Ruth Kolian, one of the three founders of the new hareidi women's Knesset party B'Zechutan that was announced this Monday, explained on Wednesday the reasons for forming the party - and promptly was threatened that she would face a hareidi excommunication.
Kolian appeared on Israel Radio, where she said "there's no answer for agunotin a divorce (women who are refused a divorce - ed.), there's no answer for single-parent mothers in the (hareidi) community. Single-parent moms are extreme muktzeh," using a word literally referring to objects forbidden for usage on Shabbat, but in this case used in the sense of "outcasts."
"It's in our souls, because women who are single-parent mothers and divorced in the hareidi community are something muktzeh. There are married women who take beatings and threats at home, there are abused women in the hareidi society and they are afraid to speak over fears of becoming extreme muktzeh," she continued.
Explaining her motivations Kolian also referenced the hareidi yeshiva system, saying "we can't close our eyes on a problem. We closed our eyes when we saw small children not built for poverty, they are more built for practical learning, and because of that we today have a youth that is dropping out."
Kolian is joined in founding her new party by legal expert Noa Erez, who is number two on the party's Knesset list, followed by Business Administration student Karen Mozen, who is just 21-years-old.
Attorney Dov Halbertal, a prominent figure within the Lithuanian-hareidi stream, responded to Kolian on the radio program, not-so-subtly threatening her and her colleagues.
"Be careful - the ones who become muktzeh here aren't hareidi women, it's you who will be muktzeh because the hareidi society will excommunicate you, because the hareidi society will not receive your sons, it won't accept shiduchim (arranged marriages - ed.)," he warned.
Halbertal continued "you will be muktzeh there in the hareidi society. On the personal level I say to you, think twice about what you're doing to your family and also the other hareidi women there, you will be excommunicated for generations. They will denunciate you all, and rightly so, from the hareidi community."
The threats echo similar threats of excommunication from the hareidi school systems made last month by United Torah Judaism party activists against hareidi women who campaigned to have female representation in the hareidi parties.