Intersections across Israel were blocked Tuesday morning as thousands of women went on strike to protest what they say is authorities’ failure to stem a sharp increase in violence against women, with marches and other demonstrations planned for the day.
Around 200 protesters blocked traffic at Tel Aviv’s Azrieli interchange, a major intersection near the Defense Ministry headquarters, with opposition politicians in attendance.
Speaking to the Hadashot news outlet, opposition leader Tzipi Livni called on authorities to take action, saying the government should dust off an existing program.
“There is a plan,” she said. “The government just needs to take it off the shelf and implement it.”
Organizers called the strike last week in the wake of the murders of two teen girls, whose deaths brought the number of women killed in the last year in domestic violence-related incidents to 24, the highest in years. The strike was initiated by a group called “I’m a Woman, I’m Striking” and a “Red Flag coalition” made up of dozens of women’s groups.
Hundreds of institutions, municipalities, schools, and organizations are allowing their employees to strike, and the government’s civil service commissioner has also made concessions to allow participation in the labor action.
At 10 a.m., a 24-minute period of silence was observed in memory of the 24 women killed by a partner, family member or someone they knew in the last year.
Aside from the Azrieli protest, demonstrations in Tel Aviv also took place at the intersection of Rokach Boulevard and the Namir highway in the north of the city at 12 p.m, and at the city’s central Dizengoff Square. Police warned drivers to expect delays in those areas.
Around 1,000 students demonstrated at Tel Aviv University, and classes were suspended for an hour.
Workers at Ben Gurion Airport temporarily stopped working early Tuesday afternoon, causing delays at the transportation hub, the Walla news site reported.
In Jerusalem, around 50 women blocked the entrance to the city, holding signs stating, “Enough with the murder of women,” the Ynet news site reported, with a demonstration due to take place in the city’s Safra Park at 12 p.m.
President Reuven Rivlin lent his support to the protest, tweeting photos of his wife, first lady Nechama Rivlin, demonstrating alongside workers from the President’s Residence in the capital.
Demonstrators also gathered at the Beit Lid intersection in the center of the country, but did not disrupt traffic.
In the north of the country, around 150 protesters held a rally in Haifa’s Memorial Park, dozens demonstrated at the entrance to the town of Kiryat Shmona, and a crowd gathered in the city of Safed.