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Telling the President What We Think

Samah Salaime, the director of Na’am Arab Women in the Center was invited, together with a coalition of women's organizations, to the president's house. They came to express deep concern and outrage about judicial reform now underway in the Knesset, to talk about the and the severe harm it will bring to women's rights. Among other things, they worry that the historic low in the representation of women in the current administration, and the absence of women in the ongoing negotiations will mean women get left out in the end. We came to remind you, they said, that we are 51% of the population, and our voice must be heard.

President Herzog and his wife Michal spent over an hour listening to the words of leaders of women’s organizations.

“We will not agree to let the ground fall from under the judicial system, and especially not from under the High Court, which has protected women over the years. We will not agree to any withdrawal from the guarantee of equal rights for women that was promised to us in the Declaration of Independence: ‘Complete social and political equality of rights for all its citizens regardless of religion, race and gender’.”

Equal rights for women are guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence

Samah spoke, emphasizing the harmful impact that the planned reform will have on women's organizations, especially those Arab women, which are not supported by the state. Further government plans that will hobble these organizations include the impositions of high taxes on the donations they receive as well as expanding the powers of rabbinic courts (which will also expand the authority of Sharia courts). And with the judicial reform, we will not be able to petition the High Court against them. All the existing government programs intended to integrate Arab women into employment and academia will be cut. Crucially for many Arab women, if the plan is to flood the Jewish street with weapons in the name of security, we know where these weapons will go and how women will be killed by them.

The women attending represented: Building an Alternative; Deborah Institute; Women Wage Peace; WePower; Women Lawyers for Social Justice; Forum Dvorah; Israel Women’s Network; Union of Centers for Victims of Sexual Abuse; BatKol; Kolech – Forum of Religious Women; Directors Leading Change.

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