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Jul 17, 2019

Minister Rafi Peretz's missing handshake that shook the country

There is a report about an event at which Rav Rafi Peretz, Minister of Education, officiated called the International Physics Olympiad.

3 boys and a girl won prizes at the event. Peretz is coming under criticism for not shaking the girls hand, though he shook the hands of the boys. Peretz has responded to the criticism by saying he was not familiar with the protocol of the event and because she was first, he just did not realize he was supposed to shake her hand. Presumably by the next winner he had been told or figured it out.

In defense of Minister Peretz, besides for the fact that I don't see this as a bad thing, considering he is a religious politician, he also comes from a rabbinical background, not a political one. He is not a seasoned politician, and he likely falls back on his rabbinics considering he does not yet have developed political senses.

Nobody would expect any of the Haredi politicians to shake hands with a girl, and they are careful not to in the Knesset and at State visits from foreign dignitaries and at their meetings with female professionals, and nobody says boo when they don't. Just because Rav Peretz is dati does not mean he has to compromise on those same ideals, if that is what he believes is right. Even if I think it is ok to shake hands with a woman in a professional setting, I accept that others do not.

Besides for all that, this is a contrived crisis. If you watch the video in the original report of this incident, you will see that the girl did not even extend her hand toward Peretz for a shake. He did not rebuff her attempt to shake hands. She did not stick out her hand, and he did not stick out his. This entire crisis is made up and turned from something completely insignificant into an attack.

You can see the video on Mako.

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