Livnat to convene special c’tee session on women’s rights

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November 28, 2011 04:25

Likud minister speaks out against what she says is a “worrisome deterioration” in the status of women in the public place.

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Limor Livnat

limor livnat 311. (photo credit: Haim Tzach)

Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat told the cabinet Sunday the exclusion of females from the public domain is a form of violence against women.

Her comments on the hotbutton issue about whether religious soldiers should be obligated to take part in IDF ceremonies involving female singers came within the context of a discussion in the cabinet marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

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“In the last few years there has been, as it were, progress in the status of women in Israeli society,” said Livnat, head of the ministerial committee on the status of women. “There are more women in the Knesset, more women in senior management positions. But with every step forward, we take a large step backwards.”

Livnat spoke against what she said was a “worrisome deterioration” in the status of women in the public place.

“The exclusion of women is a type of violence against women,” she said.

Referring to recent phenomenon in the haredi community, she said women were being deprived of their democratic rights if they were being told to get on buses from the rear door, to walk on specific sidewalks, to keep their pictures off posters, to not sing in front of men or have their voice heard on the radio and to not eulogize their loved ones or accompany them to their burial place.

“Where women are excluded, physical and verbal violence against women grows, as does the legitimization to attack, embarrass and humiliate,” she said.

Livnat called for the active enforcement of laws protecting women’s rights and equality. She said she will convene a special session of the committee she heads to discuss the issue at greater length.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave Livnat backing, saying there were problems of violence against women that do not reach the media, “including that of discrimination against women in various aspects of our lives.” Israel, he said, was established on the basis of equality between the sexes.

“I oppose discrimination of any kind against women. We are a single island in a much larger area, a single island in which the status of women is ensured by law. But this is insufficient. We still have much to do in order to ensure gender equality and I say that the first thing is to provide for strong enforcement by the legal establishment of the laws designed to ensure that same gender equality.”

Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi) said it was wrong to bring up the singing issue within the context of a discussion on the elimination of violence against women.


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