by Loribeth Weinstein
Printed in the January 11, 2012 issue of the Washington Jewish Week
What would Golda think? What would Golda say? I think she would say “for shame.” For shame that in Israel a few men are being allowed the power to extend their exclusionary religious agendas to those who don’t believe as they do. For shame, that this is happening in a country where women are growing in prominence in a variety of fields. For shame, in a country under attack from so much of the world, we attack ourselves.
In the past few months, Israel has seen many egregious acts of women being systematically separated and removed from public life. From male soldiers refusing to listen to their female colleagues singing at Israeli Army events to women told to sit in the back of the bus; from 8-year-old Na’ama Margolis in Beit Shemesh harassed when walking to school to women forbidden from shopping in bookstores unless dressed according to haredi standards, the presence of women and girls is under attack. In Jerusalem, women’s photos have been removed from virtually all billboards, and they are not allowed to sit near men on certain buses. These are examples of efforts to make women in Israel publicly invisible.