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National Council of Jewish Women Deeply Concerned by Judicial Overhaul Plans in Israel, Which Threaten Rights of Women, Arabs, LGBTQ+ People, Other Minorities
NATIONAL – As protests intensify for the fifth week in Israel, including by women’s groups, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed deep concern over proposals of the new Israeli government to undermine Israeli democracy and restrict the rights of women, Palestinians, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other minorities. NCJW CEO Sheila Katz issued the following statement:
“A fair and qualified judiciary is a crucial element of a healthy democracy where women, children, and families can thrive. But proposals from the new Israeli government seek to override the powers of Israel’s Supreme Court to review governmental actions and Knesset legislation and increase governmental influence over judicial appointments. Such an overhaul, paired with extremist proposals of members of the coalition government to restrict the rights of broad sectors of Israeli society — such as women, Arabs and the LGBTQ+ community — threatens the dignity, equity and justice of everyone in the region.
“The Israeli Supreme Court plays a major role in upholding the fundamental rights of all Israelis and has a long history of blocking legislation that conflicts with the Basic Laws of Israel. Judicial review in Israel secured the right of religious women to establish a mikve (ritual bath) in a secular town, protected African asylum seekers from indefinite detention and safeguarded childcare subsidies for Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) families. Without a strong, independent and impartial judiciary, women, children and families across the spectrum of Israeli society are likely to suffer dire consequences.
“NCJW hopes Israel will continue to maintain its thriving democracy and stands in solidarity with our partners on the ground who are organizing to stand up for the rights of all who would be affected by these so-called ‘reforms’. Israeli feminist groups held the first women’s protest against the judicial overhaul and other policy proposals that would harm gender equity on Sunday, February 5, in Tel Aviv, adding a distinct gender focus to the protest efforts of hundreds of thousands of Israelis over the past five weeks. NCJW urges the Israeli government to heed their call and safeguard the legal rights of Israeli women, children and families.”
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), is the oldest Jewish feminist civil rights organization working for equity and justice for women, children and families in the United States and Israel. Through the efforts of our 210,000 grassroots advocates and 50 local sections, NCJW combines education, direct service and advocacy to affect lasting social change at the local, state and national levels. We approach our work through the intersections of gender, economic and racial justice to center those most impacted in a uniquely Jewish way. Learn more at NCJW.org, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.