Thousands of protesters calling for government action against violence towards women attended rallies across Israel on Tuesday.
Demonstrators holding ‘Stop killing women’ signs forced road closures in a nationwide strike.
A mass display of red shoes in Habima Square in Tel Aviv heralded events throughout the country.
Protesters blocked roads into Jerusalem, the Azrieli Junction in Tel Aviv was closed whilst some 200 protesters gathered in Be’er Sheve’s municipality building.
Twenty-four women murdered due to domestic violence this year were remembered at the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University whilst dozens of Hadera Municipality employees joined women’s groups in a 24-minute commemoration rally.
Herzliya witnessed a similar event.
Many women also posted photos on social media with the caption “emergency situation” to signify what has been the worst death toll since 2011.
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 protests ensued.
A coalition of women’s rights groups under the banner ‘Degel Adom’, meaning ‘Red Flag’ organised events.
“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 called on 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 has fast become a bitter dispute, local authorities backed down from earlier statements that pay would be honoured.
Supportive Israeli municipalities include 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 are among large and small organisations backing the strike.