Ministerial Bill Claims 'Separate But Equal is Not Equal'
The Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on the Status of Women, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (HaTnua) will submit a proposal for government approval Sunday attempting to prevent gender discrimination against women in the government.
The proposal, which was drafted under the watchful eye of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, gives several steps to prevent gender discrimination in Israel, and describes both broad and specific problems that need fixing within a certain period.
One issue the Committee examined included gender segregation in cemeteries, at state ceremonies, and on public busses. The team determined that the separations in these instances "insults the fundamental right to human dignity and equality" and that "separation usually brings harm to the constitutional right to freedom of religion."
Under the proposal, government ministers would be required to submit a report on steps they have taken to prevent gender discrimination within their offices within the next 120 days.
Livni and Livnat also request specifically that the Ministers of Transportation, Health, Interior and Religious Services (i.e. Yisrael Katz [Likud], Yael German [Yesh Atid], Gidon Sa'ar [Likud] and Naftali Bennett [Jewish Home]) to update the government within 90 days on progress implementing steps recommended by the proposal.
Both Livnat and Livni hailed the proposal as a groundbreaking step for women's rights in Israel.
"This resolution is a significant milestone in the activities of the Israeli government for gender equality and reducing disparities between women and men in society," Livnat stated Sunday morning.
"[We] formulated the recommendations to eradicate the exclusion of women in public space. We are determined that each of the relevant public authorities act quickly, effectively and decisively to stop discrimination against women in their spheres of responsibility or influence."
"The exclusion of women is an unacceptable phenomenon, and this decision demonstrates the Israeli government's commitment to eradicate it from our midst," she added.
Livni added that "the role of elected officials in a democracy is to ensure not only that, their specific work is done, but that democratic principles in the areas of their responsibility are maintained."
"Consequently, we hold every minister responsible for assuring that the work of their offices is done [. . .] while keeping all the rights of citizens and the citizens of Israel intact. History demonstrates that 'separate but equal' is not equal - it is just separate, offensive and unacceptable."