MK Orit Struk (Bayit Yehudi) fears that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may be planning to prevent a vote on a bill she submitted that would extend rights for working women to Judea and Samaria (Shomron).
The law would ensure that women in those regions have the same employment rights as women elsewhere in Israel, including the right not to be fired during pregnancy or maternity leave without special authorization, and the right to take time off from work for fertility treatments or adoption procedures when relevant.
It would apply to both Jewish and Arab women working for Israeli employers.
Struk is concerned that the opinion shared by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who argued against the law, will sway Netanyahu to table the bill. Weinstein expressed concern that applying an Israeli law in Judea and Samaria would be seen as a step toward annexation, and proposed that Israel make do with a military order regarding equality for women instead.
In an urgent letter to Netanyahu, Struk countered Weinstein’s claims and urged Netanyahu to follow through on voting for the bill.
“The ministers who are asking you to avoid voting on the bill belong to that same part of the political left that tries to delegitimize the very fact of Jewish life in Judea and Samaria, and to tarnish our reputation,” she accused.
“Don’t play a part in this evil,” she urged.
Struk continued, “I read the Attorney General’s comments. With all due respect, there is no logical connection between the data that he himself provides in this first two sections, and his proposal in the third.
“The Attorney General himself writes that a legal problem exists only in regards to ‘an accumulation of Israeli legislation of a territorial nature in the region,’ and that ‘the Knesset has limited its legislation in Judea and Samaria to laws that apply personally and directly to Israeli citizens,’” she wrote.
“What is a law about women’s employment rights, if not a personal-direct law, that is entirely about human rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights?” Struk demanded. “Why would this law be different from other laws that the Attorney General himself notes have already been applied in Judea and Samaria, such as ‘taxation, criminal law, military service, elections, etc’?”
Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria are subject to many Israeli laws already, she noted, including a law – not military order – requiring them to pay taxes, a law – not military order – requiring them to enlist in the IDF, and traffic laws.
“And suddenly if the women among us get consistent legal protection – this creates concerns of annexation and ‘implications under international law,’ and we need a military order?!” Struk exclaimed.
“I listened closely to what you said on Tisha B’Av… You said you would not allow discrimination against the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria. If you meant what you said, Mr. Prime Minister, don’t give in to the left. Don’t prevent a vote on this just law,” she urged.
“Mr. Prime Minister, don’t give the left this victory.
“With great respect, and blessings for a good new year, MK Orit Struk,” she signed.