Israel Empowers Women
On International Women’s Day, Israel put into effect some measures to increase the number of women in the Israeli municipal government. Currently at 12 percent, these recommendations from the Committee to Prevent the Exclusion of Women are aimed at balancing the number of women to men within the political stratosphere. These measures include:
* The Civil Service Commission issued directives against the exclusion of women at government and state ceremonies.
* The Transportation and Road Safety Ministry opened a hotline to deal with instances of women being excluded on public transportation. The ministry will require transportation companies to post signs banning such exclusion.
* The Religious Services Ministry will instruct burial societies, the Chief Rabbinate and religious councils to ban preventing women from participating in eulogies and the burial of loved ones.
* The Justice Ministry will evaluate instances in which women have been restricted in media subject to regulation.
* The Israel Police will step up enforcement regarding offenses against women.
Israel is taking a much-needed step towards including women in the public decision-making. With Egypt to the west, Syria to the northeast, and Saudi Arabia to the southeast, it is important that Israel continue to make strides towards gender equality as they did this past International Women’s Day.
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It is amazing that, with all the wars and conflicts it endures, Israel was and remains a democracy and which women are not only free to speak their mind but are included in the political arena to such an extent. In the army, they are not “women” but fellow soldiers, general, etc and are respected for their merits and titles. If only surrounding countries would follow this example…
What if I were to say that there is an Israeli woman currently on her 33rd day of a hunger strike, at risk of death, in protest for Israel’s decision to imprison her without charge- that her parents are not allowed to see her and had themselves began a hunger strike shortly afterwards?
Perhaps you would say that we should wait to congratulate Israel for taking what appear to be mostly cosmetic measures at increasing gender equality.
Or perhaps you would say, what business is it of ours – we have no control over what Israel does.
As it happens, the woman, Hana al-Shalabi, is not Israeli but Palestinian.
The fact that Israel is virulently anti-woman, when those women are Palestinian, arguably demands our attention more than viciously sexist policies in states such as Iran. This is because Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is only possible through the overwhelming support of the United States, and therefore the remedy is relatively easy and obvious: stop contributing and participating in these policies.
I find it disturbing that Clark can write about how Israel empowers women without even a token mention of the effect of Israel’s illegal occupation.
I do not mean to be inflammatory, but this article strikes me as somewhat prepackaged. I am curious to know whether Clark took it upon herself to research how Israel was spending International Women’s Day, or whether it was mostly copied from someone else. Why not write an article on what was happening that day in Venezuela, for example. I wonder because Israel and various racist and pro-colonization organizations increasingly write articles on how Israel is supposedly LGBT and minority friendly to appeal as much as possible to the non-hateful world, I suppose because they have realized that the best way to defend the occupation is to not talk about it.
I welcome those genuinely interested in helping Israel promote human rights to join UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine.
I’m happy to discuss this further with anyone who can agree that all people should enjoy certain fundamental rights, and that where we are actively participating in the infringement of those rights we should stop, period.
It is unfortunate to see this article defending a state that actively practices pinkwashing, blackmails LGBT Palestinians to turn against their own people, and attacked non-violent Palestinian women protesters on International Womens Day. I don’t know whether this article was written in haste and thus poorly researched, or if the author is deliberately obscuring the situation. I hope to see a counterpiece to this unfortunately reductive and biased piece published in Fem in the future.