A group of feminists plans to protest outside next week’s Jerusalem Conference
over the decision to award a prize to the anti-abortion organization
B’Sheva, a weekly religious national magazine, sponsors the yearly
Jerusalem Conference and honors an individual or organization each year with the
This year, the conference will award the prize to Efrat,
which tries to provide women with alternatives to abortion, including financial
support and counseling.
Detractors accuse the organization of
brainwashing and preying on women during an emotional and vulnerable
Hundreds of protesters are expected to attend a protest during the
prize ceremony next Monday at the Jerusalem Crown Plaza as part of a grassroots
feminist movement. Activists are also appealing to conference participants,
including Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and other pluralistic leaders and more
moderate leaders, to boycott the conference.
“The worst part is that
they’re using the woman for demographics,” said protest organizer Tzaphira
Allison Stern. “Why shouldn’t a woman have an abortion? Because we need the baby
so there are more Jews, and so there are more Israeli soldiers, so we can defend
the land and continue the occupation.”
Stern added that the organization
works only with Jewish women, rather than with Arab, Druse or Christian women,
which illustrates that they care only about politics and not about women’s
“They are saying that a woman’s ovaries are a political tool,”
Stern stressed that the feminist activists involved in the
protest were not pro-abortion. “I don’t get involved [with the decision to
abort] because a woman’s ovaries aren’t part of the public sphere,” she
According to Efrat’s website, the organization has saved more than
54,000 children over the past 35 years and now stops approximately 3,000
abortions per year.
The organization was roundly condemned for its
alleged involvement during a tragic suicide in Jerusalem in October, when
17-year-old Raz Attias was killed during a shoot-out with volunteer police.
Attias and his girlfriend planned a double suicide after realizing his
girlfriend was pregnant, and police attempted to locate and stop him. In a
dramatic turn of events, he got agitated after he was confronted with a
roadblock near Beit Shemesh and fired, prompting the police to fire
“The central problem was that there were three activists from
Efrat, called ‘pregnancy supporters,’ who sat with [the girlfriend in the
hospital] and said, ‘Don’t abort, we’re from Efrat, we will support you,’” Riki
Attias, Raz’s mother, said outside her home during the shiva mourning
Ruth Tidhar, the assistant director of Efrat, said that the
organization had no record of interaction with Attias’s girlfriend.
said that the woman in the hospital bed next to Attias’s girlfriend urged her
not to have an abortion and recommended she contact Efrat. She said it was
“simply a lie” that Efrat was involved in the incident.
Tidhar said that
the organization reaches out only to women who are unsure of whether or not to
have an abortion, or want to have an abortion because they cannot afford a
“We tell them we know that women who have abortions are very sorry
about it later, and it never goes away,” Tidhar said in October.
statement on the website of Arutz 7, which own B’Sheva, B’Sheva director David
(Dudu) Sa’ada said the organization would not back down despiter
“We found it especially necessary to award them the prize this
year because of the unfair opposition from the public and media over the past
year,” he said.