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MK Zuaretz to PM: Where are women in key positions?
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
03/10/2011
Kadima MK writes letter after Netanyahu appoints Amidror as NSC chief and Foreign Ministry appoints three male ambassadors.
 
Kadima MK Orit Zuaretz called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week to reconsider his choice of Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya’acov Amidror to head the National Security Council, and to consider a female nominee instead.

In a letter to the prime minister, Zuaretz said the government must uphold a law that requires women to be integrated into key decision-making positions.

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Zuaretz’s message follows a series of top-level of diplomatic appointments, all of which went to men.

“I call on you to examine the appointments that are currently under way, including the leadership of the National Security Council, as well as the negotiation teams for advancing the peace process, and to integrate talented and appropriate female candidates,” she wrote.

“As the person who established the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in the Prime Minister’s Office and who appointed a deputy minister for women’s affairs, I believe that the question of equality in general, and the rights of women specifically, are important to you at every juncture, and that it is important to you that their voice is heard,” she continued.

Zuaretz reminded Netanyahu of the fourth amendment to the Law for Equality of Women’s Rights, which requires the state to integrate women in peace negotiation teams and in public commissions.

She complained that a similar missive to the prime minister, sent exactly one year ago, had gone unanswered.

The amendment in question mandates that “a team or public committee established for the purpose of shaping national policy including subjects of foreign affairs and defense, or for the purposes of preventing, managing or solving the diplomatic conflict, will offer proper expression to women.”

The amendment was legislated following UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which called on countries to ensure an increase in women’s representation in all decisionmaking processes, with an emphasis on conflict resolution.

Although there was no official response to Zuaretz’s letter from the Prime Minister’s Office, top-level officials said that in meetings held earlier this week before the selection of Amidror, Netanyahu had said that he was both open to and willing to consider a female candidate. He reportedly asked attendees to submit any names of qualified female candidates for the powerful position.

Deputy Minister for Women’s Affairs Gila Gamliel was unavailable for comment on Zuaretz’s letter, although she, too, was sent a copy.

Earlier this week, the government approved a series of top-level Foreign Ministry appointments – from Ron Prosor’s appointment to the UN, to the appointments of Alon Ushpiz as the Israeli envoy in India, Dan Ashbel as the ambassador to Finland, and Haim Shaham as consulgeneral in Miami. Although at least one – Prosor – is replacing a woman, none of the four new appointees were women.

The placement of women in senior positions has been a source of some debate in the current administration.

In July, a coalition of women’s groups launched a Supreme Court appeal against the prime minister’s appointment of the members of the Turkel Commission to probe the events of the Free Gaza flotilla, complaining that no women had been included in the panel.

The organizations claimed that the commission’s selection violated the same Law for Equality of Women’s Rights, an argument accepted by the court, which demanded that at least five women be offered a position on the panel.
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