Today (Sunday), the government approved a proposal of the Minister of Welfare and Social Security, MK Meir Cohen, and Minister of Public Security, Omer Barlev, to expand the powers of the inter-ministerial committee to investigate femicide cases. According to the expanded measures, these will now include the murder of women by family members other than their spouses.

The government established the inter-ministerial committee to investigate cases of femicide in 2002, and it currently operates as a sub-committee of the inter-ministerial committee for the treatment and prevention of domestic violence headed by the Ministry of Welfare.

A report from the beginning of the year points to cautious optimism regarding data on the murder of women in Israel by their partners and family members. The number of femicide deaths at the time of the report—16—constituted a 24% drop from 2020’s figures.

However, the report also points to a troubling increase in the murder of mothers by their sons, which constituted a quarter of all femicide cases in 2021.

The Israel Observatory on Femicide (IOF) headed by Dr. Shalva Weil at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Seymour Fox School of Education, which provides qualitative and quantitative data on femicide, reported on a total of 16 femicides in Israel over the 2021 year, down from 21 murders in 2020, during the lockdown period at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 16 cases, six were perpetrated by the women’s partners, four by their sons (matricide), and two by their brothers. At the time of the report the identity of four of the perpetrators remained unknown.