At a meeting of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women Monday, Interior Minister Gideon Saar had a recommendation for Israeli voters; do not vote for a party that did not include women on its list in the upcoming municipal elections.
According to Saar, women are woefully underrepresented in local politics, and he wants that to change. Saar said that within two months the parties running in local elections around Israel will have finalized their lists of candidates, and he wanted to see as many women as possible on those lists, as realistic candidates who had a good chance of being elected.
Generally, the only parties in Israel that do not run women at all are hareidi parties. However, in many local authorities, even mainstream parties like Likud and Labor have only a token female presence on their candidate list, and often those women are not in realistic positions on the list to ensure that they will actually get into office.
To ensure that parties got the message, Saar said that voters should make it clear to party officials that they would not be getting their votes unless they put women on their candidate list. “Party leaders need to know that their decisions as to who is representing their party will have an impact on how many votes they get,” Saar told MKs. “It is the responsibility of everyone to work for a more equal society, and part of this responsibility is ensuring that more women serve in local political office.
“There are some municipalities that have no female elected officials at all, and this must change,” Saar said. “Most local governments have a very small female representation, and this too must change. It is up to citizens to ensure that more women are set as candidates who have a realistic chance of winning,” he added.