Women's place? Not in government

Although the 18th Knesset includes 21 female parliamentarians, the largest number in Israeli history, most likely none will be in cabinet.

knesset plenum 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
knesset plenum 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Although the 18th Knesset includes 21 female parliamentarians - the largest number in the history of the state, there is no reflection of this in the incoming government. Judging by the most recent media reports, it would seem that not only will the ratio of women in government fall far short of their representation in the Knesset, but there is little likelihood there will be any women at all in Israel's 32nd government. The media, speculating on the apportioning of ministerial portfolios, makes occasional mention of Likud MK Limor Livnat, but with so many other frustrated hopefuls to whom Prime Minister designate Binyamin Netanyahu has allegedly promised a cabinet position, it looks as if Livnat and Israel Beiteinu's Sofa Landver could at best receive an appointment as deputy minister - if that. This fact assumed greater significance on Sunday, International Women's Day, as media outlets in Israel and around the world began publishing statistics related to women. In Israel, women represent 51 percent of the population, and have made enormous progress in managerial positions in both the public and private sectors, but when it comes to government, Israel lags way behind many developed countries, especially those in Scandinavia. The 13th government of Israel, which held office from January 1966, to March 1969, was the first without a woman. Admittedly, Golda Meir had been the sole woman in the 12 preceding governments, but at least the government was not entirely a male domain, even though Ben-Gurion called her the only man in his government. Some women over the years have held two or more portfolios simultaneously, thus it could be argued that female representation in the government was actually more than meets the eye. Even so, the ratio has never come anywhere near women's representation in the population.