Globally, almost 4 in 10 murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner, and Israel is no exception. In the last few days, crimes against women at the hands of their sentimental partners have shaken Israeli society, which is wondering how could it be that women are safer in the streets than in their homes? Without a deep scrutiny of the causes of such a phenomenon, people can just wait until the next victim is added to the list of domestic violence fatalities.
Recently, Esti, 70, was shot at her home in Talmei Eliahu, Southern Israel. The alleged killer, her husband, is an Israeli doctor who worked at John Hopkins and Sinai Baltimore hospitals in the US and volunteered in multiple international charities. Similarly, Maria, 29, was found lifeless in her home at Kiryat Bialik, in the northern part of the country. Michal, 32, a mother of an eight-month-old baby girl, was found stabbed in her home in Moshav Beit Zayit in Jerusalem.
What do all these cases have in common? It is that they were allegedly killed by their husbands. The list of the women murdered this week joins the names of Dianna, Susan, Lily, Zinav, Vivian and nine other women murdered since the beginning of this year. Additionally, 21 women were killed in 2018 and 14 killed two years ago. The list of victims gets longer every year. The reasons for the murders may vary, but at their root is one essential reason: egoism, the human desire to enjoy harming and humiliating others in order to feel superior. The more the ego grows, the greater the satisfaction to exploit and take advantage of others for personal gain.
Our egoistic nature has overblown to colossal proportions over the generations and continues growing at every moment. The ego doesn’t let us consider other people. It creates a barrier between our inner world and society, gradually paralyzing our healthy common sense and emotions. When the malicious ego bubbles inside an entire society, shutting us off from each other to deal with our own concerns and be left alone, it is only a matter of time before it will explode.
People with weak mental stability, or people influenced by violent content in the media or by domestic violence experienced during their upbringing, will be the first to tear down the thin veil that shrouds “sane society.” When the pervasive tension increases, when the spirit in society projects extremism and promotes polarization, when the discourse becomes aggressive and raging, the frustration felt by a person breaks an inner balance, explodes in an instant, and those closest to such a person commonly get the brunt of the blow. Therefore, we need to understand how murderers are not solely responsible for their crimes. They are largely the result of the violent atmosphere permeating the environment.
The world out there in the street, on television, and in social media molds our consciousness more than those with whom we share the same roof. The artificial and staged examples of relationships supplied by the media, fed to us by greedy executives who prioritize their own profit margins over society’s benefit, are opposite to natural relationships and the daily reality.
The defective content that aims to shock and get ratings undermines our opinions and, whether or not we pay attention to it, we act in our relationships as if we were momentary actors. When we find ourselves in stormy situations with people who live in the same home, although we are capable of honestly and directly expressing our inner truth, society’s influences are stronger, causing us to alter our natural behavior. Without a choice, we adopt and imitate the behaviors of characters we saw on the Internet, the TV or at the movies. This is the most evident sign that we have lost direction.
We cannot censure the content in the media or close this means of communication and thus solve the problem. Silencing our voices will only bring new distortions in the worst case, or will postpone the outbreak of the disease for one decade in the best of cases. As long as we fail to deal with the phenomenon of malicious egoism and not bring forth a fundamental change, we will degenerate into a situation where each person will do as he pleases, and society will suffer an irreparable crash.
Our education to be considerate of the other, to set clear moral limits and to overcome our egoistic nature should begin from a young age. Our duty should be to transmit to people in every possible way practical examples of how to be connected in a healthy and reciprocal way to the surrounding society: among family, friends and to the whole of society. We must teach ourselves and the coming generations how to change our attitude to reality and demonstrate how mutual consideration is the foundation for any healthy system of relations.
Education toward balanced relationships, meaning relations built above our self-interest with the intention of benefiting others, is the move that will calm the negative human impulses and balance our surging ego with its opposite positive force.
Education, however, is not intended to excuse a person from a heavy punishment. Rather, it is a significant step toward a healthy society. Let us start preparing ourselves for a life where we consider other people. The media can be a tool that helps us establish values calling for taking others into consideration. Influencers and decision makers should be called on to perform beneficial examples for society, and then instead of experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of murdered women, we will aspire to see headlines of supreme heroic stories that glorify examples of social contribution and benefit that lead us to a harmonious coexistence.
Featured in The Times of Israel