Netanyahu calls violence against women ‘terrorism’ following a rally by 30,000 in Tel Aviv

JTA

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Violence against women is “terrorism,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a day after some 30,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to protest violence against women and girls.

Netanyahu, who is heading a special ministerial committee to deal with the fight against domestic violence, said he has prepared a “multi-year plan to bolster the battle, give police and welfare authorities tools and step up punishments. As far as I’m concerned, the order to police has been that the issue is a top priority.”

The prime minister said would make use of money budgeted for the issue but never used.

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“You don’t handle terrorism by only treating the victim,” he said. “No one would imagine fighting terrorism without handling the terrorists. Those who can be rehabilitated will be. But primarily we need punishment for these criminals.”

The committee will immediately promote legislation to force abusive men to wear an electronic bracelet.

The rally at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv capped off a day of protests and memorials, including a 24-minute silence observed starting at 10 a.m. in memory of the 24 women and girls killed since the beginning of the year. Major intersections in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were blocked, and protests took place in large and small cities throughout the country.

To illustrate the issue, more than 200 pairs of women’s shoes, painted red, were placed in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square.