Every effort must be made to ensure that women are included on every legislative panel, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Thursday, following complaints that the members of the joint Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense-Finance Subcommittee on the Defense Budget were all men.
Membership of the joint panel was reshuffled earlier this week, ending up with 11 males and no females, even though both the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Finance Committee have women members.
Edelstein asked Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud Beytenu) and Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) to add women to the joint subcommittee.
“It is not acceptable in my eyes that something like this happens in our country,” Edelstein said. “It cannot be that we pass laws to encourage integrating women into the workforce and then don’t do so here, in the Knesset.”
Some of the women who could serve on the subcommittee are MKs Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu), Stav Shaffir (Labor), Michal Biran (Labor), Gila Gamliel (Likud Beytenu), Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) and Zehava Gal-On (Meretz).
On Wednesday, MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) wrote a letter to Elkin saying that representation by women on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was “unacceptable,” with only one woman, Regev, as a permanent member.
“The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is one of the most influential in the State of Israel, having the ability to send soldiers into battle,” Kariv said. “The committee must work to break the gender barrier.”
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat took to Facebook to back Kariv.
“The days in which women were left out of security issues are behind us,” Livnat wrote. “The fight against discrimination against women applies to the Knesset, too.”