Man suspected of murdering pregnant wife in northern Israel

A woman was found dead in an apartment in northern Israel early Friday morning, in what appeared to be a deadly case of domestic violence.

The husband was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder shortly after paramedics declared her dead at their home in Nof Hagalil, a northern town formerly known as Nazareth Illit.

Rasmia Barbur’s husband had called police and said he’d killed his wife shortly before 1 a.m. on Friday. The couple’s three-year-old son was at home at the time of the suspected murder.

Paramedics from the Magen David Adom rescue service who responded to the call said Barbur was found with wounds indicating she had been stabbed and had no pulse.

The couple were members of Nof Hagalil’s Arab community, Haaretz reported. There was no history of contact with social services.

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The killing appeared to be the first case of deadly violence against a woman by a partner or relative in Israel since the start of 2022. In 2021, 16 women were killed by someone they knew, down from 21 killings a year earlier, according to statistics compiled by Bar-Ilan University.

View of the majority Jewish city of Nazareth-Illit, now called Nof Hagalil, built alongside Arab Nazareth, on August 10, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash 90)

However, the killing seemingly added to the swiftly mounting tally of slayings in the Arab community. Since the start of the year six Arabs, including the woman, have been killed in criminal cases, continuing a trend that saw a record 126 killings in 2021.

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly by organized crime.

Arab Israelis blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars, and violence against women. The community has also suffered from decades of neglect.

Recently, government officials have championed separate plans meant to address both violence against women and violence in Arab society.

Israeli Arabs protest against violence, organised crime and recent killings among their communities, in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, February 5, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)

Budget plans passed late last year call for billions of shekels over the next five years to be funneled toward addressing violence in Arab society and developing the community’s economy.

Separately, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, who also chairs a new ministerial committee on gender equality, announced in November the allocation of NIS 155 million (approximately $50 million) for a national plan to combat violence against women.

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