Backlash after man appointed as head of Israeli parliament women’s committee
The previous chair of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, MK Aida Touma-Sliman, will be replaced by right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu’s Oded Forer, the Knesset House Committee announced on Monday.
The nomination will first have to be confirmed by the committee in their first meeting.
The Israeli feminist group, Kulan, said Forer's appointment "pushes women out of decision-making mechanisms" branding it "a joke at the expense of women in Israel".
Forer would be the second man to head the committee, after Likud's Gideon Saar was appointed in 2006. He is described as a "diligent" lawmaker by Israeli press, but lacks experience in the field of women's rights.
Following public outrage, Forer said "I'm glad this committee is finally grabbing headlines, even if it's because of the surprise that a man can also lead in this sphere in the Knesset".
Touma-Sliman wrote that this Forer's appointment could "disenfranchise" the committee's aims for "equality, social justice and structural change of hierarchies", not because he is a man but due to his party's right-wing ideology.
This would "espouse discrimination and a trampling on weak groups", Touma-Sliman said.
The Centre for Women's Justice, an NGO advancing women's rights under Jewish law, claimed the decision would "rub salt in that wound" of women’s representation in the Knesset, of which women make-up less than a quarter.
However, female MK Merav Michaeli from Israel's Labor Party and a committee member, said she supported the appointment of Forer, adding that "men must join the feminist struggle, the struggle for equality".
Forer's party welcomed the nomination on Twitter, with the leader of the party's women’s forum, Limor Magen, saying he had a "rich record of parliamentary work and advancing initiatives and projects in a wide variety of fields".
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