A mother of seven was shot to death overnight Saturday, August 11, outside her home in the Negev Arab-Bedouin village of Abu Sulb. Police have opened an investigation but have yet to arrest a suspect in the murder of Nura Abu Sulb, 36. The victim’s husband, from whom she was separated, is currently serving a prison term after having been convicted in August 2017 for aggravated assault and battery against her. This was his second conviction for violence against his wife.
Police said they are investigating various leads “including disapproval of Nura Abu Sulb’s lifestyle by some of the men in the community.” Social and feminist activist women held a demonstration on Monday, August 13, outside the regional police station to protest the failure of law enforcement authorities to protect women’s lives.
“Nura’s cruel murder was perpetrated because she was a woman; this constitutes yet another stain on the negligent behavior of the authorities and another of their failures to protect women’s lives,” declared an open letter published by women social activists. “We demand that the local Arab leadership in the Negev and the national leadership clearly and unequivocally condemn this despicable act of murder and denounce the murderers and their twisted worldview.”
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), a prominent feminist activist, and founder of the Women against Violence Association commented: “The media continue to attack this woman by referring to the ‘suspicion of honor killing’ and refuse to internalize what we have said for years – women are murdered because they are women, by those who think they can dictate their way of life and choices. There is no honor in murder, and it is impossible to connect honor to a violent act of taking life. Using such concepts, together with barely representing the victims who are a world by themselves relative to the murderers, only preserves the patriarchal structure.”
Attorney Ainsaf Abu Sharb, a prominent social activist and one of the organizers of a demonstration held in the Negev on Monday, told Haaretz, “Our protest is a reaction to the murder and is meant to break the silence; this in the shadow of the silence of the leadership, both in the Negev and nationally, which hasn’t said a word against this murder. It is our duty as activists to strongly denounce this murder. We want to put discussing these gender-based murders on the agenda.” She added, “We don’t want to collaborate with the silence but instead to send a message to women who are in such situations that we will do everything possible to prevent the next murder.” Abu Sharb called on the police to work more closely with social services to prevent the murder of women by violent partners.