Netanyahu Miriam Alster/Flash90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that violence against women is a form of terrorism, telling a newly-established ministerial committee that Israel needs to crackdown on domestic abuse, including harsher punishments on abusive male spouses and partners.

Formed against the backdrop of mass protests and strikes calling for the repeal of looser gun ownership regulations and other measures activists believe will curb the number of murders of women in Israel, the government formed a new ministerial committee focused on reducing violence against women.

The committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, met for the first time Wednesday morning, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Social Welfare Minister Haim Katz, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel in attendance.

During the committee’s first meeting, Netanyahu pushed to fast-track legislation permitting the use of GPS tags or ‘electronic handcuffing’ on male abusers.

Netanyahu called for a two-pronged approach to domestic abuse against women, with increased spending on services for battered women, along with harsher punishments for abusers to deter future acts of violence.

"This is the first meeting of the committee on the fight against violence against women which I chair. I do not chair many committees,” said Netanyahu. “The committees that I chair usually see activity and results, such as the Ministerial Committee on National Security [the Security Cabinet], the committee on the Jewish community from Ethiopia and on regulation.”

“This committee is important and I intend to bring about two results – one for the victims and one for those who carry out the crime. The victims are women who suffer violence and abuse and we are committed to implementing the existing plans.”

Netanyahu compared domestic abuse to terrorism, and said Israel needs to take firmer action against violent husbands and boyfriends, whom he said needed a “punch in the face”.

“The second thing is to deal with the violent men. I see violence against women as terrorism in every respect. We do not deal with terrorism only by caring for the victim; of course it is necessary to care for the victims of terrorism. But nobody would dare consider that we fight terrorism without dealing with the terrorists. First and foremost there needs to be punishment for these criminals.”

“The state must give assistance to battered women and children, and we are doing so, but on the other hand, 'punch in the face' the abusive husbands. We must do both things together. We have much work to do on both.”