Beth Cohen
Unabashed lesbian equalist and ardent Zionist

If Not Now, When?

Or Why Now is THE Time for the Women's Party, Kol Hanashim

Here we are, just ten days away from elections and the outlook is as grim as ever…or is it? I refuse to give in to the pessimism, sarcasm and darkness. I choose to be part of the solution. I choose to vote with intent. And part of my intent is to help any of you still debating what to do, what party to vote for and if to vote at all.

It is here that I want to say how dangerous the last possibility is. The right to vote is not obvious. It may feel that way at times. It may also feel tiring and frustrating. The choices may make you angry or sad. Believe me, the absurdity of the upcoming 3rd round of elections is not lost on me. But I have decided to take this 3rd round as an opportunity. The first two rounds were horrible failures and demonstrated, at least to me, how misfocussed and inept some of our politicians are at dialogue, at compromise. It is no small wonder that they were not able to sit and come together for the people of this country. It is no small wonder, especially when one looks at the people involved -the one detail, or lack of detail that stands out to me – the lack of women. Where are the women? Why were their no women sitting at the negotiating table? Why are there still so few women placed realistically on the list of the 2 biggest parties? How did a country that began with men and women fighting and working along side each other, building the country from the ground -up, how did we become a country with so few women in government? I actually have a pretty good idea.

Since the founding of our party, Kol Hanashim, the question most put to me, as a member of the Kol Hanashim women’s party is, ‘why now?’ or worse, the statement that voting for Kol Hanashim would be a ‘wasted vote.’

I find these to be surrealistic in nature. Why now??? ‘Wasted vote???’ Seriously. These 3 elections are costing the country approximately 6 billion new shekels! Think about what could be done with this money! Look at the monthly stipend given to our elderly. They have worked their whole lives and should have a livable budget. How many of our ill people, so sick needing hospitalization are hospitalized, only to be set on a bed in the corridor? And those doctors, 4 doctors that were left so desolate from the lack of support, lack of funds, and unbearable hours -that they took their own lives! Why do we not have a higher quota for doctors in the hospitals. Do you know there are actually dozens of new doctors each year, who upon finishing their studies, cannot find jobs and are unemployed? Do you know that the people -our children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles -living in the south near Gaza have not received promised funding for support; that not only do they live under a threat that no government has been able to solve, but that same government is not actually sending funds for even the cost of treatment of PTSD! 6 billion shekels, that could build 2 new and very much needed hospitals. Do you remember the plan for the prevention of violence against women – a plan that was passed by Knesset with much back slapping, winking and ‘see, we do care’ speeches? Do you know that nothing since has been actually done and the plan has not been enacted because zero funds were allotted (!) for this cause? Women have a much greater chance of being killed by domestic violence then terrorism. How much money is spent to prevent terrorism and absolutely zero has been spent to prevent domestic violence! Understand, I appreciate the feeling of safety from terrorism, but shouldn’t we also feel safe in our own homes?

Ok, I got caught up in a rant and I could go on…but, you get the picture. Don’t you? I am not sure that you do -because you keep asking those questions.

The big parties claim to represent the women of this country as well as the men, yet the issues intrinsically linked to women, like domestic violence, support for victims of sexual assault, equal pay for equal work, affordable childcare, etc. – these issues are given a loud not, and if we are lucky, a vote; but action and funding?

The big parties claim to include women, but in reality -where exactly are the women in these parties placed on the party list? Are there any women in realistic positions? And the smaller parties? How many of these won’t even consider having a woman on their list? How exactly are these parties representing me?

Kol Hanashim is the only party that puts women at the forefront. Kol Hanashim also has the longest list of candidates, with over 100 women, representing every facet of Israeli society, including non-religious, religious, traditional, haradi and Arab. I challenge anyone doubting this to look at our list.

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity surrounding the upcoming elections, our third attempt to get a working government to serve the people of Israel. Third! 3rd!  We should all be very afraid. The date has already been set for the 4th round of elections. THE FOURTH ROUND OF ELECTIONS has been scheduled for September 8th, 2020. A date has already been set, and we haven’t even had the opportunity to fail with #3.

It is my hope, that leads me to believe that the people of this country have learned something from these first 2 elections for the 23rd Knesset.

  • Our country has been paralyzed, budgets, funding not moved from decision to actuality.
  • Our lawmakers have not been working for us to improve our lives and the lives of our children -they have been crazy busy working to get themselves reelected.

Israel is in need of change. Israel needs elected women leaders.

If we all continue to vote the same, then the results will be the same.

The 2 big male dominated parties have failed us. They did not have the ability to form a government. Their patriarchal minds did not have the ability to listen and to take action for the good of the people. They were all too busy, and will continue to be busy with the job of getting elected, of being in control, of keeping themselves in control and of seeing to it that their own needs are met.

Women make up 51% of the population. Since the forming of the State in 1948, women have held approximately 5% of the total Knesset seats.

To get back to my original point, if this is not a ‘good time’ for a women’s party, when will be? When will the votes for women not endanger the balance (that doesn’t really exist anyway)?

We are about to vote for the 3rd time. This is the perfect time for votes to the women’s party. This is the time to support an inclusive women’s party representing the myriad of faces of Israel. This is the time for a sane vote. This is the time. We need women in the Knesset. We can’t afford to elect the same parties, unable to make a move and take a stand.

What does all this mean?

On March 2nd, say, ‘Enough!’ and vote ‘נ’

What makes the Kol Hanashim Women's Party different from all the other parties? I found out last night at the Kibbutz Al Hachof pub in Rishon at a panel of women in politics. Representatives of many different parties were there, talking women's issues. It was interesting and fun, and highlighted the unparalleled necessity of a women's party right now.Watch and share your thoughts!And please share!If you care about women in Israel, put a NUN in the kalpi and vote for Mifleget Kol Hanashim!

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Elana Sztokman‎‏ ב- יום רביעי, 19 בפברואר 2020

What makes the Kol Hanashim Women’s Party different from all the other parties? Dr Elana Sztokman, our #4 has something to share.



About the Author
Beth Cohen, born July 19th 1962 in Brooklyn, NY. Attended Syracuse University and made Aliyah upon graduation in Sept 1983. She became a member of Kibbutz Ketura, married and started the journey as a mother to two boys, now 28 and 31 years. Grandmother to Eitan, aged 23 months. In 1997, Beth moved her family to Binyamina, where she lived until moving to Zichron with her wife. Throughout the years, Beth has had many jobs, including speech therapist, shiatsu therapist, kibbutz gardner and irrigation manager, medical sales rep, regional sales manager and client retention. Beth and her wife co-founded a medical writing business, and she continues to work as a medical marketing writer and editor. While these occupations have been a constant, Beth's passion and constant is writing, using the written platform as her mediium to share her experiences and life views. In 2017, Beth published her first novel, a futuristic women's dystopian novel, Her Destiny Is Change. The feedback was, and continues to be fantastic. Beth promoted the book with book readings here in Israel and in Amsterdam. In the early 2000's Beth started writing and publish her blog, LesbosOnTheCouch, which became popular both here in Israel and abroad, giving her almost celebrity status among English speaking lesbians in Israel. Beth is currently diligently working to get members of the political party, Kol Hanashim, elected into the 23rd Knesset.