womens Network
The final draft of his new version of the bill is still being finalized, but it will state that the perpetrator of domestic violence must have two previous convictions before he is ordered to wear the tracking device.
Responding to the murder, the Israel Women’s Network put out a statement directly addressing Ben-Gvir and the failure to pass legislation that would protect women.
“You failed to protect the lives of women and children. Take responsibility and resign! We are waking up to more hard, unimaginable news. A father who murdered his wife and two children. Another shattered family,” the organization said .
“Twelve women have been murdered since the start of the year. The numbers are rising and the government is silent. Today it is clearer than ever: No one ever cares about our security. A series of measures to eradicate the phenomenon of domestic violence have been blocked or stalled by the new government.
“Ben-Gvir is wasting his time and refusing to declare a state of emergency and behave accordingly. The minister of ‘national security for men only’ is not doing his duty. Women’s security is your job, and this murder is on your watch,” it said.