Hundreds protested the government’s lack of policies combating violence against women in a demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday night.
Dozens covered themselves in red paint and lied on the ground, representing the deaths of dozens of women each year due to domestic violence in the country.
“We are independent women, supported by several key women’s rights organizations, coming to demand that the people responsible make a change,” “Y,” one of three organizers of the event, told The Jerusalem Post. She asked to keep her identity private. The other two organizers were Ofri Buchris and Nili Madrer.
“People are coming from far and wide to support our cause, and this is only the beginning,” “Y” continued. “It will not only be this event. There will be more.”
The rally was instigated due to the most recent death of Michal Sela, who was allegedly murdered by her husband and found covered in stab wounds in their apartment.
“Instead of taking care of the deadly violence against women, we are seeing budget cuts and the issue being pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities,” said Blue and White MK Miki Haimovich at the rally.
When asked what the group was attempting to accomplish, “Y” said, “Attention. We want the attention of the government, which is currently not functioning... So many laws are currently frozen. It has passed all limits. Women are being murdered every week. There must be an emergency plan to bring an end to this.”
Hundreds of people marked themselves as “attending” on the Facebook event, which said in the description, “We will not give up, we will not be silenced with empty promises and we will not sit at home and await the chosen fate by those who do not see us.
“Together, we will demand the budget that has already been approved in 2017, for an emergency national domestic violence prevention program.”
The budget refers to a national program that would help prevent and treat violence against women, which was already approved by the government in 2017 but has not yet been allocated most of its budgets.
Lily Ben-Ami, Sela’s sister, has slammed the government for its inaction on the issue.
“If this happens to us, it could happen to any family,” she said. “This could have been prevented if the national program to combat violence against women – not funded by the state since 2016 – would actually be carried out. What are they waiting for?”
WIZO Israel hosted a meeting on Thursday with leaders of several men’s and women’s organizations to discuss combating violence against women, focusing on how to move forward and get the funds needed to implement the program.