Knesset in Last-Minute Battered Women Legislation

Bill grants NIS 8,000 to 10,000 bonus for women who stay in battered women's shelters, in what critics see as anti-family legislation.

Gil Ronen ,

Prime Minister visits a battered women's shel
Prime Minister visits a battered women's shel
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee has approved the final version of a bill granting an acclimitization stipend to a woman who stayed in a battered women's shelter. The bill is now ready for the Knesset to vote upon in the second and third readings, and is expected to pass just as the Knesset is about to dissolve itself pending new elections.

The law grants a woman who stayed in a battered women's shelter for at least two months, and who has been assigned a rehabilitation program, NIS 8,000, plus NIS 1,000 for every child she has with her. The law stipulates that the extra payment for children will not exceed NIS 2,000.

The woman will receive the payment only if she does not go back to living with her spouse. The recipient does not need to prove that she has been abused in order to receive the stipend.

The bill was drafted by two extreme leftist parties, Meretz and the communist Hadash.

Critics of the law see it as part of a large body of legislaion that gives women who file complaints of violence against their husbands a clear advantage in divorce proceedings. While the importance of intervention in cases of abuse is undisputed, the Israeli system does not penalize women for false accusations. As a result, lawyers representing women are known to encourage false accusations as a divorce tactic.