A 35-year-old Israeli man has been arrested on suspicion of tricking his ex-girlfriend into quarantining four times. The man, who works for the health ministry, had on four separate occasions falsely sent SMS’s to his ex-girlfriend’s phone about her immediate need to enter isolation due to exposure to a confirmed coronavirus patient.
The case has triggered concerns about an increase in domestic abuse in Israel during the country’s lockdowns. The Middle East Eye reports that there are over 180,000 citizens in isolation in Israel.
Activists say domestic violence hotlines have reported four times the amount of calls, compared to the same time period last year. Further, emergency shelters for abused women are reportedly full. The MEE reports that 20 women were murdered by their spouses or family members in 2020 as of November.
Meanwhile, Israeli women’s organization Na’amat estimates that some 200 000 women face violence from their spouses or intimate partners in Israel, across all segments of society. The organizations Rivka Neuman said, “We were seeing normative families reporting violence for the first time, as well as a worsening of the situation in families that have long been in the cycle of violence.”
The Israeli government has been criticized for its lax attitude concerning the crisis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in November, said that if society understood that animals should be protected from violence, it should understand the same about women. He said, “We understand that animals, too, have understanding and intelligence and cognition and feelings. We rightly have compassion for animals. Well, women are animals, children are animals – animals with rights…”
Umm Muhammed Umar