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A Victory Over Gender Exclusion in Israel

A Victory Over Gender Exclusion in Israel

Great news in our struggle against the exclusion of women in Israel: The Israel Religious Action Center has won our first class-action suit! This is the first class-action suit dealing with gender exclusion in Israel.

The Jerusalem District Court approved our claim against the ultra-Orthodox Kol BaRama radio station for excluding women from the station's broadcasts. The court also ruled that our client, Kolech, an Orthodox feminist organization, can claim damages, as can all women who have been discriminated by this practice. The court made it very clear that the station's policy was blatantly discriminatory and that regardless of the station's target audience, the exclusion of women cannot be justified.

Kol BaRama, an Israeli public radio station, has exercised discriminatory practices against women’s freedom of expression for years, refusing to employ women, feature women as anchors, or allow women to be interviewed or to call in to shows.

As IRAC celebrates this monumental accomplishment, we prepare for the possibility of an appeal and for the upcoming negotiations about the exact amount of compensation that will be paid. Meanwhile, the court has ordered the station the broadcast an ad in two newspapers, one of them ultra-Orthodox, inviting women who have been discriminated against by Kol BaRama's practices to lodge a complaint.

This huge victory wouldn't have been possible without the backing of IRAC supporters all over the globe. Thank you for taking part in our struggle against segregation and the exclusion of women from Israel's public sphere.

Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in Israel. She is also the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women and men from around the world who strive to achieve the right of women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Anat Hoffman
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