In a Knesset with a record number of women, the celebration of International
Women’s Day became a must-see event on Tuesday.
Still, MK Merav Michaeli
(Labor) criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for “not finding it
important enough” to attend the discussion of International Women’s Day.
Michaeli, who was a feminist activist and columnist before entering politics,
initiated the plenum discussion, which was held on Tuesday because International
Women’s Day is on Friday, when the Knesset does not sit.
gathered 74 signatures from MKs asking the prime minister to attend the meeting
in order to suggest what can be done to solve problems and promote
“Maybe this shouldn’t surprise us, since Netanyahu continues to
work with a man who was removed from the civil service for harming women,” she
added, a reference to former Prime Minister’s Office chief of staff Natan
Eshel left his post after a plea bargain with the Civil Service
Commission, which determined he invaded a female staffer’s privacy by
photographing her without her permission and entering her personal email
As part of the deal, Eshel agreed not to return to the civil
service, but he remains close with Netanyahu and his family.
encouraged lawmakers to take an active role in promoting gender equality,
mentioning the Female MK Caucus she founded.
“We can bring a new point of
view on the world, society and the country,” she said.
“In this Knesset,
female MKs will work together in order to make sure the government follows laws
that promote gender equality and make sure to pass new laws [on the issue.]” The
Labor MK also called to end the exclusion of females from forums dealing with
MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), who has written popular
religious- feminist books, reiterated Michaeli’s point, saying “if an alien
landed here during Operation Pillar of Defense and watched television, it would
think that there are no women in Israel,” she stated.
Lavie also referred
to haredi radio stations that do not hire female broadcasters.
Justice Ministry is expected to publish a report next week telling the Second
Authority for Television and Radio to stop the phenomenon.
Lavie is a
former member of the Second Authority’s governing board.
“The time has
come to admit the truth: Exclusion of women exits not only in the haredi media,
but in the general media,” Lavie said.
“There is an attempt to force the
norms of equality on the haredi media, but if we are honest with ourselves in
examining the general media, we can see that it is no stranger to exclusion.”