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Diplomacy & Politics
TOVAH LAZAROFF \
Ministers agree to extend Israeli law protecting working mothers on Area C
Palestinian mom and child at Rafah390.
The Ministerial Legislative Committee voted 7-1 on Sunday to extend to Area C,
legislation which protects the rights of pregnant and working Israeli and
Palestinian mothers.On the surface of it, the legislation addresses a
legal imbalance whereby women working for Israeli owned entities in Area C, such
as businesses, nonprofits, schools, and municipal offices, are exempt from the
labor law that protects their counterparts employed within the pre-1967
lines.But all moves to extend Israeli law into Area C have also been
part of the defacto battle waged by right wing legislators to annex that portion
of the West Bank to Israel – one legislation at a time.The Ministerial
Legislative Committee’s vote comes just two days after US Secretary of State
John Kerry announced that a basis had been established to allow for the
resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians.The legislation must now pass three readings in the Knesset
before it becomes law. Governmental support for the pending law is assumed once
it passes the Ministerial Legislative Committee.Justice Minister Tzipi
Livni was not at the meeting.Seven ministers supported the measure:
Limor Livnat and Gideon Sa’ar from the Likud, Uri Ariel and Uri Orbach from
Bayit Yehudi and Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Sofa Landver and Yair Shamir from Yisrael
Beiteinu.The only minister to oppose the legislation was Yael German
from Yesh Atid.Her spokeswoman said that the Justice Ministry is working
on the issue of social welfare legislation as it applies to Area C. German would
prefer that the issue of working mothers be dealt with by that initiative,
rather than in a piecemeal fashion, the spokeswoman said.MK Orit Struck
(Bayit Yehudi) first proposed extending the law after she was approached by a
woman from Judea and Samaria who – after she was fired – discovered that she
lacked the same protective rights afforded other Israeli women.“Approval
of the law is an appropriate and normal step that finally recognizes that human
rights in general, and women’s rights in specific, should not stop at the Green
Line,” Struck said.She thanked MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) and MK Penina
Tamanu-Shata (Yesh Atid) who have supported extending the legislation to Area
C.Struck is among those parliamentarians that believe Israel should
annex Area C. But, she told The Jerusalem Post, laws protecting human rights
should be extended irrespective of that battle.Human rights laws should
be extended to Area C in the same way that legislation that obligates Israeli
citizens to pay taxes and serve in the army are extended to Judea and Samaria,
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