American Council For World Jewry

American Council For World Jewry

ACWJ Announces New Social Media Campaign To Protest Violations of Women's Rights in Israel

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Council Joins Israeli Grassroots Efforts Supporting Democracy for All

December 29, 2011 (New York, NY) -- On the eve of major demonstrations scheduled to take place throughout Israel to protest discrimination against women, the American Council for World Jewry announced another in its series of social media campaigns designed to inform and rally supporters on an issue critical to Israeli society.

“In recent weeks, Israel has witnessed the growing incidence of some women being forced to sit in the back of the bus, or women’s faces being erased or torn down from advertisements, and attempts to silence the voice of women singers,” said ACWJ Chairman Jack Rosen.  “It’s reprehensible and unacceptable in a free society.  We can’t eliminate bigotry from from someone’s heart, but public space, by definition, is for everyone, and it must be defended fiercely.”

Since its birth in 1948, Israel has dealt with societal tensions between its secular and religious citizens.  Many aspects of Israeli life -- birth, death and burial, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and divorces -- long have been controlled by religious law.  But the growing political strength of a significant segment of observant Jews has brought with it an effort to expand religious authority into the public arena, and a large coalition of Israelis is saying “stop.”

“This is not just a women’s issue,” said Zeev Rubenstein, ACWJ’s Executive Director.  “The Council strongly supports those marching in the streets, a majority of Israeli men and women who share a fundamental commitment to Israeli democracy.  Tolerance, openness, and adherence to the rule of law are the hallmarks of Israeli society, and no one can take that away from us.  Denial of equal rights to women is one of the key problems around the globe, including in much of the Middle East.  These protests will succeed, because Israel will not succumb to forces of intolerance that are rampant in too many neighborhoods.”

The ACWJ campaign asks supporters to sign a petition, which will be delivered to Israel’s leaders, demanding the government take every measure available to defend women’s rights.

To sign the petition, go to: