A poll conducted by Tel Aviv University in 2009 revealed that 65% of the Jewish Israeli community supported the availability of civil, gender-neutral marriage, even though 70% of those polled expressed that a religious ceremony was still personally important for their own wedding. In 2016, women protested that they had been discriminated against in Holocaust Remembrance Day observance. Bar-Ilan University, for example, announced it would https://asian-date.net/western-asia/israel-women allow women to read passages of text and play musical instruments at its Holocaust Remembrance Day, but would bar women from singing in order not to offend Orthodox Jewish males. The city of Sderot also limited women’s singing at public events to appease religious males.
- A law passed in 1978 made exemptions for women on religious grounds automatic upon the signing of a simple declaration attesting to the observance of orthodox religious practices.
- Of those granted an exemption, 35-36% were exempted for religious reasons.
- The Haganah stated in its law that its lines were open to “Every Jewish male or female, who is prepared and trained to fulfill the obligation of national defense.” Most female recruits served as medics, communications specialists, and weaponeers.
- The 2006 Lebanon War marked the first time since 1948 that female soldiers were active in field operations alongside male soldiers.
- Born in Tel Aviv in 1942, Beinisch studied law in Jerusalem before embarking on a long career in public law, becoming the State Attorney , a Supreme Court Judge and finally its president.
In addition to including an Arab party for the first time in Israel’s 73-year-history, this government also boasts a record number of female ministers—nine out of 27. Judicial decisions regarding the principle of gender equality in the public spheres of politics, economic life, and the defense forces, which are ostensibly secular institutions, have nevertheless been affected by the extent to which they impinge on religious values or sensitivities. Following the amendment, a modest amount of women began to enlist in combat support and light combat roles in a few areas, including the Artillery Corps, infantry units, and various armored divisions.
The decision provoked violent opposition from religious groups and is said not to be applied in practice by the religious courts. Apart from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, when extreme manpower shortages brought many female Israeli soldiers into land battles, women were historically prohibited by the Israeli government to go into battle, and instead served in a variety of technical and administrative support roles. Soon after the establishment of the IDF, a decree for the removal of women from frontline positions was brought into effect, and all female soldiers were accordingly pulled back into more secure areas. The cited rationale for this decision revolved around concerns over the high possibility of female Israeli soldiers being captured and subsequently raped or sexually assaulted by hostile Arab forces. While the consensus was that it was fair and equitable to demand equal sacrifice and service from women, it was argued that the risk of Israeli prisoners of war being subjected to sexual abuse was infinitely greater for female soldiers than it was for male soldiers, and therefore unacceptable.
Palestinian elections have not been held since 2006, and both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority restrict women’s rights. Abortion is illegal in the Palestinian Territories and women must have permission from a “guardian” to travel from the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to a Hamas-run court, as well as permission from Israel or Egypt, which control Gaza’s borders. Women in Israel earn 67 percent of what men earn, according to the 2020 Gender Index conducted by the Center for the Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.
By examining women’s status in these various legal forums, we can obtain an overview of the position of women in Israeli society. After dropping in the wake of last April’s election, the number of women voted into office has the chance to rise once again in the upcoming “do-over election” on September 17. In the context of Israeli politics, it is the individual parties that possess the greatest ability to increase female representatives’ presence in the Knesset and access to senior roles. Looking ahead, these pressures are only more likely to increase with the expected growth in support for Haredi parties. While the anticipated surge in percentage of the ultra-orthodox in Israel’s population over the next few decades will probably translate into more seats for Haredi parties, the fragmentation in Israeli politics already makes it very difficult to form a government without them.
Many women are involved in political parties, but their numbers have tended to not be reflected in party leadership or on party lists for elected office. In the January 2013 election, however, three parties that won representation in the Knesset were headed by women – Shelly Yachimovich for Labor; Tzipi Livni for Ha’Tnuah; and, Zehava Gal-On for Meretz – possibly signaling a changing of the guard of sorts. The figures of women in local government suggests that political parties consider the inclusion of at least one woman on local councils a political necessity.
Women in Israel and Palestine have consistently been leaders in the process to bring peace to the Middle East, including by demonstrating against the occupation on International Women’s Day in March 2015. Damaged infrastructure, reduced services, food insecurity and displacement caused by the occupation and subsequent conflicts have had a particular impact on women, notably in the marginalized Palestinian territories. The assignment of Knesset members to committees is determined by negotiations between the different parties and in accordance to their size. Regardless of the identities and stances of the parties present at the negotiation table, however, talks almost always result with women underrepresented in or absent from the committees seen as most important. By the time of the dissolution of the 20th Knesset for example, only one out of the fifteen members of the prestigious Finance Committee was a woman. Ironically, these numbers actually reflect a significant improvement over the past few decades. Although between 1961 and 1999 the number of acting female Knesset Members never rose above twelve, or 10 percent of acting MKs, representation surged between 1999 and 2015 from 14 to 29 female MKs.
The Public Sphere: Politics, Economics, and the Military
Many Israeli women were accepted to the pilot selection phase in the Israeli Air Force flight academy some completed it successfully. The first female jet fighter pilot, Roni Zuckerman, received her wings in 2001. By 2006, the first female pilots and navigators graduated from the IAF training course, and several hundred women entered combat units, primarily in support roles, like intelligence gatherers, instructors, social workers, medics and engineers. When the Second Lebanon War broke out, women took part in field operations alongside men.