The Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women is ignoring Israeli women in favor of Palestinians, MKs from the coalition and the opposition lamented on Thursday, accusing chairwoman Aida Touma- Sliman (Joint List) of abusing her position.
A meeting on the blockade on Gaza’s impact on women, which Touma-Sliman scheduled for Monday, sparked outrage.
“The chairwoman of the committee always promotes the rights of Arab women, but she’s a little confused,” Kulanu MK Merav Ben- Ari said told Reshet Bet radio. “These aren’t women in Israel. They’re in Gaza. Next she’ll want to talk about women in Ramallah and Nablus. I think we need to stop this, immediately.”
Ben-Ari planned to ask Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to intervene.
Similarly, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai asked: “Why not discuss the distress of the women in the ‘Gaza envelope,’ who showed resilience and great courage? They were the ones under attack, they were the ones who ran to safe rooms and sent their children to school in fear.”
Shai accused Touma-Sliman of seeking to create a provocation.
Many of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women’s members have long resented Touma-Sliman for ignoring issues important to Israeli women. She refuses to hold meetings pertaining to female soldiers or members of other security forces and agencies. Touma-Sliman often skips meetings relating to women’s rights and Jewish religious matters, allowing a different MK to preside over them.
Touma-Sliman responded to the criticism, saying that recent events showed that there is a connection between the situation of women in Israel and in the Gaza Strip.
“My political views are known, but I believe that there is broad agreement about the importance of involving women in the conversation and in politics,” she said. “Therefore, I find it especially unfortunate that members of the committee oppose an important and necessary political discussion in our committee. The discussion will, as usual, be professional and allow all opinions to be heard.”
According to Touma-Sliman, “the struggle for peace is a feminist struggle that will ensure the security of the residents of Israel and the rights of the Palestinian people. The Committee for the Advancement of Women under my leadership will continue to deal with all issues related to women, especially weak women.”