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Sep 11, 2013

Another Haredi woman is courageous in Jerusalem

Racheli Ibenboim dropped out of the municipal race due to threats, but she is not the only courageous Haredi woman in town.

Maseda Porat is now running for Jerusalem City Council, and she says she is withstanding the threats.

Porat is running on the party list of new party "Ometz Lev", or "Courageous" headed by Naomi Tzur (currently deputy mayor of Jerusalem).. Ometz Lev is a party made up of women from a cross of sectors of Israeli society. The Muslim woman on the list has backed down due to threats to her life, but Porat says she is staying in the race.

Prat thinks her situation is different than Ibenboim's because Ibenboim is from a fmaily of Gur hassidim who start up with unusually difficult rules abotu a woman's place in society. With her, Porat, not being Gur but being sephardic, she does not start off with the same limitations as Ibenboim. Despite that, Porat too has received threats and intimidation, though she says she will not give in to them.

Porat has expeience in being a trailblazer. Porat is one of the first haredi female journalists. She says that just like 20 years ago there were no women in the Haredi media, and people would say the womans place is at home or in school, yet today there is not a media source in the haredi media that does not have women. Porat says she wants to make it possible for other women, and open the window for them. She says there are many women who want to be active but are too afraid.

Porat says she has the backing of rabbonim, though as always in these situations it seems she is more courageous than her rabbinic backers as they remain anonymous.

(source: Kikar and NRG)

The Ometz Lev website is still under construction (though I am told that within the coming days the content will be available), so not knowing anything about this party or what they plan to focus on, I went looking and found their Facebook page. I wrote to Naomi Tzur, head of the party, and she directed me to the following information. Ometz Lev will be focusing on the following 7 issues:

  1. a democratic Jerusalem: increasing transparency and making the municipal information available to residents..
  2. making Jerusalem accessible and keeping it flowing: public transportation, advancing "green" transportation, to all parts of the city. making public transportation more efficient. making the city more accessible to older people and people with special needs...
  3. a clean Jerusalem:  allocating resources and fighting the relevant forces to significantly improve the level of cleanliness and care for the streets and parks...
  4. a green and healthy Jerusalem: increasing recycling, minimizing waste, education about environment, encouraging use of new energies and conserving water...
  5. Jerusalem with equality: strengthening the standing of all Jerusalem's residents, and integrating women in influential spots and decision making positions of the city
  6. kids at risk: working to rehabilitate kids at risk and preventing the risk... leadership training..
  7. encouraging business and tourism: increasing municipal and governmental support for business both new and old, advancing Jerusalem as an advanced city n the realm of green business in hi-tech and biotech...
All sounds good. Sounds like mostly a focus on women and green living.

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