In a rare public outcry against so-called honor killings, more than 500 Arab Israeli women and men demonstrated last month in Nazareth against the murder of women in their community. The largest contingent of women came from the Negev, thanks to the work of Hind el Sana, a lobbyist in SHATIL's Bedouin Women's Leadership Project. The Project is run in collaboration with Ma'an, the Forum of Arab Women's Organizations in the Negev, where el Sana is based. It is funded in large part by the U.S. State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI); Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the American vice-president, recently visited the project.
After holding preparatory meetings, el Sana expected 20 women to travel north for the demonstration in Nazareth, but at the last minute, an additional bus had to be hired to accommodate more than 60 women from the Negev who wanted to take part. The numbers illustrate the process of Negev Bedouin women taking their rights into their own hands.
The demonstration, attended by MKs, the mayor of Nazareth and other dignitaries, unequivocally called for an end to the murder of women who are thought to sully the honor of their families by violating traditional, patriarchal restrictions on relationships between men and women. A young woman who dates a young man without her parents' consent falls into this category.
"There is no honor in this crime" declared MK Masoud Ghanayem.
MK Muhammad Baraka added: "Whenever someone kills his sister, his daughter, his wife, he does not become more honorable, but he becomes a murderer and villain."
The demonstration was organized by Women against Violence in Nazareth.Click here for video footage of the demonstration.