A haredi woman running for the new Ometz Lev party in Jerusalem’s municipal
elections has received anonymous threats demanding that she withdraw her
Masada Porat, founder of a Web portal for women called
Womenet, has been given the party’s sixth slot on its electoral list in the
October 22 elections for the Jerusalem City Council.
In the past two days
she and her husband have received numerous threatening phone threats with the
anonymous callers demanding she step away from the political
The calls began after she and Racheli Ibenboim, another haredi
woman who was running for the municipal council, were interviewed on Army Radio
Ibenboim, was was No. 3 on Bayit Yehudi’s electoral list,
withdrew her candidacy after receiving threats demanding she leave the race or
face social excommunication and the expulsion of her children from the
educational institutes they attend.
Porat said she has not received such
specific threats, but that some callers told her that women should not involve
themselves in politics and should remain at home, while others argued that she
is “confusing” people by identifying as a haredi woman while seeking to enter
the political world, something generally prohibited in haredi
Some of the anonymous callers simply told her “to be careful”
and then hanged up.
“Some people in the community think they have a
monopoly on religion and that they are therefore entitled to tell us what we can
and can’t do,” Porat told The Jerusalem Post.
She said, however, that she
had no intention of quitting the race and that she had the full support of her
family as well as rabbis whom she has consulted with about running.
complaint has not been filed to the police.
Porat, 41, says she fully
identifies as a haredi woman, having grown up in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood
of Mea She’arim in Jerusalem and received her education in the haredi Bais
Yaakov school network, and with a husband who studies in yeshiva, as well as
children at haredi educational institutes.
“Perhaps I am more open to and
aware of the world around me, but I identify as haredi,” she said.
Lev is headed by Nommi Tzur, who has since 2008 been a member of the Jerusalem
City Council and a deputy mayor with Nir Barkat’s Jerusalem Will Succeed
As well as promoting several normative policies for the city’s
regeneration and development, the party says it also seeks to advance gender
equality in Jerusalem, especially in the decision- and policy-making levels of
Porat says that she would like to work on haredi
women’s rights, arguing that although many women in the ultra-Orthodox community
are content with their status, many others would embrace broader opportunities
and the ability to acquire the means and tools to advance themselves within
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