Peta Jones Pellach
Teacher and activist in Jerusalem

Did Nobody Notice?

Any other developed country would be ashamed.

But we in Israel – we don’t allow other countries to set the standards for us.

We do what we want.

And anyway, nobody seems to have noticed.

It is another promise that Benny Gantz has broken and another standard that Benjamin Netanyahu is happy to ignore.

We are about to appoint a new government with a record number of ministers. The appointments are after a prolonged process of negotiation. It is about power and bargaining skills, classic deal-making. In many ways, it is a game. May the best man win!

I do mean man. Because there are almost no women.

This government does not represent the voters. It is not about the best person for the job. It is a men’s club and we cannot tell ourselves otherwise.

When Benny Gantz was challenged about the male-only leadership of Kachol-Lavan before the previous elections, he explained it away as the result of the alliance of parties making up the coalition. He assured women that they would be well represented in government.

On International Women’s Day on March 8th, Netanyahu said that women are breaking the glass ceilings. He forgot to add that he intended to reverse any gains we may have made.

Any other developed country – and many developing countries – would be ashamed to present such an imbalanced government to the world.

I am ashamed. But nobody else seems to have noticed. And that makes me more ashamed.

About the Author
A fifth generation Australian, Peta made Aliyah in 2010. She is Senior Fellow of the Kiverstein Institute, Director of Educational Activities for the Elijah Interfaith Institute, secretary of the Jerusalem Rainbow Group for Jewish-Christian Encounter and Dialogue, a co-founder of Praying Together in Jerusalem and a teacher of Torah and Jewish History. She has visited places as exotic as Indonesia and Iceland to participate in and teach inter-religious dialogue. She also broadcasts weekly on SBS radio (Australia) with the latest news from Israel. Her other passions are Scrabble and Israeli folk-dancing.
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