To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Council of Women’s Organizations in Israel organized a high-profile meeting at the Knesset on November 27, 2019.
Despite the political hiatus and lack of government, the event took place in one of the Knesset’s largest meeting rooms. It was well attended by women’s organizations and politicians, who are united around this issue. One of the impetuses for the gathering was a series of recent murders of women by their husbands, which were widely reported and discussed in the Israeli media.
Oshrit Setbon, Chair of the Council of Women’s Organizations of Israel and ICJW Vice-Chair for Israel, organized the event, which was attended by politicians from across the political spectrum. Among those presenting and present were MKs Gila Gamliel, Minister for Social Inclusion (Likud), Keren Barak (Likud), Gadi Yavarkan (Blue & White), Yoav Segalovich (Blue & White), Ety Attia (Likud), Orly Fruman (Blue & White), Keti Shitrit (Likud), Nir Barkat (Likud),Osnat Mark (Likud ) and Hili Tropper (Blue & White).
The participating organizations included CWOI members WIZO, Emunah, Na’amat, the Association of Academic Women, Bnot Brit, Hadassah Women and Soroptomist. Other participating organizations included the Organization of Women’s Shelters, Bat Melech, the Legal Forum for Haredi Women, the Ka’an Organization, Nivcharot, the Young Female Politicians Caucus, Kolech, and Ratzot v’Mashpiot.
The organizer of the event, Oshrit Setbon said: “Our strength in unity is not an empty slogan. The presence of Knesset members from all the various factions and a wide range of women’s organizations from every facet of Israeli society, attest to how multi-faceted the problem is, and how important it is to work together. As we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we have a strong impression that recent tragic events have affected Israeli society as a whole. When a woman is murdered, she is not just a number. We hear about her story, her hopes, her dreams and her life. We need to pay attention to these stories and learn from them.”
Gadi Yevarkan MK spoke with great passion about his sister, who was murdered by her husband. Participants also heard stories from the women’s refuge Bat Melech and were invited to tour their Jerusalem facility after the event.
At the end of the discussion, all the Members of Knesset and heads of the women’s organizations represented signed a social convention, in which they pledged to work together and promote the fight against gender-based violence, both in the Knesset and its legislative committees, and in the public sphere.
ICJW representatives present included Aviva Kaufman and Mazal Renford, seen here with MK Gadi Yevarkan.