Lema'an Achai: "Man Poured Gasoline on Sleeping Children"

In today's Jerusalem Post, Ruth Eglash writes about family violence. This is particularly timely, as there were two spouse murders in Israel on Monday this week.

In both cases, it has been reported that the authorities had been informed of the risk, and the wives had requested police protection. Indeed, both alleged murderers had received retraining orders - which they broke, and committed their crimes.

The Jerusalem PostIn the article, Ruth Eglash quotes Shira Bernstein, Director of Social Services at Lema'an Achai, who tells a grim story of a Ramat Bet Shemesh family:

Shira Bernstein, social services director for non-profit Lema’an Achai, which provides a wide range of social services to residents in Ramat Beit Shemesh, said she believed that one of the issues was the lengthy bureaucratic process, between when a woman initially complains about domestic violence to when the man is either prosecuted or jailed.

“It takes a very long time from when the women complain to when the man might be found guilty and during that time there are many stresses,” she explained to the Post. “The children might be angry with their mother for complaining against their father or the family might live in fear that the husband will return at any time.”

Bernstein described one case late last year where just weeks after the mother had complained about her husband and a restraining order had been placed on him, the man returned and attempted to set fire to the house with his family inside.

"It was a horrific situation", she said.
“He poured gasoline on his children while they slept in their beds and then locked himself in the bathroom so he would die, too.”

Luckily, continued Bernstein, “Everyone managed to escape and this extreme act meant the father was immediately jailed, but the family is still afraid he will get out and hurt them.

“Women need to feel more secure after they have complained to the police,” she said, adding that the creation of a national authority to follow up on such cases would be greatly welcomed.



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