Haifa man charged with murdering wife as Knesset to vote on domestic violence bill

A Haifa man was charged with murder for allegedly killing his wife last month after she left him, prosecutors said Monday, hours before the Knesset was set to vote on a bill to allow the electronic tracking of domestic violence offenders.

Marun Kalasani, 54, is accused of murdering his 51-year-old wife, Samar Kalasani. It was not known if the couple was previously known to welfare authorities.

According to the indictment, Marun Kalasani had moved out of the family home into his mother’s apartment amid tensions within the marriage.

He saw his wife at a family event in June, and realized that she did not plan on the couple resuming living together.

According to the indictment, Marun decided to kill his wife and, armed with tear gas and a kitchen knife, took a taxi to her home.

Prosecutors said Marun sat and watched the building, then broke in via a neighbor’s balcony.

Police officers at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide attempt in Haifa on June 12, 2022. (Israel Police)

The couple’s daughter was sitting in the living room, and surprised by her father, began to shout. Marun sprayed her with tear gas, pushed her out of the apartment and locked the door.

He then stabbed Samar 13 times in the abdomen and back, while his daughter and mother-in-law banged on the front door and tried to enter the apartment.

By the time paramedics arrived, Samar was in critical condition. She succumbed to her wounds at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. Her estranged husband, who had turned his knife on himself after allegedly stabbing her to death, was hospitalized in serious condition.

Samar Kalasani’s killing came amid a notable increase in incidents of deadly violence against women, with a number of murders in recent months.

Demonstrators outside Yair Lapid’s Tel Aviv home hold signs with images of women who have been killed, June 25, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

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

However, the Knesset was set to vote on Monday on a bill relating to the use of technological tracking to enforce restraining orders in cases of domestic abuse.

Labor MK Naama Lazimi welcomed the legislation, saying it would make an enormous difference to the lives of victims.

“Instead of women and children fleeing to a shelter, they will be able to continue their everyday lives while their safety and freedom is maintained,” she tweeted.

Under the proposed legislation, GPS technology would be used to ensure that an offender does not come within a distance specified by a restraining order.

Naama Lazimi attends a meeting of the Labor party in Tel Aviv, March 24, 2021 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In addition, on Thursday, hours after it voted to disperse itself, the Knesset took steps to combat the issue by passing legislation to prevent the disclosure, during a criminal trial, of information provided by the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault in the course of psychiatric treatment.

Last week, dozens of demonstrators protested violence against women outside the home of then-foreign minister Yair Lapid, who has since assumed the premiership.

Yair Lapid speaks with demonstrators against violence against women outside his Tel Aviv home, June 25, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The demonstration was held after four women were recently murdered in the space of seven days. Protesters carried signs depicting the faces of women killed over the past few years.

According to researchers at the Hebrew University-based Israel Observatory on Femicide, June was the deadliest month this year so far for the murder of women.

A study by the center examining the first half of 2022 found a 71 percent increase in femicide relative to the same period last year.

The center said in a January report that there were 16 cases of women murdered in Israel by a relative or a partner throughout 2021, and 21 cases in 2020.

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