An estimated 30,000 people attended a rally at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against domestic abuse towards women on Tuesday night.
The rally concluded a day of mass protests calling on governmental action after 24 women were murdered this year.
Thousands had earlier participated in a nationwide strike across Israel.
NA’AMAT-Movement of Working Women & Volunteers activists began the protest by placing names of the murdered women over main street names in Tel Aviv while demonstrators holding ‘Stop Killing Women’ signs forced road closures.
A display of red shoes dominated Habima Square and 150 protesters wore black and carried coffins in a “mourning’ march in the city as flights were delayed at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Protesters also blocked main roads in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and dozens of Hadera and Herzliya Municipality employees joined women’s groups in a 24-minute commemoration rally.
Many women posted photos on social media with the caption “emergency situation” to signify what has been the worst death toll since 2011.
And joint Jewish-Arab demonstrations took place as thousands of students demonstrated at university campuses in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and high schools.
Prominent feminist speakers included Malka Piotrkowsky of the Israel Women’s Network.
There were calls for authorities to hand out harsher punishment to murderers and ensure violent men attend anger management workshops be law.
‘Honour’ killings were slated and pleas for increased resources to combat domestic abuse were called for from the government.
Statistics from Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) detail a worrying trend of murders up from 13 (2014 and 2015) and 16 (2017).
Legislation for a parliamentary committee of inquiry failed in a Knesset vote last month.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a ministerial committee in the aftermath of criticism but mass criticism ensued.
A coalition of women’s rights groups under the banner ‘Degel Adom’ organised the protests.
“This is a historic turning point,” noted a statement.
“Tens of thousands of women from all parts of Israeli society are planning to strike to prove once and for all that 51 percent of the population is not a minority.
“On Tuesday, we will demand an immediate solution to violence against women. The government cannot continue to hesitate while women are being murdered.”
Organisers want the government to fulfil a NIS 250 million commitment to fund programs
for victims of domestic abuse and reforms in police treatment of domestic abuse cases.
Tel Aviv municipality was among the first to join the strike, announcing Saturday it would allow female employees to strike without having pay deducted.
But the Civil Service Commission, Finance Ministry and Union of Local Authorities in Israel announced protesters would be deducted a day’s salary.
In what became a bitter dispute, supporters of protests backed campaigners to raise the profile for change.
Supportive Israeli municipalities included Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva, Ramat Gan, Modi’in and Rishon LeZion.
Super-Pharm, eBay Israel, supermarkets Tiv Ta’am and Rami Levy, IsrAir, Dizengoff Center, Haaretz Group and Israel Post were among large and small organisations backing the strike.