Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. Throughout Iowa history, Jewish women have played important roles in community and family life, maintaining cultural and religious traditions, working in businesses and on farms, and participating in civic life. Yet there are few documents in our archives and historical societies that record this history. The Iowa Women’s Archives seeks documents that illuminate the history of Jewish women in Iowa.

Three years ago, the Yerushalmit Movement attempted to launch a citywide ad campaign featuring only women. After Azaria’s victory in court, the bus company didn’t refuse the campaign, but it did argue that it feared buses would be vandalized, and tried to get the organization to pay an additional fee.

In November 2007 the Air Force appointed its first woman deputy squadron commander. Since the founding of the State of Israel, relatively few women have served in the Israeli government, and fewer still have served in the leading ministerial offices. While Israel is one of a small number of countries where a woman—Golda Meir—has served as Prime Minister, it is behind most Western countries in the representation of women in both the parliament and government. Women in Israel earn 67 percent of what men earn, according to the 2020 Gender Index conducted by the Center for the Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Only 30 percent of Arab women participate in the labor force in Israel, compared to 60 percent of Arab men, 60 percent of the general female population, and 68 percent of the general male public. “To say that Netanyahu’s government would not get an outstanding grade on advancing women’s rights would be an understatement,” said Gali Etzion, who heads the legislation department at NA’AMAT, Israel’s largest women’s rights NGO. The Bellaire Jewish Center was established in October 2010 thanks to the vision of several members of the Bellaire community.

  • The 2000 Equality amendment to the Military Service law states that “The right of women to serve in any role in the IDF is equal to the right of men.” 88% of all roles in the IDF are open to female candidates, while women can be found in 69% of all positions.
  • Female soldiers have served in the Israel Defense Forces since its founding, with the country, in 1948.
  • A poll conducted by Tel Aviv University in 2009 revealed that 65% of the Jewish Israeli community supported the availability of civil, gender-neutral marriage, even though 70% of those polled expressed that a religious ceremony was still personally important for their own wedding.
  • I’m also aware that it’s possible that women I know work in prostitution, but I’m simply unaware of it.
  • The Violence Against Women Act is the major federal response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking (“the four crimes”).

Lo Nivcharot, Lo Bocharot is a Haredi feminist movement launched by Esty Shushan in October 2012, to protest the exclusion of Haredi women from Haredi political parties and from the Haredi public sphere in general. Women’s International Zionist Organization , is a volunteer organization dedicated to social welfare in all sectors of Israeli society, the advancement of the status of women, and Jewish education in Israel and the Diaspora. WIZO was founded in England on 7 July 1920, and then opened branches throughout Europe and the Americas, and created well-baby clinics and clothing distribution centers in Mandatory Palestine, many still in operation today. After the creation of the State of Israel, the organization’s headquarters moved from London to Israel. This scrubbing-out was understood to be a pathetic story about a fringe sector taking ridiculous measures to try to preserve its counter-reality. But to laugh off the image, to treat it as a curiosity, would be to disregard a serious fight being waged in Israel over the representation of women in the public sphere.

Fly on the Wall

That was because the woman in question, Romy Levy, is the executive director of Argaman – the Israel Sex Workers Alliance. During stormy debates in recent years regarding legislation banning the use of prostitutes (aka, the “client criminalization law”) – Levy opposed the law and the aid organizations that supported it. Initially the filmmaker still thought of combining these conversations with animation and the 1960s murder plot. But soon the monologues won out and demanded all the screen time for themselves. Everything else Yarom tried to include in the documentary suddenly seemed to be artificial, a distraction.

A Community for All

A few weeks after the revision of the ordinance, rabbis and other members of the religious-Zionist community once again voiced their opposition to women’s integration in military service. This time, they went as far as to call for Orthodox soldiers to refuse to serve in mixed units and for the dismissal of the chief of staff, particularly in light of the appointment of the first female commander of an air force squadron. The complaints led Kalifi-Amir to commission an in-depth study intended to examine the on-the-ground implementation of the ordinance. Yet one largely overlooked area of consensus—and hope for many—is the issue of women’s rights. In addition to including an Arab party for the first time in Israel’s 73-year-history, this government also boasts a record number of female ministers—nine out of 27. This is not a war between the military and religious sectors of Israeli society only, but a national struggle. In the framework of the public debate over the updating of the Joint Service Ordinance, representatives of religious Zionism made use of all possible arguments against the integration of women into the army.

“In the film you don’t see her, you only hear her voice because she was actively working as a prostitute and didn’t want to expose herself,” explains Yarom. Her life was full of drama, and I said okay, so there will be one person in the film whom you don’t see. And for as long as I’d known her, about three years, every six months or so she would try to commit suicide. Liat, one of the women appearing in ‘The Prostitution Monologues.’ More than anything, a confusing film.

The law doubles the penalty if the perpetrator assaults or rapes a relative. There are nine rape crisis centers that operate a 24-hour crisis line for victims to sexual violence. The Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs operates a battered women’s shelter and an abuse reporting hotline. Women’s organizations provided counseling, crisis intervention, legal assistance, and shelters. Israeli law prohibits discrimination based on gender in matters such as employment and wages, and provides for class-action lawsuits. However, in tandem, sexist wage disparities between men and women remain an issue in parts of the state.

How I Fell in Love With Israel

Evaluating the IDF’s fitness is not the business of religious leaders or the Israeli public, both of whom lack the technical knowledge required. The fact that rabbis weighed in anyway speaks to the importance of the IDF’s unspoken role not only as a military force but also as a social designer. The ordinance also specifies that a soldier who observes an Orthodox religious lifestyle is entitled to train within an all-male framework and be commanded by a male soldier. He is also exempt from training involving physical contact with women or contact with women soldiers dressed immodestly . However, with regard to other activities, the ordinance stipulates that it is permissible to place all soldiers in a mixed-gender framework. And all IDF soldiers must participate in formal military ceremonies, with no exemption on the basis of religious lifestyle.

Similarly, a Muslim man is privileged to divorce his wife without her consent and without petitioning the court. Similar problems with gender segregation have surfaced on airlines such as El Al, where ultra-Orthodox male passengers have pressured females to move, and planes have been delayed as a result. The New York Times interviewed Anat Hoffman on the phenomenon of ultra-Orthodox males asking female passengers on airlines to move, noting that IRAC had started a campaign urging Israeli women not to give up their seats. A major motivation for homicide in Israel is violence against women (including so-called “honor killings” in Muslim families). Several honor killings occur yearly in Israel within the Israeli Arab community.

At first they served mainly in administrative jobs or as instructors in a variety of fields, but they gradually moved into operational positions due to both a shortage in combat soldiers and demands of Israeli feminist groups. According to Haaretz, the number of female combatants has more than doubled in recent years. Four years later, in 2016, the percentage more than doubled to 7 percent—and it will likely continue to rise. The limited number of women in public life can be attributed, to a large extent, to the political structure itself. The system of proportional representation, which actually encouraged women’s representation in Europe, has not had the same effect in Israel. A great deal of power is granted to the political parties, in which women tend to be under­represented, particularly at the decision­making levels.

In September 2020, the Abraham Accords, signed by Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain, were published — the first official peace agreements between Israel and an Arab country since the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. Although the Abraham Accords were presented by the signatories as an important milestone toward regional cooperation, they do not address the continued occupation or the rights of Palestinians, leaving the most controversial issues aside. Coincidently or not, they also fail to mention women and, as such, do not differ from previous accords signed by Israel in the 1990s in their approach to gender in terms of process, content, or discourse. About 30 out of 100 women with a BRCA gene mutation will get ovarian cancer by the time they turn 70 years old, compared to fewer than 1 out of 100 women in the general U.S. population. About 50 out of 100 women with a BRCA gene mutation will get breast cancer by the time they turn 70 years old, compared to only 7 out of 100 women in the general U.S. population.