Orna Raz

Day 17 Of The War: Where Are The Women?

The last decade was good for women: we were hopeful and felt that women in Israel have  finally begun to crack the glass ceiling.  More women were able to secure top positions among civil servants, in the medical profession, the business world, academia and other fields. However, after the November 2022 election, which resulted in a coalition with the extreme right and the ultra-orthodox, this positive trend took a sharp turn. In a very short period, many accomplished women  lost their jobs in government offices and were pushed away from prominent roles. Instead, the current government began sidelining women and attempting to enact laws that would legalize and normalize discrimination against them. It’s true that this government does have several ministers, but they were appointed not because of their professionalism, experience, and commitment to improving citizens’ lives. Rather, they were chosen because of their relationship with   Netanyahu, his wife, and son,  and  as a prize for their total loyalty.

For 39 weekends, the Israeli public took to the streets to protest against a series of authoritarian measures initiated by this government and the Knesset (the Judicial Overhaul). Over the course of these ten months of demonstrations, we witnessed the emergence of numerous brilliant and creative women who assumed leadership roles within this protest movement. Hopefully, once the war is over and the current destructive government is replaced, these women will have the opportunity to take on prominent roles in the civil service, become Knesset members, and even serve as ministers in the new government

As we stood in Kaplan, protesting the government’s corruption, cynicism, and recklessness, we couldn’t have foreseen that the catastrophic consequences of their actions would materialize so quickly. Nevertheless, they did. While the government and the military come to terms with the aftermath of the pogrom and the tragic unpreparedness of those who were supposed to protect the citizens of Israel, I can’t help but notice the continued absence of women in the decision-making process. It’s as if, even after all that has happened, the men are still talking, despite their tragic incompetence, and I ask, where are the women? As the fate of my country is being determined, it’s high time to hear the voices of experienced, honest, and dedicated women.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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