Oppose Istanbul Convention? You don't care when women are abused - opinion

Published date30 May 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Recently, certain groups in Israel have employed this same strategy in the context of violence against women and domestic violence. It's hard to believe, but in the year 2022 there is a campaign against gender equality and reducing gender-based violence. So why isn't everyone up in arms? Because it's disguised as a rational campaign against the Istanbul Convention. This campaign is wrought with lies and misrepresentations. It is important to understand this fake-news and why signing the Convention is a critical next step for Israel

The Istanbul Convention, or, by its full name, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, is the gold standard for fighting violence against women. Entered into force in May 2014 in Istanbul, the Convention is a road map for states to follow for an all-around solution to this problem that plagues societies around the world, regardless of race, religion or economic status.

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The Convention consists of four pillars: prevention, prosecution, protection and coordinated policies. To date, forty-five countries have signed the Convention. Should Israel sign, it will be the first non-European country to do so.

Signing the Convention will bring Israel a major step closer to eradicating gender violence and will protect thousands of women and children. This is extremely relevant in light of the dramatic rise in the rate of domestic violence in Israel, mainly since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Despite many committees on the issue, Israel's existing strategy to curb gender-based violence continues to fail, as was sharply demonstrated just last year in the State Comptroller's Report. A major factor hindering the system is a critical lack of coordination between the various state bodies involved (law enforcement, the legal system, welfare, legislation, and so on). The Convention provides a road map for correcting this.

In November 2021, in what was hailed as a victory for women in Israel, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid publicly committed to promoting the Convention for signature by Israel. In January 2022, the Foreign Ministry sent an official request to the Council of Europe to sign. The Council's formal invitation to Israel now awaits a final confirmation vote by the government.

With victory in sight, opponents to...

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