MK Michaeli says PM doesn’t care about women

Female lawmakers at International Women’s Day discussion call for inclusion of more women in defense decisions.

Merav Michaeli 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
Merav Michaeli 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
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.
Michaeli 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 equality.
“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.
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 account.
As part of the deal, Eshel agreed not to return to the civil service, but he remains close with Netanyahu and his family.
Michaeli 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 defense issues.
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.
The 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.”