Ministers to reconsider bill to monitor domestic abusers following latest murder

Based on a recent decision, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will debate on Sunday a bill initiated by the previous coalition to introduce electronic tracking of domestic violence offenders.

Ministers will review former Attorney General Gideon Sa’ar’s bill a week after the decision to delay further talks by six months. This bill had already passed its first reading in the previous Knesset.

Under the initially proposed law, GPS technology would be used to ensure an offender is not within a distance specified by an injunction.

The law proposed by Sa’ar – now an opposition member – is believed by experts to be life-saving, news site Haaretz reported on Sunday.

The change of course comes shortly after the country’s most recent domestic murder. On Friday, police arrested a Haifa resident on suspicion of murdering his wife, a mother of three. Darya Leitel, 31, had previously complained about threats from her husband.

She was the fifth female murder victim in Israel since the beginning of the year.

It was not clear if the recent killing led to the government’s decision to reconsider the law.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who was on the committee this week following the death of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, said at the time the purpose of the delay was to introduce a new government-backed bill that would seek to protect women while at the same time there is an increased emphasis on protecting men from false accusations.

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

A report released in November by the Department of Welfare and Social Affairs showed that the department received 5,712 domestic violence complaints between January and October 2022 – a 3.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Of the reports, 3,432 concerned violence against women in a relationship, 184 reports were from men who were victims of abuse in a relationship, and 1,266 concerned violence against children by a family member.

The data also showed that more people sought help from social centers that support victims of domestic violence. Around 21,491 people sought help in 2021, compared to around 19,337 people in 2020 – an 11% increase.

According to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, 24 women were “murdered for being women” last year, a 50% increase from the 16 such murders in 2021. Half of those murders occurred in the Arab community, which is just 21% matters. the population.

While there is little data on false allegations of domestic violence, researchers around the world agree that the number of actual assaults far outweighs the number of false claims. There is also the problem of the number of unreported cases, which are missing from the official statistics.

Michael Bachner contributed to this report.

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