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Shulamit Aloni

Israeli Politicians

A Woman’s Place Is in the House, Senate, and Knesset

“Hatikvah” of Stav Shaffir

Often, when I see an article about Israel in a magazine or a newspaper, a gnawing sense of despair wells up in my chest. As the country’s political and class conflicts seems to stagnate and worsen, I have found it easier to avoid such news altogether. I don’t like feeling that way. I hate feeling that way. Though I may not always agree with the actions of the state, I am invested in Israel and want her to succeed and thrive. But as I grow older and more aware, my cynicism often diminishes my capacity for hope.

Shulamit Aloni

Shulamit Aloni, the first Israeli woman to successfully found a political party, brought her zeal for education and empowerment to her career in the Knesset, helping generations of Israelis learn—and fight for—their rights.

Shulamit Aloni, 1928 - 2014

When Shulamit Aloni, one of Israel’s first feminist leaders, presented a bill protecting women from domestic violence, some of her male fellow MKs mocked her. “Go back to the kitchen and get me a cup of coffee,” some of the men said, laughing, as they dismissed the seriousness of her work.

Politics in the Yishuv and Israel

Women’s status in Israeli political arena has been shaped by two major contradictory forces that operate simultaneously. On the one hand, women are defined as part of the collective and are recognized, treated, and organized as a social category, mainly on the basis of traditional roles as wives and mothers. On the other hand, the politics of identity has been restricted by marginalizing and denouncing social identity as a basis for political action, and thus excludes women.

Political Parties in the Yishuv and Israel

Women’s parties have played a major, though so far unacknowledged, role in the social and political history of Israel: they had a significant impact on women’s participation in power centers, political and others; they played a major part in the struggle for women’s right to vote and to be elected; they brought into focus the economic discrimination against women, who constitute half of the population in the labor market; they made feminist discourse about gender equality widely known and discussed.

Feminism in Contemporary Israel

The first wave of feminism in Israel washed over the country as early as the pre-statehood [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:432]Yishuv[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] period.

Equality, Religion and Gender in Israel

A legal system is a mirror of the society in which it functions, reflecting different aspects of social reality at different levels of its infrastructure. Constitutional principles reflect the fundamental societal norms in Israel, formulated by the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:345]Knesset[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] as constitutive assembly and interpreted by the High Court of Justice. In the ordinary legislative process, there is a testing of practical priorities, of the preparedness of a society not only to declare values but also to implement them. Case law, whether constitutional or not, represents an amalgam of the priorities of petitioners, those members of the society who invest their energies in applying to court, and the perceptions of judges based on their professional training and their individual perspectives. The courts provide a forum for a dialectic of opposing views—the plaintiff articulates his or her case, the defendant responds, and the judges determine the norm as they perceive it, each in his or her own way. This litigatory process reveals both the parameters of social activism and the judicial perception of the normative consensus. By examining women’s status in these various legal forums, we can obtain an overview of the position of women in Israeli society.

Shulamit Aloni

Passionate, principled, provocative, and above all path breaking, Shulamit Aloni has left a greater imprint on Israeli political life and public discourse than any woman to come of age after Israel’s independence.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Shulamit Aloni." (Viewed on December 14, 2017) <https://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/10553>.

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