(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
The new hybrid haredi-hardline national religious Yahad party held a women’s campaign rally earlier this week praising the movement’s leading ladies, such as party leader MK Eli Yishai’s wife, Tzipi Yishai, and to generally drum up the women’s vote ahead of Tuesday’s general election.
It would seem, however, that Yahad’s idea of female political activism is somewhat more domesticated than advocates of political representation for haredi women have been demanding in recent weeks.
At the event, Yahad distributed chocolate bars with a wrapper bearing the Yahad logo and providing advice and encouragement for women in their Passover cleaning duties ahead of the holiday that falls at the beginning of April.
“Divide up the work for Passover cleaning into 20 small daily tasks and every day you carry out one of the tasks give yourself one cube [of chocolate] for success,” reads the message on the wrapper. “Did you finish the tasks? Now you deserve a big cube.”
A female activist for the “No Representation No Vote” women’s campaign, which is calling on haredi women not to vote for the haredi parties, including Yahad, due to the absence of any women on their electoral lists, was the first to point out the irony of the chocolate bar message.
“I have no words, tips for cleaning and also chocolate, you really shouldn’t have,” Fay Sukenik, the activist who noticed the offending chocolate bar and message, wrote on her Facebook page. “Now I can vote for Yahad with my heart at ease. Who needs female representation in the Knesset at all, or for fundamental issues relating to religious and haredi women to be dealt with, when finally someone is spoiling us with chocolate.
“I’m going back to the cleaning now, there’s a small piece of chocolate waiting for me when I finish,” she concluded wryly.
Yahad said the women’s election rally event was very successful and “emphasizes unambiguously that all housework, including preparations for Passover, should be done in cooperation between the couple and all members of the family.”
In another Yahad misstep, the party issued a fierce denunciation of controversial MK Haneen Zoabi for visiting Ramallah in the West Bank during the election campaign.
Yishai himself condemned her visit saying she “belongs in the parliament in Gaza.”
However, Zoabi did not go to Ramallah as Yahad thought, but had instead visited the Israeli city of Ramle on her campaign tour with the Joint (Arab) List coalition of which her Balad party is a part.
“His response not only made him into a joke, but also showed ignorance of the region’s geography, which should worry voters,” The Joint List said in response.
The Balad MK has a long history of controversial activity in and out of the Knesset, including participation in the 2010 Gaza flotilla on the infamous Mavi Marmara, which was stopped by IDF commandos, as well as comments regarding the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June 2014.
In 2011, the Ethics Committee banned her from the Knesset for two months after she physically attacked an usher who tried to remove her from the plenum for incessantly interrupting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had referred to her in his speech. In July 2014, she was banned again from the Knesset, this time for six months, following complaints of incitement.
Yahad said in response to its error that it was easily believable that Zoabi would make a visit to Ramallah in light of her past behavior “against the state and against IDF soldiers.”
The party said that it truly hoped Zoabi would find “her natural place in parliament in Gaza or Ramallah” and that “Yahad will work towards this goal with all legal means at its disposal.”