Analysis: Israeli rights groups fail to blame illegals for violence against women

As a movement protesting violence against women gains steam in Israel, online magazine Mida argues that the movement’s leaders miss the mark when they blame the state for violence against Eritrean women committed by their own men. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Eritrean women in Israel are victims of spousal violence at a rate vastly greater than the rest of the population. Yet, women’s organizations in Israel give the real perpetrators — their husbands — a pass and instead lay the blame on the State of Israel, online magazine Mida reports.

Citing statistics from Israel’s welfare services, Mida says that 14 percent of women in shelters for battered women are Eritrean, while they make up only 0.17 percent of Israel’s female population.

The executive director of the Center for Eritrean Women says an astonishing 70 percent of the community’s women are victims of violence, Mida also reports. She admits that “men in the community are violent.”

The phenomenon of violence by male infiltrators (as illegals are called in Israel) against their women, and on occasion Israeli women, is well-documented, yet women’s groups and migrant aid groups who compile the evidence, refuse to blame the men who engage in it.

Mida cites a document of migrant aid groups revealing that many Eritrean women don’t complain to the police about the abuse because they are “afraid of criticism or ostracism from the community if they complain against their violent partner.”

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The document also says that male migrants force community women to provide sex services, putting the women at risk of “sexually transmitted diseases and social ostracism.”

When men illegally in Israel abandon their wives and children, migrant aid groups say they so out of “despair, frustration and helplessness” caused by the state. Similarly, illegals who remain in Israel and become addicted to gambling or drugs, actions these organizations refer to euphemistically as “non-optimal strategies,” do so out of “distress.”

Physical violence is explained away by “terrible economic distress.” As it turned out, the murderer of Eritrean teen Silvana Cigai on Nov. 26 was one of the richest members of the Eritrean community with hundreds of thousands of shekels in his bank account.

Set against the state

Despite the evidence pointing to a culture of violence among Eritrean males, migrant and women’s organizations not only refrain from calling for action against them but instead criticize the state’s practice of sending illegals who committed crimes to a detention center in the Israel’s south.

Instead, the aid organizations charge that Israeli law regarding the illegal migrants creates stress on the community, which in turn generates violence within the family, Mida says.

The organizations also argue that the procedure for sending violent men to the detention facility “deters women from filing complaints against domestic violence, lest they end up without their family’s source of income.”

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“How can violence be treated without punishing the violent? They do not offer an answer,” Mida reported, adding that the migrant group’s document “doesn’t demand the minimum of personal responsibility from the illegals.”

Mida also notes that blaming the illegals’ difficult economic situation doesn’t hold water, noting that Israel Hayom reported that one-third of  illegals earn more than NIS 9,000 a month, and 10 percent earn over NIS 12,000. The figures include only officially reported work. Many illegals are paid off the books.

Despite these figures, the women’s organizations present the infiltrators as beggars who have no choice but to resort to violence, and to abandon their families, Mida says.

The online magazine also takes women’s organizations to task for failing to address violence perpetrated by illegals on Israeli women, pointing to a recent incident in Netanya where Olympia Haviv was attacked by an Eritrean illegal, who first tried to rape her and and whe she resisted, beat her with a brick. Haviv remains in a coma in critical condition.

Women in south Tel Aviv, where most of the illegals are concentrated, have also testified to the fear of living in these neighborhoods.