In 2022, 24 women were murdered in Israel, a 50% rise since the previous year according to a report by the Israel Observatory on Femicide. The report shows that two women were killed every month in Israel on average compared to 1.3 the year before. Half of the murdered women were from Palestinian Arab society – including Muslim, Bedouin, Druze, and Christian women – despite constituting only 21% of the general population.
12 of all the offenders confessed or were accused of their actions. The other cases had a gag order imposed on the details of the investigation or the identity of the killer has not yet been determined.
58% of the murders were committed by the spouse and the vast majority of the suspects (79%) are relatives or acquaintances. In 36% of the cases, at least one child of the victim was present at the time of the incident. In two cases, neighbors were also present and in one case the mother of the victim was present.
In 33% of the cases, the police were aware of the murdered women’s situation. In some cases, the victim was widely known due to complaints of violence and in one case due to financial reasons. In 20% of cases, the killer had a criminal record or mental illness.
Two of the killers committed suicide after the incident, while five others attempted to commit suicide. In many cases, the murder was committed out of jealousy or what are known as “honor killings”. In four cases (16.6%), the killer was the son of the murdered woman and in one case a father murdered his daughter. The report includes one victim under the age of 18 who was murdered along with her mother.
The average age of the murdered women was 38.1 years. The youngest victim was 14 years old while the oldest was 68 years old. The average age of the killer was 39 years old, with the youngest suspect being 19 years old and the oldest being 65 years old.
“After a decrease in numbers last year, this year there is a significant increase in ‘femicide’ cases, which is the murder of women by men for being women,” says Shalva Weil, a Hebrew University Professor at the School of Education.
Professor Weil warned against the sharp increase in cases of violence, stating, “two years ago we observed an increase in murders of women in Israel as a result of the lockdowns during the pandemic. This year there is no closure, but there is an increase in femicide, mainly due to a conflict between spouses, or ex-spouses. There are also cases of murder by sons who murder mothers. Every case of murder of a woman destroys an entire family. We must stop the violence and uproot this horrifying phenomenon.”
Professor Weil also added, “it is not possible that half of the femicide cases in Israel are among Israeli Arabs, who make up only 21% of the general population. It is likely that this increase can be linked to the general upward trend of violence in the Arab sector, when about 120 people were murdered this year, of which 14 were women, 12 due to family or gender reasons, and two more who were murdered by stray shots.” It is important to note that there are murder cases of women that have not yet been solved by the Israeli police. More worryingly, women’s murder cases in Palestinian Arab society have a lower clearance rate than in the Jewish community.
The Israel Observatory on Femicide, founded in 2020, seeks to be the official authority for collecting data on femicide in Israel and to process it objectively and without bias. The report records cases of femicide in one calendar year from the beginning to the end of the year.