Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Israeli Politics

Among the multitude of political parties on the slate for January 2013's Israeli elections, two parties not only have no women on their list, but have no intention of placing women on their list, not even in a symbolic location (120/120).  I will not name these two parties, but I will give you a hint:  they treat women and anyone else as second and third class citizens, they leech from the government and spit on the modern State of Israel; and they justify their abhorrent behaviour saying that essentially, God likes them better because they are Ultra Orthodox,and therefore they have a divine right to treat other humans like garbage, even their own wives and mothers and sisters and daughters. 

Today some enraged Israeli citizens, feminist and otherwise, filed a suit to disqualify these two parties from the general election in January.  When asked to explain themselves, Shas and Yahadut Hatorah (oops, I told...)  replied that in denying the women of their movement a voice, they are following the Torah!  "In the halacha, men have certain roles and women have a different role."

The bulls**t meter is reading high on this one.

Unfortunately, living in Israel has jaded me against the general behaviour of the Ultra Orthodox community, and just this morning, a patient and I - both tolerant and modern Orthodox women -had a conversation on the topic, in which we agreed:  the Ultra Orthodox have as much right as anyone else to move into a neighborhood and expect certain services ie take it over and push out anyone not like you.  But as a citizen of Israel and the world, be a Mensch;  serve in the army, pay taxes on legitimate work instead of the grey market, support the government instead of cursing its existence and throwing stones at Israeli policemen.

These Ultra-Orthodox parties claim racism and bias, that the 'white folk' treat them unfairly.  As one of their so-called second class and a Barnard College graduate, I can say with assurance that the reception they receive is equally proportional to their actions.

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