Woman found dead in a Haifa apartment; husband and son arrested
A woman was found dead in Haifa on Saturday evening, with police arresting her husband and son as murder suspects the next day, but a subsequent autopsy would have led investigators to believe the incident was suicide rather than murder.
The woman has been identified as Svetlana Belkin, 52, Hebrew media reported on Sunday.
Belkin was discovered in her apartment in Haifa, with signs of violence on her body, according to Channel 12 news.
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The police subsequently called his relatives for questioning. Her daughter was released after interrogation, but her 50-year-old husband and 20-year-old son were arrested, the channel reported.
The Haifa Magistrates’ Court on Sunday extended the two men’s pre-trial detention by 24 hours. They denied any wrongdoing and claimed the cause of death was suicide.
A neighbor of the family told Channel 12 that someone in the building heard screams and tense exchanges between husband and wife, and Belkin’s husband appeared drunk and unable to stand up straight as he left the apartment.
Neighbor Etty Bar said she hadn’t heard anything unusual on Saturday. She said the couple were new immigrants who had lived peacefully in the building for a year and a half.
“Very nice and kind, I paid the construction costs on time,” she told the network.
Magen David Adom medics declared Belkin dead at the scene after resuscitation efforts, Channel 12 reported. Her husband allegedly called MDA medics and was present in the apartment when they arrived.
Hagit Peer, who chairs Israel’s leading women’s rights organization, Na’amat, told Channel 12 that Israel was “unmanaged.”
“The 2017 domestic violence plan has not yet been implemented and hundreds of thousands of women in Israel live under daily and relentless terror,” she said.
A national plan to combat domestic violence was approved in 2017 by the Knesset but has since been scrapped, pending funding. Campaigners say most of the approved 250 million NIS ($ 71 million) have yet to be transferred to the relevant authorities.
Like other countries, Israel has seen an increase in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, with women forced to stay at home locked up with violent partners. In March, the brutal murder of Diana Raz by her husband sent shock waves across the country.
According to government data, a third of the women killed by their partners in 2018 and 2019 had filed a complaint with the police against the men accused of having killed them. Six of the suspects in these murders between 2018 and 2020 had previously been convicted of domestic violence.
Government data also shows that of the 30,000 domestic violence cases opened by police from 2018 to 2019, 75% were cleared for lack of evidence.
Last year, 25 women in Israel were killed by their domestic partner or a relative.
Agencies contributed to this report.