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We could not save Aya

Image from security camera footage


Aya’s death was caught on security cameras. A woman dressed in white is on the asphalt trying to scramble away while a man in black, with black cloth covering everything but his eyes, repeatedly raises his arm and brings down the knife in his hand into her body. Sixteen times he stabbed her before jumping into a car and speeding away. Her death was horrific; she died in sight of her children. There is no sound on the camera’s image, but it doesn’t take much to hear the screams. To feel the fear of passerby who called an ambulance, but were helpless to intervene.

She was 24 years old and pregnant; she was walking her children to their nursery school.

Aya Abu Hagag was killed for the crime of being a woman. Her murder was a blip in the news cycle, filled with tales of death and release from captivity. It was newsworthy for the brutality of the killing, the fact that two family members have been detained in connection with her murder.

The fact is that gender-based violence has risen in the past month, as it generally does during times of tension and uncertainty, when unemployment rises and those in Israel's mixed cities live in fear and anxiety. These crimes do not disappear during wartime, they only get swept under the rug.

For every Aya, there are many more women living in fear, needing help to get themselves free of threatening or abusive situations. We could not save

Aya, but there are dozens of others who have turned to Na'am and found a way to protect themselves and their children.

But we need to do more. We need, even in times of war, to stop the killing.

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