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WIZO Marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

For the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, WIZO shined a spotlight on men caught in the cycle of domestic violence with a conference, a campaign and special benefit concert with all proceeds going to familes suffering from domestic violence

November 27, 2018

Each year on November 25th WIZO marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. Combatting the abuse of women is one of the main pillars of WIZO's work in Israel. This year WIZO focused on men caught in the cycle of domestic violence. WIZO dealt with this imporant issue from a few different directions via the following initiatives:

WIZO Campaign for Prevention of Violence - "A man is not born violent"

In an effort to educate and raise awareness on the subject of men caught up in the cycle of domestic violence, this year WIZO produced a new video campaign led by and featuring award-winning Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi

WIZO operates a hotline for men caught in the cycle of domestic violence, the number for which appears at the end of the video above. Established five years ago, the hotline works with over a thousand men each year, who call in for advice and support, either before or after they find themselves on the wrong side of the equation of domestic abuse. It is the only anonymous open line in Israel for these men.  The hotline is operated only by men, making the conversation more comfortable for the men calling who seek help.

Statistics from WIZO's Domestic Violence Index

Each year, in advance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, WIZO releases its Domestic Violence Index. The data was collected by WIZO from the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Health, the courts system and the Israel police. According to this year's report, the number of women murdered by their relatives since the beginning of 2018 has continued to rise and stands at 22 - a 30% increase from last year. 


(Photo credit: YNet) 

WIZO's findings show:

  • 22 women have been murdered in Israel so far this year, compared to 17 in all of 2017.
  • In the past decade, 192 women have been murdered in Israel.
  • About half of the women murdered in the past two years had filed complaints with the police.
  • More than 13,000 women have been treated for abuse in battered women's centers across Israel.
  • In total, 200,000 battered women live in Israel, as well as half a million children who witnessed abuse. 
  • The police open an average of 50 domestic violence cases on a daily basis.

WIZO Israel Conference 

On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, WIZO Israel's Division for the Advancement of the Status of Women held its annual conference in Tel Aviv on the subject of violence against women in Israel with a focus this year on men caught in the cycle of violence.

WIZO believes that the solutions to the problem of domestic violence should be varied and expanded in such a way that we will treat the men as well, thus seeing them not only as part of the problem but also as a central part of the solution.

The conference focused on a number of questions.

  • What is the experience of a violent man from his point of view?
  • What is the therapeutic process that a violent man can undergo?
  • What will help him stay and persevere in the treatment and perhaps even get out of the cycle of violence?  

Opening greetings were delivered by MK Gila Gamliel - Minister of Social Equality, MK Aida Toma Suleiman - Chairperson of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, Oshra Friedman - Deputy Chaiirperson of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women, Eti Burkin - Chairperson of WIZO's Division for the Advancement of the Status of Womenand Gila Oshrat - Chairperson of WIZO Israel

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MK Aida Toma Suleiman

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MK Gila Gamliel 

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Left to right: Oshra Friedman, Gila Oshrat , and Eti Burkin

Honoring Gail Perl, co-President of WIZO USA

WIZO then saluted Gail Perl, the co-President of WIZO USA, for her "significant contribution to the treatment and prevention of domestic violence in Israel". In recent years, WIZO NY, under Gail's leadership, has become a strategic partner in WIZO's efforts in this area, providing millions of dollars of support for a wide range of projects and programs, including matching funds which enable WIZO to bring in additional funders. In her remarks Gail thanked WIZO Israel saying, "We know that the people of Israel look to WIZO to lead the fight against domestic violence, to innovate new and better ways to treat and prevent, to educate and to advocate. It is only because of the hard work being done here, by many of the people in this room, that WIZO USA has the privilege to do our small part. We are honored and grateful that we have been able to become partners with WIZO in this battle. Please know that we are very aware of the challenges that face you, of the hard work you do – and that we stand by you always."

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Left to right: Gila Oshrat, Gail Perl, and Eti Burkin

A Special Memorial Ceremony

Then a special ceremony was conducted in memory of all the women murdered in Israel in the past year. 

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The names of the women murdered in Israel this year were projected on the screen and read aloud.

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Memorial plaques bearing the names of each of the women murdered in Israel this year 

WIZO Study: Men Caught in the Cycle of Domestic Violence

WIZO, in cooperation with Bar-Ilan University and the Ministry of Welfare conducted a qualitative study, first of its kind kind in Israel - among men who have completed or completed a treatment process for at least six months. The study, which was presented by Dr. Anat Ben-Porat of Bar-Ilan University, was aimed at making the voices of the violent men sound louder: their experiences and their point of view during the crisis, their anger and disappointment. The study examined the therapeutic process from the male point of view, examined the factors that kept it them therapy until its conclusion, and examined the need to refine ways to find a space for a common dialogue in which men can express their distress alongside the rejection of their violent behavior. As part of the conference, the findings of the study were revealed for the first time. The study was entitled: What do we know about violent men in therapy and what else we need to know.

The next session was a series of short talks by experts in the field of domestic violence. The speakers included, Malka Genihovsky - Director of the Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Violence at WIZO, Shirley Kantor - Corporate Responsibility Consultant and Social Marketing Expert, social worker Hagai Moyal - National Inspector of the Centers for the Prevention of Violence in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and clinical psychologist David Banai.

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Marketing expert Shirley Kantor holds up a promotional booklet on domestic violence that reads "From the outside, everything looks just wonderful"

The conference concluded with a special musical program by social worker Tamir Ashman, Director of the Men's Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University, who showed what popular songs about men reveal under the surface.


One of the most emotional parts of the conference was when Irena Maayan Kadayev, a young women who has been exposed to domestic violence, her mother was a victim of domestic violence and they were treated and lived at a WIZO women's shelter, sang so beautifully for the audience. There was not a dry eye in the house.

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Irena Maayan Kadayev

WIZO Benefit Evening Against Domestic Violence - "Nobody Gets Up" an evening of music of the legendary Israeli comedy trio HaGashash Ha'Chiver

On Monday night November 26th, WIZO Israel hosted a special sold out benefit concert at The Opera House in Tel Aviv's Performing Arts Center featuring music from the legendary Israeli comedy trio HaGashash HaHiver with 1300 people in attendance. The concert's title, "Nobody Gets Up" was taken from of one of the trio's popular songs.

The event, which was held to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, was produced by WIZO Israel, led by Director Sarit Arbel and Fundraising Director Poly Meschiany. All proceeds from the concert went to families affected by domestic violence.

The event was opened by WIZO Israel Chairperson Gila Oshrat, who thanked all the donors and all the participants in the event, spoke about the activities of WIZO Israel and its struggle against violence against women and called on donors and supporters to continue their efforts to eradicate violence.

The show featured many famous Israeli artists including Uri Banai and Ariel Poliakov, sons of two of the orginal members of the Hagashash Ha'Chiver trio, Gavri Banai and Israel (Poly) Pollyakov. Also performing were Dror Keren, Ben Artzi, Dvir Benedek, Daniel Salomon, Dori Ben Zeev, Liron Lev, Alon Neumann, Peter Roth and a trio of female comedians Tamar Shem Or, Yael Yekel and Hadar Shahaf Maayan.


The audience got a special treat when Gavri Banai, from the original Hagashash Ha'Chiver trio, made a guest appearance in the show.


Gavri Banai (center) gives a special guest performance at the WIZO benefit

The audience thoroughly enjoyed the evening of musice and humor of Israeli nostalgia at its best.

"This unique production is in line with WIZO's activities, which are intertwined with Israeli society," said Professor Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of the World WIZO. More importantly, tonight's concert raised money to prevent and treat domestic violence. Thanks to WIZO, hundreds of women and their children are able to find a warm home and have a new opportunity to live without violence."

"WIZO is at the forefront in many areas regarding prevention and treatment of domestic violence including important legislation," Prof. Lazovsky said. "I am so proud of the work WIZO is doing in this area. As I travel around the world representing WIZO, I can attest that many countries around the globe are eager to learn from our WIZO experience so that together can all make this world a safer place."

Photo Credits: Efrat Ben-Yosef, WIZO Israel