Anti-sexual harassment laws passed, applied to Meretz party

"I am happy we became the first party to add harassment prevention guidelines into our bylaws," said MK Tamar Zandberg.

 Head of the left wing Meretz party and Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg and MK Michal Rozin attend Meretz faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on June 28, 2021. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Head of the left wing Meretz party and Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, Minister of Environmental Protection Tamar Zandberg and MK Michal Rozin attend Meretz faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on June 28, 2021.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Meretz has become the first party in Israel to establish a framework in the party’s bylaws on preventing sexual harassment.

The decision came in a near-unanimous vote after a council meeting conducted Thursday night. The votes were counted on Friday.

The change is the initiative of Meretz minister Tamar Zandberg and the head of the faction, Michal Rozin.

It happened three months after allegations against Tel Aviv city councilman Etai Pinkas Arad of Meretz by a former lover which forced him to resign from the city council. Pinkas Arad was seen as a role model in the LGBT community.

“There is no organization or sphere that is immune to sexual harassment, and current sexual harassment laws do not deal with political frameworks,” Zandberg said.

 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION MINISTER Tamar Zandberg speaks at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 14, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION MINISTER Tamar Zandberg speaks at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 14, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“Meretz has led the struggle against sexual harassment for decades, and I am happy we became the first party to add sexual harassment prevention guidelines into our bylaws.”

Rozin said she hoped other parties would follow suit.

The bill, which passed with the support of 94% of the council’s members, applies to all Meretz members, not just its elected officials.