Women hold general strike over increased violence in Israel
Women attend a protest against violence against women in Tel Aviv, Israel. | AP

Tens of thousands of women held a general strike with protests across Israel and the Occupied Territories yesterday over Tel Aviv’s failure to deal with a rise in violence against women.

More than 30,000 attended a rally in Habima Square in central Tel Aviv where activists placed 200 pairs of women’s shoes painted red as organisers told the crowds: “Today we made history. Today the silence on the violence against women has turned to screams.”

The strike followed the murder of two girls last week – Silvana Tsegai, 12, in south Tel Aviv and Yara Ayoub, 16, in Jish. They were the 23rd and 24th women to be murdered in Israel in 2018.

Protesters have accused the Israeli government of silence over the murder of women with a 2017 Knesset report finding that 35 per cent of those killed had filed complaints with the police prior to their deaths.

Hundreds of institutions including the Knesset, trade unions and civil society organisations backed yesterday’s strikes which were organised by the Red Flag Coalition, itself made up of more than 50 feminist organisations.

They are demanding money that was promised in 2016 as part of an emergency plan to prevent violence against women is released by the government and additional funding is given for educational programmes.

On Sunday women held a protest outside an Israeli cabinet meeting holding up signs reading: “Prime Minister Netanyahu, wake up! The blood of women is not cheap, don’t allow us to die. Violence starts in the corridors of power.”

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar, who has been held in administrative detention in an Israeli prison since July 2017, highlighted the impact of the occupation on women.

“We Palestinian women in the occupation’s prisons, who see ourselves as an inseparable part of the national and global feminist movement, send our support for protesting women wherever they are.

“We hope the struggle for the end of all forms of discrimination, violence, and exploitation continues. We believe that it is impossible to separate a national struggle against occupation from our social struggle.”

Organisers vowed to continue the struggle for women’s rights and bring an end to violence.

“We’re in the midst of a show of force by women, one which gives hope, and we won’t remain quiet until women’s lives are put at the top of the national agenda,” they said in a statement.

According to the Communist Party of Israel, the Social Workers’ Union joined the protest as well, and its members were called to attend the rally in Tel Aviv. The union’s chairwoman, Inbal Hermoni, called on the government to immediately transfer the 250 million shekels ($67 million) it had committed to allocate to an emergency plan for prevention of violence against women.

On Monday, activists dyed water in the fountains across Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa red to protest the government’s disregard for women’s lives. The nation’s cities have been awash with faux blood splattered on sidewalks or on urban walls — or spouting from fountains. In Jerusalem, water in the Paris Square fountain facing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence and in the Lions Fountain in the stately neighborhood of Yemin Moshe was also dyed blood red.

Morning Star

Communist Party of Israel contributed to this article.


Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney

Steve Sweeney writes for the Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. He is also a People's Assembly National Committee member, patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, and a proud trade unionist.