Mother-of-five found dead at construction site in suspected murder; man arrested

Police on Friday said officers arrested a suspect after a woman in her 30s was found dead at a construction site in the Sharon region.

The suspected murder of 36-year-old Fatima Qatawi, a resident of the Arab town of Zemer, came on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Arabic-language media reports said Qatawi was a mother of five.

Police said her body was found at a construction site in the nearby town of Tel Mond. Law enforcement officials said she worked in the Jewish-majority town.

A suspect in his 40s, also a Zemer resident, was arrested, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the suspect was a relative or otherwise previously acquainted with Qatawi.

Police said he would be brought for a remand hearing at a Petah Tikva court on Saturday.

Illustrative: Police in the town of Tel Mond, July 10, 2018. (Flash90)

Activists have long complained that not enough is done to prevent violence against women in Israel, particularly in cases known to the authorities.

A study by the Hebrew University-based Israel Observatory on Femicide examining the first half of 2022 found a 71 percent increase in femicide relative to the same period last year — 12 compared to seven.

The suspected murder came hours after two young men were shot dead in the town of Tira in central Israel — the latest case of deadly violence in the Arab community.

Arab communities in Israel have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not exclusively, by organized crime.

Arab Israelis blame 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 Arab community has also suffered from decades of neglect.

The Abraham Initiatives, which monitors and campaigns against violence in the Arab community, said 97 Arab Israeli citizens were killed in apparent homicides this year. Another four Palestinians have been killed in Israeli territory.

Thirteen of those killed in violent and crime-related incidents this year were women, the nonprofit said.

Last year, 125 Arabs — an all-time record — were killed in Israel as a result of violence and crime.

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