Stuck in the past: Where are all the women on the Likud list? - comment

Of the Likud's top 20, three are women. And of the top 10, only one is a woman. At face value alone, this does not represent the Israeli public.

 Likud party member Miri Regev arrives to cast her vote in the Likud primaries at a polling station in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2022 (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Likud party member Miri Regev arrives to cast her vote in the Likud primaries at a polling station in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2022
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

The results of the Likud Party primaries were announced on Thursday afternoon. Of the top 40 names of the list, only eight are women. Of the top 20, a paltry three are women. And of the top 10, there is only one woman.

In 2022, a party that is claiming to be about promoting change, growth and evolving with the world sure appears to be stuck in the past.

According to the World Bank, as of 2021, 50.2% of Israel’s population is made up of women. We’re in 2022, so women supposedly should have the same rights as men, right? Equality for all?

Yet representation of women in one of the major parties, which led this country for years and is running in the coming elections to lead the coalition once more, is seriously lacking. At face value alone, this does not represent the Israeli public.

Yet this is who the public voted for, as this is based on the primaries – a democratic process – that took place throughout Wednesday.

 Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to cast his vote in the Likud primaries, at a polling station in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2022 (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90) Likud party head Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to cast his vote in the Likud primaries, at a polling station in Tel Aviv on August 10, 2022 (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

In contrast, the Labor Party primaries ended one day prior, yet they procured different results entirely. The party functions by the zipper system: a type of gender quota for political party lists that requires the lists alternate between women and men so they are 50-50 throughout.

So while Miri Regev is standing alone in the top 10 of the Likud list, Labor head Merav Michaeli is not left without company, as five additional female colleagues make up half of the top 10 candidates in the party’s list. This is because the zipper system in the party begins from one below the party head, who is voted on during a separate primary election.

Likud must get with the times

That is not to say anything about either party’s politics. Indeed, it is undeniable that there is a major gap in their levels of popularity. That being said, the Likud needs to get with the times.

The Likud needs to ask itself how it can claim to represent the majority of the public – to be the party of all of Israel – when approximately only one-seventh of the party’s list represents 50% of the public.

Times are a-changing, and if Israel doesn’t catch up quickly, we’re going to be left in the dust.