For a moment, let’s step away from loving women. To love is so often misunderstood. “I love fish,” said the man, and he ate it.
Respecting women is harder to misunderstand. Yesterday, my lovely daughter in her early 20s told me a horrible story. With her permission, I share here what I understood and remember of it.
She has a steady relationship and hardly ever walks the street alone anymore. Yesterday, she happened to be on her own outside in Tel Aviv, and she found herself bothered by men non-stop. She had forgotten that this is the default situation for a female alone in the public domain.
Yes, she is considered stunning in the eyes of many Israelis, but she’s not public property. No, it is not nice to be addressed with a smile by men (only men) who pretend to be interested in you and nice but they are not. They are just catering to their own hunger (“I love women.”)
There are so many infuriating aspects to this:
● This is considered normal.
● This is considered nice or at least innocent.
● It seems that this will never be outlawed.
● This teaches males and females that women are here to please men.
This micro-aggression is as poisonous as calling “dirty Jew.” What at all is it? It’s not genocide. No, it isn’t, but it’s the necessary basis for it.
Toying with females can be so ‘normal’ that no one notices when some men treat their wives so much as their possession that they may kill them.
And women are trained from the cradle that a compliment is nice but that their basic, stand-alone value is zero, so that many can’t resist abusers.
Coalition MKs voted against the protective measures and left the plenum hall crying. A clear example of a lack of democracy. Democracy is not ‘The majority rules.’ As I learned in the Netherlands in school when I was 10: ‘Democracy is the majority rules taking all minorities into account.’ And herein, the High Court can’t intervene. It can strike down laws that abuse minorities but can’t enforce pro-minority laws that are voted down.
Unprovoked, a taxi driver told my daughter yesterday that a female MK should be raped for her opinion. My daughter was shocked, of course, and replied that no one should be raped. To which he said: Tell your father—I’m sure he agrees with me. Just a taxi ride that she had to pay for.
After what my daughter told me and this disastrous vote, I couldn’t sleep. If enough women told men in their lives how sexism ruins their lives daily, things would finally change. Not to blame women who don’t speak up. Ideally, we men should tell all men until something changes. Post-war Germany shows that when the number of bigots falls to 20%, they can be cornered and rendered powerless.
I think LGBTQ+ organizations in Israel must voice solidarity with women, condemn sexism, and the Knesset’s terrible rejection to protect women against murder. Many Gay and Trans people have been chronically abused and seem intimidated. The bullying must stop, but also of ‘random’ women. An alliance could be really fruitful. Lesbians, Trans women, Trans men, and bi-genders could lead the forming of such a coalition.