ישיבת ועדה של הכנסת ה-14 מתאריך 25/03/1998

פגישה עם רעיית מזכ"ל האו"ם



MARCH 25, 1998 , 12:30

Protocol -No 120

Good afternoon and welcome to the Committee

on the Status of Women. The Chairperson of the committee, MK Yael Dayan

unfortunately is not in the country today, so she asked me to replace her. My name is

Noami Hasan,I am a Member of Knesset from the opposition, from the Meretz Party,

and I am deputy speaker of the Knesset, in other words Mrs. Tichon's husband is also

my boss.

I would like to present Member of Knesset Marina Solodkin from the Israel. B'aliyah

party. She is going to, on A rotation basis, become chair of the committee in

November . Member of Knesset Alex Lubotski who is a member of the committee

from the Third Way Party, and he is a colleague at the university. He is a Professor of

Mathematics.I am a Political Scientist, but both of us are on unextended leave from

the university. Let me just present Dana Gordon who is the Director of the

Committee. The truth of the matter is, we work because of her, and she does not give

us a moment's time.

There are some representatives of women' s organizations. Daniela Bamburger is from

the Israel Women's Network who is a lobbyist and also a person who makes her way

to do the right things. Bat Sheva Strachner who is Director of the Committee on the

Status of Women in the Municipality of Tel Aviv. I think you know Mrs. Goldin and

Mrs. Tichon, so I don't have to introduce then. Simone Frankel from the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs.

Let me very briefly open and let us make this informal. You have suffered many

formal occasions, a and I will open with three minutes introduction, give the floor to

the MK Solodkin and MK Lubotski and then I suggest you ask us questions and we

will answer, if there is something that interests you and you are interested in hearing

about it.-

Let me just say before on a totally personal basis, I am really delighted to host you here

today. I spent 25 years at the University and I feel this comparative politics, and quite

frankly I am an expert on African politics. I have written about 8 books on the subject,

but my favorite country where I have spent the most time is in Ghana, and I have

written two books on Ghanaian politics. I am even inyited to Ghana, which means

there must be something right about the books, I hope. So, I really have very breath

affinity and I also followed your career closely and it is very important for us to have

you here, because you have a very strong record of support of human rights and of

refugees and minorities. We-have been joined by MK Tamar Gujanski, one of the

veteran female members of the Knesset and a member of Hadash, also in the

opposition. So that is a group truly welcoming you in our midst.

Let me describe the work of the committee very briefly and I will allow the others to

talk as well. The Committee on the Status of Women was established as an adhoc

committee in the previous Knessets, that means the 13 th Knesset , 6 years ago, and at

the end of the previous Knesset we succeeded in turning it into a standing conimittee

of the Knesset. We have 15 members. We deal with all aspects of women's rights and

gender rights in the country. We sometimes have to struggle with other committees

who feel that this is within their domain as well.

Israel has all the problems that women in advanced industrialized countries have,

together with two additions. They are the regular well-known problems, .our problems

of women in education. I told you very briefly that we are number one in the world in

the proportion of women in our educated population, but we have glass sealing

problem in the Knesset there are only 9 members of 120 which comes out exactly

7.5%. Let me quickly add that is a 25% reduction over the first Knesset, which had

members, 10%

We have problems with women in the upper echelons of the civil service, of business,

the universities, etc. We are working very hard on it. We passed from legislation in

Israel, and I would say by and large our legislation is very progressive.

One of the key problems today in Israel is the problem of violence against women.

One of every 7 women is a battered woman. There is total consensus from the far

right to the far left on combating the problem against violence against women, and we

have made additions to our legislation, in order to make it quite clear that this kind of

behavior is totally unacceptable in our country.

The third key area, which we deal with on a regular basis, is women in the economy.

The women are 70% of the lowest income groups in the country, and the income

differential between women and men in Israel is approximately 30% in the same job

with the same background with the same seniority etc. So we are very concerned

about the economic situation of women and the feminization of poverty in Israel as


Israel has two unique features that many women in other countries do not have.

Number one. in Israel there is no separation of religion and state, and therefore, all

matters of personal status, mostly in marriage and divorce are in the hands of

monopolistic religious authority, who generally are not feminist, to put it mildly.

Secondly, women in Israel are conscripted into the army. There is compulsory military

service for women, but the terms of service are unequal and as a result there is severe

difficulties with gaining equality in the military and I would say also, achieving peace,

which may dispense with the need for a compulsory draft. In its entirety, one sees that

women, including Tama Gujanski and myself have been very active in the peace

movement. but I must say as well that there are women. on the right too.

my I gave this very brief familiar sketch, in order not to take time away from

colleagues. I would like to call on MK Solodkin. I will be a little bit tight with time,

so please, if each member of Knesset could deal with the issues that most interest her

or him, and we would allow Mrs. Annan to ask questions.
Dear lady. we are privileged to have you here. It

is a serious and struggling committee, because of the complexity of the Israeli and

Jewish life. We are fighting for foil equality, but also I think we have to cope with

Jewish values together with democratic trends in Israel. Our society is very complex.

I do understand that you saw that in the Plenary meeting in the greetings.-

I have to say what is important in the role of women, to find a golden path between the

left and the right, between the oriental Jewry and the German Jewry, Ashkenazi Jewry

who are here. Peace is a very important goal also for women who are very active in

the peace process. I have to say most active in the peace process. I myself am just a

correction in the informal peace process.

I have to say, I myself as representing the Israeli Democracy, because I am only 7 years

in the country. I came from the Soviet Union, we established there an immigrant party,

which is called Israel is on Ascension and I am here sitting in Knesset and trying to

give solutions to many problems, social, economic, State problems, problemsof peace,

and of course problems of women here. I came from the country where women

socially are more equal with men and I am helping my compatriots who came to Israel

to fmd their way in a new society.
Thank you very much Marina. Alex Lubotski,-

member of Knesset.
I want to join my friends with the welcome.

Actually I am also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee who is meeting now

with your husband. I was invited to go but I did not go. You don't know why I did

not go, but I will tell you the secret why. I really wanted to welcome you, not only for

your position and your other position, but also for your connection as a niece of Raoul

Wallenberg. We all admire him, he is like a hero for us and we are all so grateful to

him for what he did for the Jewish people, and I think this was really a humanitarian

action of the first grade, and I think his name will be remembered forever in the

universal world.

Talking about that, I want to take this opportunity to ask you for aaction. I know that

your family never lost the all to fmd Raoul Wallenberg. You still hope that maybe

someday you will see him, even after so many years. Therefore, you can appreciate

and identify with the problems of the families in Israel of the MIA, the soldiers who are

missing in action, who suffer. AS you know, this is sometimes even worse and more

difficult than to know the bad answer. To be with a question mark all your life, and to

hope everyday that maybe the door will be open, and I am sure you can probably-

explain to me what is this feeling.

You and your husband have really accumulated a lot of points in the international

community and in. the Arabic world in particular. We would be so grateful if you

would take this credit and use it to work and to do something to help the families of

these missing soldiers, and this will be in tradition of your family. Thank you very

Thank you very much AJex. MK Tamar

Gujanski who was the number one parliamentarian of the Knesset. On the last day of

the session they publish the statistics and everybody very quickly runs to see how they

stack up, but my desire in life is only to be just behind Tamara Gujanski, she is always

number one. Tamar.
Thank you. I am very glad to have this opportunity to

meet you Mrs. Annan. Noami Hasan described to you our work. You see, when you

have a chance to do something for women, it is always a thing you must bless. But

living in a country, which for the last 50 years is facing wars and bloodshed, of course

we have a special responsibility as women and as mothers to do more for this. This is

forme the most important task as a member of Knesset and as a public figure.

The second thing is, when you are working for women in a society where you have

social polarization you always find women in the less better and less earning part of

the society and unemployment, you have more women than men and so on. So, we

are dealing with all these problems. We are dealing also with the problem of equality

18of Arabic women inside Israel. You see, we have a population of about 17 to 18

percent of Arab population inside Israel. Arab women are discriminated twice, once as

a woman and secondly as part of the Arab population. So, we are dealing with this

specific problem also in our community.

The last think I would like to ask you, I am following MK Lubotski and he was asking

about a very important question for all of us, the problem of the missing soldiers. I

want to add another problem. You see, after the Gulf War in 1991 and after almost

the war this year, we are more and more concerned about weapons of mass destruction

in the area. We know that your husband and the United Nations are dealing with it and

with Iraq and so on and so forth. But I think, it is my opinion, it is the comer of the

region at last. Not only of one country, and therefore, I would like to give you later a

letter concerning this problem. My opinion is, we should fight and we should achieve a

state when the whole region will be free of weapons of mass destruction, not only one

country. It is very important for a country like Israel, which is not a large country,

with the population very concentrated and so on. After thinking about it, I think it is

one of the most problems.

The last thing, I must say, we are now before the 50 years of establishing of the Israeli

State and the State of Israel, and we will never forget the contribution of the United

Nation to the establishment of Israel. We know that without the resolution of the

United Nations Assembly, there would not be a possibility to establish the State of

Israel, and I hope that will come a day that the resolution will be fulfilled at last, and

the idea of two states will prevail. But for that, we must pass more and more

difficulties that you can see in your visit.

So again, we are very happy to see you with us, and we hope that we will have a

chance to see you in a day of hope,of peace and of happiness for all of us. Thank you.
Any questions. any statements, and we will make

this, as I said, as informal and as fruitful as possible.
Thank you very much and thank you for your

warm welcome. It has been a very moving morning for me, because we started at the

Yad Vashem, walking through the exhibition onwards, and then through the memorial

to the children, which really shows so eloquently that we should not forget that it was

not on 6 million, but it was individuals, it was an individual child, an individual woman

and an individual man who perished there. It is important to remember their faces and

their names. Thank you for your kind words about my uncle. As I said earlier, it is

somebody who has always been represent in my life, although he was absent. I can tell

you my husband met yesterday with the families of the MIA, he is that kind of person

he is, it is something that is close to his heart.

We should also remember that that the UN was born after the wars, for the people of

the world to come together, to say never again, and also the human rights declaration

that is celebrating its 50"' anniversary this year. The human rights declaration is, also

you should remember even earlier is also the women's rights. The issues that you have

mentioned earlier when you started, it seems to be very closely linked to the issues that

were raised at the Beijing Conference, women and violence, human rights of women,

the economic polarization of women and the fourth item was a girl child and somehow

or other, again it was an excellent admissible when you give the girl a name. Of

course, you need to give the little girl a name to make her visible in the culture

wherever you are in the world. She needs protection after her belt and in other

societies, at least the encouragement . and promotion to become a full member of

society. The class-sealing may be higher or lower in different societies, but it is

always there.

Myself, I was catapulted through the grass feeling of my own merits, but on the merits

of my husband, I will not pretend that I am sitting here as an expert, but since I

became, as you know, equal to that I was earlier, a lawyer, and as that I was also for a

period a member of the RAM, dealing with the ethnic discrimination at home. I was

interested in women's issues. But after that I was painting for 14 or 15 years, which is

perhaps the most solitary profession or occupation, I won't say that is a profession,

.because unfortunately you cannot support yourself on that

But, since the election of my husband, I have been pulled out from behind by easel and

-hung out to general observation, and what has helped me, I have been travelling with

my husband, and what has helped me, is meeting women across the world and fmding

that we can talk across cultures and boundaries about things that concern us all. It is

about the children, their education, health and also in a quest for peace. - Because

sometimes we are called the caretakers of children, that is supposed to put us in a

corner of the world, but actually it makes the first even better qualified to take out of

society and to see that these; children can grow up in a peaceful world.
This will be the next revolution, women taking

power in all the world.
Yes, you need so much energy I cannot

understand why this is not more translated into the power structure of the societies. I

think that even if perhaps you have here, as in my country we have the legal framework

in place, how do you get to the next stage, that it is actually the advocacy role, getting

the women out there
Although I must admit, we would not mind

having the 43% representation that exists in Sweden, and 50% of the Cabinet,of the

- But the Cabinet, that is a kind of a political

decision to actually get that high percentage in the parliament, there you need the

ground work and going from the municipal elections up through the national elections.
What is the secret of the noble women that

manage to do tha?
I was working there in the 60s or 70s when we thought we

were an affluent society. I was working then, at the time I was a single mother. But

what encouraged you was that every day some aspect of my situation was discussed in

the papers. It was discussed in some group somewhere, and even if I was not part of

the elected anywhere,you still felt you were very much part of a movement. It was

tough, I mean it is not easy to work and to take care of a child. Not only that, when

you are brought up as a little girl, you are not brought up to take charge, to make

decisions and be alone. You have to deal with yourself, and there are so many in the

20s and 30s. You should have children when you are retired.
There are some people who love us to enter an

early retirement.
But it was very much a mainstream movement in

my country, while the society took the consequences of the quality, that it cost money,

because you have actually to provide for child care for men and women who are

In our society, we have special facts that may be

in the others it is not hardly incurred, only 2 or 3 generations back. In Jewish society,

the woman did not get the opportunity to develop herself in this way, because our 2 or

3 generations back, our parents, our grandparents they were most of them in Europe,

they were religious people. The religious society, the place of the woman is very

specific and we are just in the beginning, I think, from our point of view.
We are one step at the- beginning, what I think is

your critical point, and that is, in the cultural constraints, which give acceptance, which

have to be adjusted in order to give acceptance to the basic concept of equality on a

gender basis, the understanding that there are men and women in every category of

society. That shift has not occurred yet in Israel, although our gains are not

Perhaps, before changing the State you must

change the woman. I mean the women are accepting the situation, they are not

revolting. We have the problem of changing the woman, that is the problem.
Let me just interrupt, my colleague and friend

Anat Maor, a member of Knesset just entered. She has been working extensively as

chairperson of the sub committee on women in the economy.She just came down and

apologizes for being late, but was also at the vote. Unfortunately our plenary is

working overtime today.

Let me just say that I withdrew temporarily a bill trying to, in a sense, copy this

Scandinavian legislation on women's representation, mainly because today we are only

presenting bills with a few minutes, it will take me ten minutes to explain it, why it is

important, so I delayed that aspect which, by the way, that legislation has very little

chance of passing, but by bringing proposals of this sort to the table, it is part of our

overall campaign and strategy to increase sensitivity and awareness to the justice that

equality between men and women brings to Israeli society as a whole, not just the

You know the women, it was not done the


MK. NOAMI HASAN; Sorry, Norway was done through legislation, and

in Sweden there was done, and Finland, by the way as well, leave that aside, that is

comparative stuff. Anat do you want to say two or three words, because everybody

else did.
First of all, welcome, it is our pleasure to have you and

your husband with us. In the head of the sub committee of women in working in the

economic field, I personally believe it is very important, because it is not enough to

protect women. We really have to have women who are the model of success in

working in the economic field, so I believe, more so the modern democracies, we work

regarding to increase the gap in salary between men and women. In Israel it is 24% in

the public service, where from behind to have more women in high management

positions; in how to push women to small business, or even a big business, to be part

of the economic field.

Another point is women in the politics. I agree with Noami Hasan, that it is a very

important point of view. I believe we have to struggle about it in our parties, but that

is what we are really doing in the Meretz party. The last word, personally I belong to

the peace camp in Israel from 1968, which is one year behind the Six Day War, and I

believe that your visit to Israel and to our area, it is a very important support to come

back to the Oslo Agreement, to the peace process. There is no question about it that

we have to do it as a sovereign state_ and with our neighbors. We appreciate very

much the support and hopefully we will come back to the peace road.
Just an interjection, there are 9 women members

of Knesset, 6 are in the opposition, that means from parties from the center to the left

and Marina is in the peace camp, even though she is in the coalition, therefore you are

hearing a lot of very strong, good peace talk, because many of us have been very

involved as members of Knesset as Anat Maor said, in the peace movement. But some

of us, including the women here, have established several women's peace. movements

with Palestinian women and I must admit if they would only let us do the negotiations,

the results would be quite different.
I would like tQ say something about what you

say, that you are from the center and you are for peace. I would like to say something

more. For peace. I think that an Israeli would not fmd not a woman and not a man that

is not for peace.We just have the different opinions about the way to do peace. But

that is the people from the coalition, they are not against the peace, and the opposition

is for the peace, it is not that.
All I was saying is, to put the points to be very

explicit,if the women were to lead the peace camp in Israel, in recognizing the right of

self determination of the Palestinian people, it is much more precise, and therefore,

calling for the creation of a Palestinian State alongside Israel, in the interest of justice

for the Palestinians and full independence and security for Israel. So, I accept the

correction of Mrs. Tichon. Really all Israelis are for peace, but our differences do

reside squarely in how it is to be achieved, and that is one of the reasons why Israel, as

you see, we are so polite, you watched us in the Plenary, we could not even agree

whether the greeting of the speaker was sufficiently warm or not.
But that is because, if you have two Jews you have three

opinions, at least.
Yes,but -could I say where there are 120 members of the

-Knesset, there are 240 opinions because each member is constantly arguing with

himself or herself as well.
My husband would make a correction, he is saying, we

have 120 members of the Knesset, but we have 5.8 more or less politicians who are

sure that they can do better.
Mrs. Annan do you have any questions or do you want

us to keep talking, because by the way, we have got politicians close to politics, and

one of the few extra minutes at our disposal, is our tongues. Maybe we should give

the Israel Women's Network a chance to say a few words.
We are working mainly with the bureaucracy. What is

different in our organization that other women's organizations, that we are working

less with grassroots, not because it is not important, because other organizations are

dealing with it and we have been established about 14 years ago, and members of

Knesset, Noami Hasan took part in it. There was a group of women that felt that there

is not enough change in changing policy, so we are dealing mainly with trying to

change policy through legislation, litigation and so on. But we are working a lot in

education field and women's health and everything, but less with the women in the

grassroots. But we might get into it too.

What I wanted to say, MK Hasan mentioned that we have this committee just from the

last Knesset, the 13th Knesset, and thenumber owomen in the Knesset did not change,

or if it changed, not for the best. What is important, I think, the two last Knessets, is

that the women who are members are feminists, and this made a lot of change. So,

,12even though the number did not grow, or even the last Knesset we finished with

and now they are 9, the fact that they are feminist women and the fact that in this

Knesset, men came and they really care about women issues, and MK Lubotski is one

of them, but there are a few more,' I think it is very very important in showing a

change, even though the number did not rise.
Perhaps just two more words, because I keep getting

instructions, you have 3 more minutes, you have 5 more minutes. By the way, I

sympathize with you, because you are constantly tugged from one place to another,

and probably feel exhausted. Could I just say two or three thoughts in conclusion,

before they whisk you away to lunch.

First of all, Israel has been very active in the UN Commission on the status of women

since its inception. I personally was on the Israeli delegation both to Nairobi and in

parenthesis can I say we are also the first contacts with Palestinian women and women

from the region. I was also a member of the delegation to Beijing. We take very

seriously the work of the commission and the recommendations of the plan of action of

Beijing. In other words, we see the work of the UN as essentially giving us guidelines

for the kind of translation to Israeli reality and progressive legislation that we have to

You remember when Dan Meridor was Minister of

Justice, put on the bill
Yes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination

against women. By the way we have been practicing that for ten years, if I remember

right. So again. the first point is really that the networking, the support of expertise of

international women provides us with a great deal of strength and ever once in a whole

when we do get frustrated, we look and we see that we w\have whom to talk to, where

to get advice and also a little bit of international prodding, which I think is creating

really a grand swell of a lot of work 'in different countries for promoting the status of


Number two. other members have mentioned, I by the way did not bring up the very

personal thing of your uncle, but can I say I have myself a nephew who fell in love with

your uncle when he was nine years old, and he decided that he could not live, breath

.14without knowing everything about Raoul Wallenberg. Now this nephew is now

He heard that you were coming to the Knesset. He woke me up at 1.00 a.m. and said,

"Just tell her there are lots of Israeli children that consider Raoul Wallenberg their

hero and can you invite me to the Knesset today?" I said, "No Michie you are going to


So, what member of Knesset Lubotski and other members have echoed feelings of

reflection of a grand swell that exists in the hearts and minds of many Israelis. I think

it is appropriate that it comes from us women as well as men that there is just so much

respect and I would say love for the works, and you know we are honored, really. I

want to put the emphasis on the fact that we are truly honored. This was a period when

very few people had courage and host somebody who is a member of a family of a

person who had the courage to stand up for justice and human rights, and there were

circumstances, is truly an honor for us.

So, I would like to thank you on behalf again, not only from members of the Knesset,

but of all the children of Israel, and fmally we are trying to create a just society in Israel

and in the region, and I think any help and support we get in achieving that goal can

only benefit the global community as well as ourselves. So thank you for all your

efforts and welcome again,
I want to thank you and I think one of the needs is to achieve a

quality that we are striving for our own .models and I think you seem to be one for role

models and also your quest for peace, which is the best legacy we can leave for our

children, for them to grow up to be wonderful human beings. They have the right to

grow up in the whole region. I again thank you for the words ofRaoul. As I was born

in October 1 944 it was very much part of my life, in the sense of my grandparents.

What is important also for all of us to be out there and make a difference, not a lot, it

can be small matters, it can be in larger matters. As my husband said earlier this

morning,if there were more Raouls around, would that have made a difference, and if

it needs to make a difference today because they are still suffering,and there are still

issues to deal with.

So, thank you very much for meeting with me and I wish you all success in your

important quest.
Thank you.

קוד המקור של הנתונים