Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country will crack down on domestic violence, calling for harsher penalties and GPS trackers for offenders.
This comes amid nationwide protests that the country isn't doing enough to protect women from violence. Netanyahu convened a special ministerial committee Wednesday to discuss the issue, including spending money that was already allocated for that purpose.
"I see violence against women as terrorism for all intents and purposes," Netanyahu said. "The victims are women who suffer from violence and beatings, and we are committed to implement the existing plans."
He had strong words for the offenders while acknowledging that not enough has been done in the past. He promised the state will offer a "warm shoulder for battered women" and "a punch to the face of these abusive men."
"My impression is that our different systems are, in many ways, paralyzed," Netanyahu said. "I saw the raw data and it is very problematic. That is why we need to act against the abusive husbands as well, and that's what is missing. Our entire discourse is lacking, because we're only talking about one side and and not the other."
He plans to convene a committee every two weeks to ensure goals are being met.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said he wants to give police and welfare groups the tools they need to fight domestic violence, including stronger punishments. That includes a proposal for GPS devices that abusers would have to wear so authorities could track their movements. It would deter abusers from stalking their victims, he said.
"This will give women the freedom they deserve, without having to fear that the violent man will violate the restraining order," Erdan said. "In the case of a violation, law enforcement authorities would be able to intervene immediately."
The proposed tags would be issued by courts.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets Tuesday to demand the country take action against domestic violence and fund the program that had been approved by the government. Netanyahu assigned Chief of State Yoav Horowitz and Deputy Finance Minister Itzik Cohen to explore the possibility of funding programs such as rehabilitation for abusers and victims, a public awareness effort and sweeping policy changes for police departments.