Women represent

The day may not be long in coming when Israeli men will be battling for equal rights.

Tel Aviv marathon 2014 (photo credit: CAMILLA SCHICK)
Tel Aviv marathon 2014
(photo credit: CAMILLA SCHICK)
THE DAY may not be long in coming when Israeli men will be battling for equal rights.
Appearing on the Politika program on Channel 1, Efrat Duvdevani, the director-general of the President’s Office, said that when a man and a woman with equal qualifications apply for a job, she is inclined to give it to the woman.
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of people in top ranking positions in the President’s Office are women. Women in even greater numbers are in the forefront of leadership in the Netanya Municipality, where Mayor Miriam Feirberg- Ikar has been in office since 1998 and is the city’s first female elected mayor. Feirberg-Ikar, like Duvdevani, says that if a man and a woman with the same qualifications apply for a job, the woman is more likely to get it. That would explain why 28 women are among the department heads, council members and advisers who meet almost daily with Feirberg-Ikar. Oh yes, and there is spokeswoman Shani Israeli-Pikholtz.
No other municipality in Israel can boast so high a female representation, though Beersheba with seven councilwomen and 12 women in key positions at city hall is catching up, despite the fact that the mayor is a man. There are only four women on the 31-member Jerusalem Municipal Council, compared to 11 on the 31-member Tel Aviv Municipal Council.
AMONG THE runners in the upcoming Jerusalem Marathon will be Gilad Schalit, who will be running next Friday as a member of the Shalva team, to raise money for Shalva therapies and awareness of what the organization does to improve the quality of life for children with mental and/or physical disabilities. Schalit will run in the 10-km. with many other dedicated individuals from Israel and abroad, including stage and television personality Itay Turgeman, who recently ran in the Tel Aviv Marathon, and NBA hoopster Gal Mekel, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Schalit learned about Shalva shortly after his release from Hamas captivity, when two journalists, who are among the Friends of Shalva and the activists who demonstrated on his behalf, came to interview him.
THIS YEAR, beacon lighters for the start of Independence Day celebrations on Mount Herzl will all be women. The Culture Ministry has been flooded with hundreds of nominations. The choices are difficult, between women achievers and those who have made a breakthrough to become the first women in their respective roles.
Among those who qualify in the latter category are Rivka Carmi, president of Ben- Gurion University, who was the first woman to be president of any university in Israel; Ruth Arnon, the first woman president of the Academy of Sciences and the Humanities; Jerusalem-born Ada Yonath, the first and so far only Israeli female Nobel Prize laureate; Karnit Flug, the first female governor of the Bank of Israel; Dorit Beinisch, the first female president of the Supreme Court; New York-born Naama Kelman, who in 1992 became the first woman rabbi in Israel, followed by Maya Leibovich, who in 1993 became the first Sabra woman rabbi in Israel; Dalia Itzik, the first female speaker of the Knesset; Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ruth Yaron, the first woman to head the IDF Spokesman’s Unit; Maj. Oshrat Bechler, the first female officer to be appointed to take charge of a combat battalion, who is responsible for Southern Command on the Egyptian border; Dr. Orna Berry, the first woman to hold the position of chief scientist at the Economy Ministry when it was still the Industry and Trade Ministry; Yael Arad, who was not only the first woman but also the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal; and Tzipi Livni, the only justice minister to serve three non-consecutive terms, and the first woman to hold the portfolio other than Golda Meir who, as prime minister in 1972, was a caretaker justice minister for three months.
This is just a sample of women who have individually and collectively broken through the glass ceiling, and no doubt consideration will be given to others who may not have been the first in their fields but whose achievements are worth recognizing and honoring.
A STREET in Jerusalem’s Homat Shmuel neighborhood is to be named after former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, following a request by City Council member Meir Turgeman, who believes that it is important to honor the memory of a significant figure from the religious-Zionist camp. Eliyahu, who died in June 2010, occasionally sparked controversy. Mayor Nir Barkat, who is on close terms with the Eliyahu family, is definitely in favor of naming a street after the rabbi, who, to the surprise of many, endorsed Barkat in the 2008 mayoral elections, rather than give his support to ultra-Orthodox candidate Rabbi Meir Porush.
AT LAST week’s memorial tribute at the Israel Museum to the late Edgar Bronfman, a past president of the World Jewish Congress and a leading figure in the struggle for Soviet Jewry, museum director James Snyder said that not only was the museum host to the event, but it was the most appropriate venue for it – in that Bronfman was not yet 30 years old in 1965, when together with his siblings Charles, Phyllis and Minda, they honored their father on his 70th birthday, establishing the museum’s Samuel Bronfman Archaeology Wing. Four years ago, it was renovated by the extended Bronfman family and renamed the Samuel and Sadie Bronfman Wing of Archaeology.
Snyder was happy to report that four generations of the Bronfman family are now associated with the Israel Museum – in that Tess Bronfman, the daughter of Matthew, one of Edgar’s sons, is also involved with the famed institution.