District Judge Chani Slotky sentenced a Bedouin woman, Halas Alarjan, to just 12 years in jail Sunday, for the cruel murders of her three children, and the attempted murder of the fourth.
Alarjan, 29, murdered her children – Abed, 7, Maryam, 5, and Dalal, aged one year old, one morning three years ago.
Although she never tried to deny that she had committed the crimes, the court opted for a plea bargain, and while both prosecution and defense agreed to an 18 year sentence, Judge Slotky reduced this to 12 years – just four years for every child murdered.
In addition, Slotky sentenced Alarjan to a two-year suspended sentence.
Taking into consideration time served and time taken off for good behavior, Alarjan should be walking the streets in about five years's time.
“The accused imagined a voice that made her think she must murder her children to save them from a cruel fate of rape and harsh abuse, and for this reason the defendant decided to murder her four children,” wrote the judge.
"The murders took four hours. This was not an impulsive event that lasted 10 minutes,” the judge noted. “The children begged for their lives, the children suffered.” The judge determined that Alarjan was sane during the murders.
One morning in September of 2012, Alarjan took a large, square knife that serves for slaughtering cattle, woke up her children one after the other and murdered them, according to the verdict. After slaughtering Abed and Maryam, she showered and took a walk. She returned, and tried to murder her two-year-old daughter, but succeeded only in wounding her. She then breast-fed her baby daughter Dalal and smothered her to death with a handkerchief.
At this point, she tried to kill herself by slitting her wrists and hanging herself, but failed.
"The State Attorney's Office became convinced that the deeds carried out by my client were done while she was in a difficult mental state that did not enable full self control and led her to believe that by doing the grave deeds, she is actually helping her children,” Alarjan's attorney, Yifat Sil, explained.
The extremely light sentences come as no surprise to veteran followers of the way the Israeli court system handles cases involving female murderers. A study conducted by Dr. Yoav Mazeh found, in the feminist era, the State Attorney's Office, which is mostly female, has exhibited a clear pattern of asking for very light sentences in such cases.
Dr. Mazeh, who teaches law at the Ono Academy, found that most of the women who have been convicted of murdering their spouses or children in Israel in recent decades have had the conviction amended to manslaughter by the Supreme Court.
A similar pattern has held true for women convicted of infanticide, but recently, this pattern appeared to have been broken when the Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of Marie Pizem, who – together with her husband Ronnie Ron – murdered her daughter Rose, who was Ron's granddaughter.
Dr. Mazeh attributes the courts' laxity toward female murderers to pressure from women's organizations.
The feminist mindset sees women as victims of the patriarchy and sees all violence in society as exclusively male.