Members of the LOTEM Counter Gender-Terrorism Movement took to the streets on Saturday night in what they dubbed "killing of the first-born," painting window frames throughout the city of Jerusalem red and writing "Do not pass over us."
Four activists were arrested that evening, according to a statement from LOTEM. As they were not immediately released, the activists staged a demonstration the following morning at the Russian Compound in central Jerusalem.
"The police are busy arresting and interrogating women who are protesting and asking for protection," LOTEM said in a statement following the arrest, "instead of allocating resources to deal with gender violence."
This activity, undertaken during the holiday of Passover, was designed to evoke the dramatic moment in the Passover story at the conclusion of the Ten Plagues, when the Egyptians' first-borns sons are struck down. The Israelites receive instructions to paint their doorframes with lambs' blood to signify that they are not Egyptians so that the plague would pass over them.
"This Passover, we are taking to the streets in an urgent appeal to our elected officials - do not pass over us," LOTEM activists said. "Don't forsake our lives. Create policy that includes us and protects us. Our blood is on your hands.
"We are not safe in our homes. Every two weeks on average, a woman is murdered...and the state does not lift a finger. Moreover, elected officials actively avoid taking basic steps that would protect us. They rejected the [electronic monitoring bracelet] law designed to protect us. For years, they have been cutting budgets and not transferring the few funds allocated to our security. They actively refuse to adopt international treaties designed to prevent violence against women."
Electronic monitoring bracelets
The coalition in late March struck down a law proposal by opposition MKs Gideon Sa’ar, Merav Michaeli, Naama Lazimi and Merav Ben Ari to force violent domestic offenders to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet to ensure that they respect restraining orders.
A number of women MKs from the coalition tried to convince National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to let the bill pass at least its preliminary reading, but he refused, saying instead that a “more balanced” law is needed and would be put forward within a month.
The law cannot be proposed again as a private bill for six months.
The matter of femicide in Israel
2023 has seen eight femicides or suspected femicides carried out in Israel, and 2022 saw an overall 50% increase in femicide with a total of 24 reported cases.
Femicide is defined as "the intentional killing of women because they are female," and so, in accordance with this, recorded instances of femicide do not include situations in which women were killed due to involvement in crime or other such murders.
Shira Silkoff and Eliav Breuer contributed to this report.