MK Shmuelov-Berkovitz
MK Shmuelov-Berkovitz Israel news photo: file

MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima) stirred up a storm at week's end with her comments in favor of the Familists, a movement dedicated to protecting the traditional family unit. In numerous interviews and news articles, angry feminist media personalities berated her and unsuccessfully tried to get her to take back her statements. She spoke to Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service Sunday and defended her statements, saying that while she is in favor of equal rights, radical feminism hurts women and families.

“I respect whatever way people choose to live, but the Knesset passes gender legislation that's generally in favor of women, that ultimately does not help women. Sometimes it hurts women,” she said.

The idea of feminism is often used “as a means of control,” she continued. Her ideal is “real equality,” she said, adding, “That's what led to all the commotion.”

As an example of “pro-woman” legislation that causes harm, she mentioned the law that calls for men to be removed from their homes if their spouse alleges abuse, even if there is no evidence and the charges have not been proven. The law gives women the power to hold the threat of removal from his home and from his children's lives over their husband's heads, she said.

“Removing the man immediately [in this fashion] hurts the children. Children are held hostages,” she stated.

Her goal is to make the family unit a national priority, Shamalov-Berkovich declared. As a start, Israel should subsidize relationship counseling, she said, and thus help married couples to stay together.

Another way to protect the family unit is to offer courses in parenting, she said. “There are thousands of schools that are closed in the afternoon. We need to make use of that space to hold parenting classes.”

As for radical feminism, she said, “I hope that radical feminism will disappear forever.” Radical feminism, she explained, undermines the family unit. She quoted an article by gender-feminist spokeswoman and organizer Dorit Abramovich, who attacked the traditional family unit, calling it a patriarchal establishment used by men to control and exploit women. The article was titled "The Scourge Called 'Family.'"

Radical thinking can seep into society's subconscious, the lawmaker explained, leading to a subtle discrimination against men and families. For instance, she said, it is considered acceptable to say that a man who reaches power owes his success to his wife, but not to credit a man for his wife's success. Shamalov-Berkovich was reacting to the scorn heaped upon her for saying - at a recent Familists conference - that she would not have succeeded as she had if it were not for her husband's support.

Shmuelov-Berkovitz said she had discussed her ideas with MK Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party. After a discussion in which she clarified her views, she and Livni reached an agreement on some points, but agreed to disagree on others.

Join our official WhatsApp group