Pregnant women won’t have to wait in line anymore in places where public service is provided, according to a law passed by the Knesset in a late-night vote on Monday.
The law, initiated by Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen, was passed unanimously by the 48 MKs present.
“Public service” is defined in the legislation as a service given by a person to the public, or to a part of it, by a public authority. According to the law, service providers will be entitled to demand that a medical document be presented for proof of pregnancy.
“The idea for the bill proposal came when I was abroad with my wife who was pregnant,” Jabareen said during the discussion. “And when we saw the long lines in public places, we thought of giving up on those places. But we were pleasantly surprised when the service providers told us that we did not have to stand in line. When we came back to Israel we noticed the differences. It is time to give pregnant women the respect they deserve.”
The introduction to the bill states: “Pregnant women are sometimes forced to wait for a long time in long and exhausting lines at supermarkets, shops, pharmacies, the post office and other places which provide public service. In order to give pregnant women the respect they deserve and to make life easier for them, it is proposed to amend the Women's Equal Rights Act – and to determine that in a situation in which a pregnant woman will ask, [she] will be granted the right to receive public service without waiting in line.”
The Women’s Equal Rights Law of Israel was passed by the Knesset in 1951 and strives for equality between men and women.
In 1998, the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women was legally established as part of the Prime Minister’s Office, in order to advance the status of women in Israel and coordinate between governmental and non-governmental bodies acting to promote the status of women.
Despite these efforts, a 2015 study by Jerusalem’s Van Leer Institute found high levels of gender inequality in the labor market, corporate world and political echelons.