Hundreds protest murder of Arab woman in central Israel

Hundreds protested in the Arab city of Tira after a 39-year-old woman was murdered by her ex-husband. Arab MKs: The police must take responsibility for ignoring threats against her life.

By Yael Marom

Arab politicians and activists protest the murder of Suha Mansour, Tira, northern Israel, November 7, 2015. (photo courtesy of the Joint List)
Arab politicians and activists protest the murder of Suha Mansour, Tira, northern Israel, November 7, 2015. (photo courtesy of the Joint List)

Hundreds of Arab citizens of Israel, including members of Knesset, local leaders and activists demonstrated last Saturday in the northern Arab city of Tira following the murder of Suha Mansour, a resident of the city.

On the evening of Thursday, November 5, Mansour’s body was found in her car, after she was shot a number of times from close range. Mansour, a 39-year-old educator, social activist, and mother of four from Tira, was in the process of getting a divorce from her second husband, which went into effect the day before her murder. A week before her death, she filed a complaint with the police, in which she stated tat her life was in danger. People close to her say that this was third complaint she had filed against her former husband, who was briefly interrogated three times and released. Now, just days after her body was found, he is still walking free.

Tira Mayor, Mamoun Abed Alhi, who was among the demonstrators, condemned the murder, stating that “condemnations are not enough, we also need to act,” calling on the police to confiscate the large amount of weapons in Arab towns.

Suha Mansour

Among the protestors was member of Knesset Aida Tuma-Suleiman (Joint List), who heads the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality. She wrote the following message on Facebook the day after the murder:

The murder of educator Suha Mansour from Tira is horrifying, saddening, and angering. The murder of a young woman, a mother of four, in her car at the entrance to her home is a testament to just how low these criminals have stooped.

This disgraceful crime comes as no surprise. The societal infrastructure gives legitimacy to violence against women while others stand idly by helplessly, allowing the murders to continue unabated… while on the other side we face negligence by the authorities and the government when it comes to the security of women. Several months ago we said goodbye to educator Raeda Najm, and now we are saying goodbye from another educator, as well as Tasneem Abu Qweidr and Bahi Mana’, all of whom were murdered in cold blood.

I stress that Suha filing a complaint with the police a week ago on the danger she faced leads us to lay the blame on the police, and calls for us to put additional pressure so that it works to protect women.

I call on all women and teenage girls living under the threat of violence and who sense that their lives are in danger to speak out, to not back down from attempts to silence them, and that they seek help from every organization or authority. The life of every woman is precious, and she must have the right to seek out security.

MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) also took part in the protest. “Only two or three of the dozens of murder cases were solved by the police,” Zoabi said. “This is the same police that arrests Arabs because of things they write on Facebook. This is the same police that harasses protesters and arrests dozens. The police do everything to maintain “security,” yet leave the Arabs to die, letting the murderers roam free.”

Zoabi directed some of her remarks at Tira’s mayor: “What has the head of the local council done? Nothing. He can give the police an ultimatum, and to force it to contend with what we have been saying for over a decade. The mayor has a responsibility for what happens in his city, as well as for the fact that he does nothing to stop the police’s violent and dangerous actions.”

“There may may be those who prefer that women just shut up and accept their fate,” Zoabi added, “but Suha did not give in. Even after her death, she will serve as an example for us.”

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

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