Trajtenberg panel to include Arab woman representative

Move comes in response to High Court petition.

By
August 22, 2011 07:24
2 minute read.
Trajtenberg Committee 'Rothschild Team'

Trajtenberg Committee 'Rothschild Team' 311 . (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

In a response on Sunday to a High Court petition filed last week by a coalition of 11 women’s groups and Arab- Israeli organizations, the government said that it would agree to the petitioners’ demands and appoint an Arab woman to the Trajtenberg Committee.

The committee was appointed on August 8 by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the wake of countrywide housing protests. Headed by Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg of the Council for Higher Education, the committee is tasked with coming up with solutions to socioeconomic problems.

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The petitioners had asked the High Court of Justice to issue an injunction suspending the committee’s activities until Arab women and women from a variety of professions are appointed to the committee.

In its response, the government said that the petitioners’ claim that Arab women had special needs was not in dispute.

“The government agrees with the petitioners that in order to meet the deep rationale that underpins proper representation, the diversity of various populations should always be taken into account,” the government said. “That will enrich dialogue and give rise to a plurality of diverse viewpoints.”

The Trajtenberg Committee had already come under fire from Arab-Israeli organizations for failing to appoint Arabs to the 14-member permanent team. One Arab man, Ayman Saif, director of the Economic Development Authority in the Minority Sector in the Prime Minister’s Office, is a member of the committee’s eight-strong team of experts.

The fact that Arab women are not represented at all means that this population is once again excluded from positions of power, the petitioners had said.

“The exclusion of such a large population group from the committee is unthinkable and contrary to the conduct of a democratic society,” the petitioners said.

Attorney Anat Tahon-Ashkenazi, who had submitted the petition on behalf of the women’s groups, said on Sunday that the government’s response was a sign that it had “learned a lesson.”

“The government has realized that the ‘tent revolution’ cannot ignore the diverse voices of women and that Arab women cannot continue to be excluded from discussions about social justice,” Tahon- Ashkenazi said. “I hope that the government’s response to the petition will show that we will not be forced to again demand something that should be obvious – that women from a variety of populations should be included in every element of the government’s decision-making.”


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