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Nov 14, 2013

Proposed Law: Women must be included in lists of political parties

A little while back a lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court to disallow funding of political parties that do not include women in the party list.

I do not know what happened with that suit - I have not yet heard that it has been discussed or decided upon, so I assume it is still an open case.

Some lawmakers have decided not to wait for the Supreme Court decision, and are taking the same idea via a different route - legislation in the Knesset.
MK Yifat Kariv

According to Ladaat, MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) proposed a law, that passed yesterday in its initial reading in the Knesset, that would deduct funding by 15% from any party that does not include women, one woman out of every three candidates, on its list. Mk Hanin Zoabi (Balad) also proposed a similar law, deducting 30%.

MK Kariv explained that women are 51% of the population, but do not reach those proportions of representation in the elected bodies in local leadership.

MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) opposed the proposal, claiming that this proposal actually hurts women, as people would say this or that woman is only included on the list because they have to be, for the money, and not because they are qualified. Gafni said that his party, UTJ, has supported affirmative action for women for senior management positions and local government. Gafni says a law is not what is needed, but simply encouraging such appointments. He accused the secular of hypocrisy, as in the recent elections, out of 256 municipalities, only 3 women were elected.

He talks about encouraging women into leadership positions while UTJ will not include women on the party list. And, as the recent elections saw, when haredi women tried to run on independent lists, or other party lists because they could not do it through the haredi parties, they were pressured to drop out.

The proposal passed its initial reading by a vote of 44 in favor to 13 against. The vote will move to be debated in the relevant Knesset committees and then will be prepared for further voting in the Knesset.

If/when this law will be passed in its eventual final votes, I cannot wait to see how some parties will deal with it. Will they simply forgo that money or will they bite the bullet and integrate women into their lists?

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  1. But our esteemed mayor, Harav Moshe Abutbul said in his interview last week that Chareidi parties don't have women on their list because the women don't want to be - that they prefer to stay at home and cook in the kitchen and take care of their kids....the

  2. even if passed, why can't yahadut hatorah simply add 5 women, at spots 10 and below? do a k'ilu and laugh?

  3. does this mean that parties that have primaries must reserve spots for women? great for likud women. imagine the woman with the highest number of votes comes in 10th but gets pushed up to 3rd (or whatever) to fulfill the law. or the woman who is elected to an unrealistic spot who pushed up.

  4. I thought this was supposed to be a democracy?

    1. I don't believe democracy means what you think it means.

    2. In Israel, democracy means whatever the media wants to make it mean.

    3. as of today, men have a lot of advantages in many different areas of government. yahadut hatorah works to keep this status quo. they have thrown absolute fits when someone proposes laws which give women an "in". so while i see a lot of problems with this type of law, my sympathy for gafni and any problems that is party will encounter is extremely limited.

    4. Ben - there is a common response to the question of why women are not in haredi parties. That response is - the women dont want to be in the parties. The women know they have a different task in life, and don't want to get involved in party politics.
      If that is the case, there biggest problem might soon be that the party will want women, so as not to lose the party money but no women will want to join...

    5. as you know the last round of municipal elections had a small set of women running. and like i said before, yahadut hatorah could always do a k'ilu. we've mastered the art of k'ilu so one more shouldn't be a problem.

  5. "He accused the secular of hypocrisy, as in the recent elections, out of 256 municipalities, only 3 women were elected."

    He's assuming this law is aimed exclusively against the haredi parties, but why should he assume that? Maybe the law is at least partially intended to remedy exactly the situation Gafni himself is pointing to. In America, this issue of "Orthodox" political parties doesn't even exist, yet there have been various quota systems used, at least on the intra-party level. Whether one agrees with the proposal or not, it's not as if this issue only exists in the context of the secular being out to get the haredim.


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