Livni defends Clinton criticism of Israel democracy

Steinitz says concerns are 'exaggerated,' calls Israel a 'Living, breathing, kicking liberal democracy'

December 5, 2011 08:16
2 minute read.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton speaking 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Kadima leader Tzipi Livni defended US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s criticism of the current state of Israeli democracy, saying Sunday that Clinton’s concern needs to “awaken those still blind to the ugly wave washing over Israel from inside.”

Livni’s comments came after several government ministers, on their way to Sunday’s cabinet meeting, took Clinton to task for comments attributed to her at a closed session of the Saban Forum in Washington on Saturday, attended by, among others, Livni and Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor.

Opinion: 'Exclusion of women is form of violence'
'Gender segregation practices are ‘apartheid‘'
PM, Lieberman join to revive NGO-funding bill

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Clinton was reported in the Israeli press as criticizing efforts in the Knesset to restrict the foreign funding of non-governmental organizations, and likened haredi efforts for separate gender seating on buses to Rosa Parks, the black civil rights icon who in 1955 protested separate black and white seating in the US.

Clinton also was reported to have said that the refusal of some religious IDF soldiers to listen to female singers reminded her of the situation in Iran.

“Friends and admirers of Israel from within and without are worried about processes that Israel is undergoing,” Livni said. “This concern is coming from those who fight for us in the UN and against our detractors, and who act to preserve Israel’s military advantage in the area.”

But Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said Clinton’s claims “were completely exaggerated.”

Israel, Steinitz said, “is a living, breathing, kicking, liberal democracy. I don’t know many better democracies in the world. There is, from time to time, the need to fix things. The issue of exclusion of women, or separating women, or efforts to keep women from taking part in performances in the army or anywhere else, is completely unacceptable and needs to end.”


But, he said, there was a great distance from that to claiming there were threats to Israeli democracy.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) suggested that “elected officials all over the world should first worry about their problems at home.” He added, however, that he shared concerns about the exclusion of women.

“I, as someone who grew up in a religious home, think that these steps help those who want people to hate the Jewish religion. This is a shame, and I hope that the government will take steps that demonstrate its obligation to maintain equality between men and women in Israel. We are in the 21st century, and there is no place for discrimination of women in public transportation, in public performances, or in any other sphere.”

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) defended the Knesset’s careful scrutiny of legislation.

“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and I believe that everything we do here will be done according to the law and acceptable norms.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN