In June 2022, four femicides were carried out in Israel in the span of just 10 days.
During the first six months of 2022, 12 femicide cases were recorded in Israel – a sharp increase from the same time period in 2021, during which seven femicide cases were reported.
The statistics on femicide were released in a new report by the Israeli Observatory on Femicide (IOF), headed by Prof. Shalva Weil from the Hebrew University School of Education.
According to the report, there was a significant increase (71%) in the number of femicide cases during the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021. The worst month for femicides so far in 2022 was June, when four cases occurred over just 10 days between June 2 to June 12.
Further details on the femicides
In nine out of the 12 cases, the key suspect in the case has been identified, and in seven of these instances, the spouse or former spouse of the victim has been named as the suspect. In two other cases, the son of the victim was identified as the murderer. No suspect has been identified as of yet in the remaining three cases.
Of the femicide victims, 58% were Jewish and the other 42% were from the Arab and Druze sectors. In all cases bar one, the suspects were of the same ethnicity as the victim.
According to the IOF report, the youngest of the 12 victims was aged 22 and the oldest was aged 65, and in a quarter of all cases, the victim was over the age of 60. In a quarter of all cases, at least one child was present at the scene of the murder.
In three of the 12 cases, the suspect was already known to the police following previous violent incidents, In another two cases, the victim had previously been in contact with welfare authorities due to economic difficulties and not as a result of domestic violence.
Commenting on this year’s increase in numbers, Weil stated that “two years ago, we observed an increase in femicides in Israel as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns. This year, there was no lockdown, but there is an increase in femicide, mainly against the background of conflicts between spouses or ex-spouses, but there are also cases of sons who murder their mothers.”
“It is true that the year is not yet over and that the numbers are relatively low, but every case of femicide destroys an entire family. We must stop the violence and end this horrific phenomenon.”Prof. Shalva Weil
What is being done to address the femicide rate in Israel?
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, IOF Coordinator Eve Young explained that the dissolution of the Knesset on June 30, the day the report was published, could have a significant impact on the work being done to reduce the number of femicides occurring in Israel each year.
One law in particular could have prevented future femicide cases had it been passed before the Knesset dispersal. This law – called Azikon Law or the Handcuff Law in English – aims to enable the electronic tracking of men who have had complaints of violence or domestic abuse filed against them.
“Women are dying, women are being abused daily and yet that doesn’t seem to be enough pressure to get these really critical and important laws passed,” explained Young in reference to the failure of the Knesset to pass the Azikon Law.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, they [the government] managed to pass a law to electronically monitor people with the disease,” she said. “They managed to push that law through in a matter of weeks because it was an emergency situation. And yet here, when women are being killed, which I would say is an emergency, we’ve been waiting for this law for far longer, and now it looks like we’re going to have to keep waiting.”
Another key item that the IOF had hoped to see implemented in Israel is the Istanbul Convention, a human rights treaty of the Council of Europe against domestic violence and violence against women. The convention aims to prevent violence, protect victims and end the impunity of perpetrators. Thirty-five countries have ratified the convention to date.
“In the past government, we had [Justice Minister] Gideon Sa’ar saying he wanted to implement the Istanbul Convention,” explains Young. “But now that’s another thing that’s probably going to get lost in the Knesset dispersal and will have to wait because important legislation can’t go through between governments.
“There are all these important changes and advancements that could potentially combat femicide that are not going to happen now, simply because the government is no longer together.”