Beth Cohen
Unabashed lesbian equalist and ardent Zionist

You CAN Make THE Difference

#inyourhands #inourhands #kolhanashim

For days and counting.

Three days and counting.

Time is running, the clock is ticking.

Round three is about to begin.

I ask you all the same question I have been asking everyone I meet. -and yes, I ask in true Israeli style -half statement with the strong implied instruction –this is what you will do -and half question.

So, you will be voting, yes?

The television, radio and social media are filled with our children reminding us, demanding us to vote.

One of the most intelligent things to come out of the absurdity of these elections is the coming advertisements that have brought together our young demanding that as adults we take the reigns and vote.

The fact is -we, as citizens of Israel, are so tired, so overwhelmed with the feeling that we have no power -that we are riding on a conveyor belt that never ends. And yes, it does feel that way – but I am here to tell you something that I believe is already in your heart. You must vote. We all must vote. This message has been playing non-stop, courtesy of the Election Broadcast, ‘You do not have the right to give up your right to vote.’

Yes -we all must vote. Under ordinary circumstances, Israelis, by nature and in accordance with our history, vote in impressive numbers -and in extremely high percentages. But now, as we enter the 3rd round of voting for the 23rd knesset, we have the feeling that there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. Our politicians have let us down. Our parties, that we have been loyal to, often for generations, have let us down. The biggest parties have not been capable of putting together a government -and there is no reason to believe that this time will be different. We, as a people, are losing the ideals that have kept us very alive, vocal and even cantankerous around election time. Quite simply, we have been drained of our faith in our government, in our representatives. They have let us down. We feel -there is no hope. It is pointless.

But maybe – no, not maybe – THERE IS HOPE. THERE IS HOPE.

And that hope is called, Kol Hanashim. That hope is Kol Hanashim, the Women’s Party.

Kol Hanashim is the answer to the existing failure of the male dominated -the patriarchal Knesset that has assumed absolutism over our lives. And yes, they are a patriarchy. How are they patriarchy? 1) Less than 5% of all members of Knesset have been women (women make up 51% of the population). 2) In the last years, the numbers of women in the Knesset have been going down. 3) laws and decisions having to do with women (e.g. the 20 million NIS that was to be allocated to fight domestic violence; STILL NO MONEY ACTUALLY GIVEN) 4) women make approximately 60 agorot for every shekel made by men – I could go on, but you get the picture.

Kol Hanashim. The women in this party, the 100 plus women running for Knesset are all activists, each working towards the betterment of our society; working to make a difference in the daily lives of all Israelis. Our first 10 candidates are dedicated, passionate and compassionate women with boundless energy. This blog, just moments before the 3rd round of elections for the 23rd Knesset, is dedicated to these women I have come to admire and love.

Who are these amazing women? 

  • Dr Mazal Shaul, PHd, chemistry; served 3 terms, member of the Azor local council; CEO of the association CAN, National Women’s Power to increase women’s representation in the public and political spheres. For 2 years, Mazal was a spokesperson for the Israeli delegation to the UN, leading to an increased number of women mayors in 2018; selected one of 10 women participating in New York Jewish Collective Cohort Program.
  • Sharon Rofe Ofir, Deputy Head of the Local Council, Kiriat Tivon; journalist and investigative reporter, 22 years at Yediot Ahronot, reporter: criminal, legal and Arab society; Author of project, Don’t Rape Me Quite, candidate for the Sokolov Prize; lecturer in the field of communication; active in promoting the most critical topics affecting Israel today, emphasizing gender equality with the goal of changing regulations, laws and more.
  • Orit Taya, Aliyah date, 1983 from Ethiopia; army service, one of the first officers born in Ethiopia; MBA; Director of local community center, Rehovot; Outreach together with the Peres Academic Center, working with disadvantaged youth to achieve academic advancement.
  • Dr Elana Sztokman, PhD, anthropology and education; leading expert in gender inclusion in Jewish life; author at Lioness Books; winner of the National Jewish Book Award; Development and Evaluation Director Itach – Maaki Women Lawyers for Social Justice; Development Assoc, New Israel Fund; Founding Director, The Center for Jewish Feminism.
  • Effy Fadida, LLB, LLC; MA, Law; Chair, All Women movement, to promote women’s rights and equality, involving women from all sectors of Israeli life and across the political spectrum. The activity in the movement is full Author of The Female Inspirational Book; founder of the Memorial Day for Victims of Violence Against Women; Moderator, 17+years, Women’s Circle, Carmiel;
  • Dr Janet Cohen, married with 5 children, living in Bar Yochai National Religious Village; Specializes in community study, gaps and peripheral inequality relations; Faculty, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Safed Academic College; Founder of women’s initiative for employment in Safed and the Single mothers’ empowerment project; Steering Committee, College for Multiculturalism; Published studies on perceptions of residents’ perceptions regarding various actions that the state is trying to implement.
  • Hanan Albasi, born in Jaffa, into a large family within a conservative Arab society that does not encourage personal development, study of self-realization. After years of struggle and against all odds, Hanan went from staircase cleaner to Director, Arab Society, Interdisciplinary College Herzliya; dedicated to initiatives promoting peace in Israel and abroad; works to illuminate the inner light, the hope, and the belief that personal responsibility can bring about another reality, even in the darkest places of Israeli society and create an opportunity to connect to inner peace, personal value and contribute to the world as a source of creating a more equitable and just society; Lecturer, facilitator across groups of sectors, religions and cultures; Leads change processes in organizations; broadcaster on Life Essence Radio.
  • Yael Kehat, MBA and BA, sociology, anthropology and political science; fluent in 6 languages; mother of 2 combat soldiers; daughter of Olim from Brazil; Co-owner of media company for investigative articles, magazines and documentaries; festival producer; teacher of Latin and English; Member, Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Jordan – Gulf States; Member, 8200 Association, Intelligence Corps; Social activist and leader, the inter-party forum – Want and Influence, to advance women in the public and political spheres; Active in the I am a woman, I choose movement, raising female representation and issues that promote women.
  • Talia Omer, raised on Kibbutz Ein Gedi, married plus 3; Established the Ein Gedi Travel and Events Center; Served as kibbutz Secretary; Director, Future Bridge, an institute, Oranim College, using a systemic vision, making data-based decisions to close demographic gaps in Israel; served as VP, Office of Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee; various managerial roles, the Galilee Development Authority, during the course of 10 years; Established round table discussions for the development of industry, tourism and demographic growth; One of the leaders for the establishment of BIU medical school in Safed; led a series of programs to promote health in the north; assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses in Levi Galilee Middle East; co-founded the Karmiel Misgav Women’s Forum.
  • Daniella Siman Tov, Lit the beacon for Independence Day, works at the School of Music, Ono Academic College; Animal Therapist; Married to Col. Shay Siman Good, 12th Battalion Brigade commander of the Golani Brigade who was wounded in Operation Tzuk Eitan; mother of 2; believes in the power of women and a more equitable and just society.

Kol Hanashim, the Women’s Party. This Monday, vote ‘נ’   

Israel deserves better. We all do.

 

 

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 25 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 worked to get members of the political party, Kol Hanashim, elected into the 23rd Knesset. Currently, Beth, like much the rest of the population is home, praying we will all meet again on the other side of this pandemic. Until then, will continue to write and share her writing, sometimes sad, sometimes sarcastic, some funny -and always from the heart.
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