Honor killing in Israel puts police in hot seat

Monday, December 17, 2012 |  Israel Today Staff

The recent murder of a 16-year-old Israeli Arab girl by her brother for the sake of "family honor" has many howling at the Israel Police for doing too little to eliminate the phenomenon of so-called "honor killings."

The murder occurred about three weeks ago, when 24-year-old Ahmed al-Assam slit the throat of his sister, Aisha, following a heated argument about her relationship with another boy.

Aisha had previously moved in with her boyfriend, but had returned home at her parents' urging, and with promises that she would come to no harm at the hands of her brother.

After breaking that promise, Ahmed reportedly stepped outside his family home in a Bedouin suburb of Beersheva and declared, "I killed her."

Ahmed then called police and turned himself in. He was officially indicted on Sunday.

As Ahmed's trial got underway, his lawyer lambasted the police department for allegedly ignoring pleas by Aisha's boyfriend that her life was in danger.

According to accusations made, after her return home, Aisha's boyfriend tried to file an official report with police regarding Ahmed's violent intentions towards his sister. The boyfriend was reportedly told that everything would be fine, and that the complaint would have to wait.

Police officials responded vaguely, noting that they had contacted social services regarding the case, but could not take any direct action on their own.

Israeli authorities are often put in a difficult position when it comes to such cases. On the one hand, they are obligated to protect and serve all Israeli citizens. On the other hand, the Jewish authorities are typically condemned for what is seen as interfering in minority societies.

More often than not, Israel will be accused of trying to "Judaize" the country when the government steps in to enforce Israeli law and order. In the meantime, helpless victims like Aisha are subjected to barbaric behavior no one seems able to willing to put a stop to.

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