'We must create an Iron Dome against domestic abuse'

Yelena Greenberg's murder took place a day after the prime minister's meeting on domestic abuse, which was attended by some 30 women. The crime scene had a circle, too, but with only men.

 Yelena Gerenberg (photo credit: MAARIV)
Yelena Gerenberg
(photo credit: MAARIV)

Yelena Gerenberg, a young woman, full of life, was savagely murdered on Thursday with a knife, her body thrown in a field. The suspect is her friend who had a crush on her for a while and who tried to kill himself.

The heart hurts and cries. Again and again, we see the same pattern: The victim of the murder wanted wings and the parasitic murderer wanted complete dominance over her.

After my sister, Michal Sela, was murdered in her home by Eliran Malul, an expert in domestic violence named Ronit Lev Ari explained the recurring pattern to me: He was addicted to controlling her and she asked for freedom - in this case, she asked to break up with him. When he realized that he was completely losing control over Michal, he went into a craze, just like an addict when you take his drugs away.

So when Eliran murdered Michal, he won. Now that she's six feet under, under her tombstone, he regained full control.

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

The strongest and bravest are those murdered, those who insist on freeing themselves from him. The killer is the weak one. He acts like a poor, helpless victim, like a parasite that feeds on and depends on his surrogate. 

I expanded on this in the text, "The Parasite Manifesto," the most difficult text I've ever written in which I look the killer directly in the eye. I plucked up the strength to publish the text following the murder of Diana Dedbayev, after which men and women alike told me that the text has saved lives.

It is important to nevertheless note the dynamics of femicide and domestic abuse because it's repetitive and works in patterns. Once we know the patterns, we can prevent them.

Talks with the chief

That's what I told Prime Minister Yair Lapid exactly one day before Yelena was murdered. I sat across from him in the Prime Minister's Office and I looked him in the eye. It was on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. He invited me for the first meeting of its kind on the subject of the prevention of domestic abuse towards women, alongside all the heads of organizations working on the issue.

Sister of Michal Sela speaks at the Knesset committee's discussion on the rise of domestic violence during the coronavirus outbreak, June 22, 2020 (credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)Sister of Michal Sela speaks at the Knesset committee's discussion on the rise of domestic violence during the coronavirus outbreak, June 22, 2020 (credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

We were approximately 30 women sitting around the table in the Prime Minister's Office and one man who manages the Asly Organization (the Israeli White Ribbon Campaign - a global movement of men who oppose violence against women).

A photo was published of the crime scene where Yelena was murdered. There, next to the site where her body was dumped, a circle of approximately 20 men stood in a circle from the different rescue forces.

That picture speaks a thousand words.

Who takes care of us?

Those entrusted with our security are men. On the other hand, the absolute majority of victims of domestic abuse are women. You can see this at any meeting or professional conference on the subject and also at the meeting with the prime minister.

To get to the much-needed change, to the special revolution that will eliminate the dark phenomenon that is femicide from the world, you need to change approaches. We must defeat domestic abuse the same way we defeat terror. This is an issue of security and saving lives.

In this terror, just like in any other terror, the issue must be dealt with holistically, all the while preventing and predicting instances using advanced measures. Experts on domestic abuse like Ben Ari need to sit around the table with experts in security. The subject must be tackled from above and below, on the ground and virtually. 

We must develop an Iron Dome against domestic abuse. To defeat violence and murder, we need all of us: Men and women together, shoulder to shoulder, at the front lines of this war. We don't have the privilege to do it any other way.

The author is the founder and CEO of the Michal Sela Forum and the sister of Michal Sela. The original version of this article was published in Hebrew on Walla!