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March 17, 2020 8:25 am

The Truth About Israeli Female Political Representation

avatar by Adam Levick

Opinion

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addresses the opening session of the 22nd Knesset, in Jerusalem Oct. 3, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

A March 14 Independent op-ed by the leader of the Israeli women’s party, Kol Hanashim (Voices of Women), titled “The sad lesson I learned when I ran for Israeli parliament,” included the following claim, in the context of lamenting her party’s failure to gain any Knesset seats in the recent election.

We thought we could capitalize on discontent with the system and channel a message of new leadership. After all, the number of women parliamentarians is decreasing, the sole female prime minister was elected in 1969, and not a single woman participated in any of the failed coalition negotiations. [emphasis added]

Her claim that “the number of women parliamentarians is decreasing” is not true.

The March 2nd elections actually saw a record number of women (30) winning seats in the Knesset. This represents 25% of the total seats, which is actually a higher percentage of female legislators than in the US and in several EU member states. Moreover, there has been a steady and nearly uninterrupted increase in the number of female MKs since the 1970s.

Additionally, the writer complains that Israel’s “sole female prime minister [Gold Meir] was elected in 1969.” Yet, through 2018, more than 100 countries had never had a woman in the top job. They include Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the US. In fact, in 1969, the year Meir became prime minister, she was one of only two female leaders in the world.

Adam Levick covers the British media for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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