Carmella Menashe, the veteran military reporter for Israel Radio, didn't want to rain on President Shimon Peres's parade - or so she said. But when she used a Women on the Frontlines forum convened by Peres on Sunday to note the difference between the former and present regimes at Beit Hanassi and to come out sharply against the humiliations that women had to endure under the previous one to advance their careers, no one tried to stop her. Moreover judging by the knowing looks between Menashe and Beit Hanassi staff, and the embraces that she received afterwards, it seemed as if her outburst had been deliberately planned. Menashe could have said the same thing to Peres in private as she said to a bevy of open microphones. "In this place acts were perpetrated against women that damaged them for years," said Menashe in a voice that quivered with emotion. She was happy to note the change. Peres is a long-time champion of women's rights and frequently argues that the nation has lost more than half of its potential by not allowing women equal opportunities in all spheres of life. He said this again on Sunday after listening to 22 women, mainly from the north and the south of the country, talk about how they managed to juggle their family responsibilities with their professional workloads. The women included an Air Force pilot; senior officers (some of them commanders) in the IDF, the police and the Civil Guard; senior hospital staff from Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon; community welfare officers in different categories working both locally and regionally; and Liora Birenhak Marcus, the first woman head of the Haifa Manufacturers Association. Birenhak said that during the Second Lebanon War, more women showed up in workplaces than men. None of the women thought they were doing anything special, and even Marina Kaminska, a doctor who was decorated for bravery for treating wounded soldiers under fire, didn't think she was doing anything out of the ordinary. Kaminska came to Israel seven years ago, and volunteered for the army after passing examinations and doing a hospital internship. Most of the women refused to give themselves any credit, but gave credit to other women who worked with them, speaking of their devotion, their sense of unity and their indefatigable readiness to meet every challenge. The women who came from Sderot complained about the lack of fortifications and the fact that sometimes it was easier to cope with the threat of the external enemy than it was to deal with internal bureaucracy. Peres listened intently as every woman spoke, but the person who captured his attention most was a woman yet-to-be: four-and-a-half year old violinist Shani Levy from Migdal Haemek who played several solos on a miniature violin. Levy has been playing the violin for 18 months. Peres was visibly entranced, and when she concluded her performance, he rose from his chair and embraced her.