Ministers again delay bill to monitor domestic violence abusers, drawing anger

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For the second week in a row, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided on Sunday to reject a bill initiated by the previous coalition government to introduce electronic tracking of domestic violence offenders, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir promising a more “balanced” version. to give. which also tackles false accusations against men.

After deciding last week to delay any further discussion of former justice minister Gideon Sa’ar’s bill by six months, the ministerial panel decided to discuss the bill again following the latest domestic murder in country

On Friday, police arrested a Haifa resident on suspicion of murdering his wife, a mother of three. Darya Leitel, 31, previously complained about threats from her husband. She was the fifth victim of femicide in Israel since the beginning of the year.

During the discussion on Sunday, the ministers decided again to reject the current version of the legislation, whose first reading in the previous Knesset had already been passed and could be accelerated.

Ben Gvir said during the meeting that he intends to bring a “balanced,” government-backed version within a month, even though the Knesset will be in recess from the end of next week until April 30.

“On the one hand it will give an answer to women who have been harmed, but on the other hand there will be the right balance to prevent false accusations against men,” Ben Gvir said during the meeting.

Darya Leitel, who allegedly murdered her husband on March 17, 2023 (Courtesy)

Under the original proposed legislation, geolocation technology would be used to ensure that an offender deemed by a judge to be dangerous does not come within an area specified by a restraining order.

Professionals consider the law proposed by Sa’ar – now a member of the opposition – a life saver, the Haaretz news site reported last week.

Sa’ar praised the new delay in a statement, saying: “This is a balanced bill that was drawn up after long preparation by all professional elements, and was previously approved by the Knesset unanimously in the first reading. The series of delays caused by Ben Gvir’s whim shows contempt for human life.”

MK Gideon Sa’ar attends a National Unity Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem, on February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Women’s rights groups also criticized the decision.

“Ben Gvir is now the all-male national security minister,” said Israel Women’s Network CEO Hadas Daniely Yelin, adding that the move “shows the far-right minister doesn’t care” about him women who are abused and that he is “being pressured by his friends who consider women to be inferior.”

The current religious-right coalition includes two Haredi parties, which exclude female lawmakers and have pushed for gender-based segregation in the public sphere.

Hagit Pe’er, CEO of Na’amat, said: “When will Israel understand that this is not a matter of coalition or opposition? When will they stop dragging their feet at the expense of women and children who are forced to continue hiding in shelters and living in fear?”

Illustrative: Ankle bracelet (WGN News screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A report released by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs in November showed that the ministry received 5,712 complaints about domestic violence between January and October 2022 – a 3.6 per cent increase on the previous year.

Among the reports, 3,432 involved violence directed at women in a relationship, 184 men reported abuse in a relationship, and 1,266 involved violence directed at children by a family member.

Data also showed that more people were seeking help from welfare centers that support victims of domestic violence. During 2021, 21,491 people sought help, compared to around 19,337 people in 2020 – an increase of 11%.

According to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, “24 women were murdered last year because they were women,” a 50% increase over the 16 such murders recorded in 2021. Half of those murders were in the Arab community, which is only 21%. of the population.

Although data on false allegations of domestic violence is scarce, researchers around the world agree that the number of actual assaults far exceeds the number of false claims. In addition, there is the issue of unreported attacks, which are missing from official statistics.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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