Protesters in Upper Nazareth decry violence against Arab women

Protesters say police, state prosecution don't take strong enough action in dealing with perpetrators of violence in Arab sector.

Protesters demonstrate against violence in Arab sector 370 (photo credit: Samah Salaime Egbariya)
Protesters demonstrate against violence in Arab sector 370
(photo credit: Samah Salaime Egbariya)
Approximately 100 protesters attended a demonstration on Monday in front of the state prosecution office in Upper Nazareth to draw the attention of authorities to the issue of violence against women and the need for action against abusers.
A number of Arab-Israeli NGOs, many dealing specifically with women’s issues, organized the protest.
The Jerusalem Post spoke with social worker Samah Salaime Egbariya, founder and director of AWC-Arab Women in the Center and a research fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute, who is deeply involved in women’s issues and in aiding victims of violence, such as in helping them deal with the courts.
She complained that police and the state prosecution do not take strong-enough action in dealing with the perpetrators of violence against women in the Arab sector.
Egbariya mentioned that just last month, Kawtar Najar, a mother from the village of Daburia near the northern Israeli town of Afula, had two of her three children murdered by her ex-husband. He also murdered his second wife, who had divorced him, along with their child.
Najar had been divorced for 15 years. She was an independent woman who left an abusive husband, took her children and worked to support herself. She arrived with her surviving daughter Majdolein to the protest.
It was very emotional to see her at the protest, said Egbariya. Najar, according to Egbariya, said she could handle physical pain, which eventually goes away, but the pain of losing two daughters will last for eternity.
The ex-husband thought he owned them, said Egbariya, pointing out that he did not have a criminal record other than serving time in jail for hitting his wife and kids. The story repeated itself with his second wife, and she left him as well. He then lashed out by killing not only his second ex-wife and children, but also his second ex-wife’s boss for allowing her to be independent.
The number of complaints by Arab women increases each year, according to Egbariya.
However, she notices some improvement in the way police are handling this issue.
“I believe they are on the right track,” she said, adding that the authorities must become more efficient in following up on complaints.
Moreover, Arab society needs to examine itself and solve the problem of domestic abuse against women, she stated. “It is not like 50 years ago. Today women are independent and have higher education.”