by Davide Frattini, our correspondent in Jerusalem
The young Arab-Israeli 28-year-old broke the omert for women’s rights. She said she doesn’t feel safe: the government and the police don’t guarantee us protection
The explosives placed under the car, a mafia-style execution to silence a girl who wouldn’t shut up. Or to punish them for a certain rudeness, for a lack of family honor. They killed her like the many others she had tried to defend in recent years, a massacre in that massacre that is the killings in the Israeli Arab community: already 35 in these first five and a half months of the year, including five women.
father and mother
In Shfaram, a village that became commoners in the north of the country, everyone knew Johara, as everyone knew that surname: Khanifs. Father deputy mayor for twenty years, grandfather among the leaders of the Druze, close to Labour, MP for two terms in the newly born Diet. In order for Johara to learn to fight for rights, her mother became involved in the city’s gender equality department. Speaking to Arab48, she had said that she didn’t feel safe, she hadn’t made it into personal threats out of fear for herself: we’re all exposed, there’s no place for us in society, the government and the Police do not guarantee us protection.
Murders between Arab Israelis
Last year, 70 percent of all killings in Israel occurred among Arabs, even though they make up only 20 percent of the population. According to the Israel Democracy Institute, 1,574 Arabs have been killed since 2000, 4.3 percent by the police (68) and the rest by other Arabs. Precisely to obtain the funds and interventions against the internal violence, Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist Ra’am party, decided 12 months ago to join the coalition, becoming the first Arab politician to seek greater equality for these citizens from within to reach government. managed to find an interlocutor in Labor Omer Barlev, Minister for Public Safety, who admits: we cannot ignore the situation by saying ‘as long as they kill each other’ is not our problem.
Tombstones lined up
Johara, 28, had tried to break the silence on femicide, the omert that slows and misleads investigations (most murders remain unsolved). In her case, the police are convinced that a relative may be involved and, for the time being, rule out a policy of revenge against the father. Men are responding to women who are demanding more and more freedom and are increasingly taking it out of the home: while unemployment among Arab men rose, between 2001 and 2018 women’s gainful employment doubled. In the cemetery in Lod, not far from Tel Aviv, the gravestones of the Abu Ghanems line up, a succession of crimes in the family, fathers killing their daughters, brothers punishing their sisters: from Hamda who once heard stopped talking to boys, to Shirihan, who had spoken out against forced marriage.
We lost a jewel
Israel has lost a jewel, a brave young woman. Their cowardly killing must spur us on to renew our efforts so that all women can live in peace and security, comments Thomas Nides, the US Ambassador. Khanifs had participated in a State Department program for anti-violence activists. Recently, she and her mother appeared in a video that was broadcast on Arabic channels and social media. In trousers and a black T-shirt, he and other women greet visitors who express their condolences to the grieving family after a murder that was only fleeting in the video. Everyone has seen the flames of their burned out car.
June 9, 2022 (change June 9, 2022 | 23:12)
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