Updated: Jan 17
Radio interview with Esty Shuhan on the launch of Nivcharot’s campaign to promote awareness of breast cancer.
At a time when the ultra-Orthodox press in Israel continues to ignore the issue and the ultra-Orthodox Knesset members in Israel are silent, Esty Shushan gave an interview to the Kan Moreshet (Heritage) radio station in November, International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to discuss the lack of awareness among women in the ultra-Orthodox community to the dangers of breast cancer.
In an interview, Esty said that while the general media features many campaigns and reports that promote awareness to breast cancer, the term ‘’breast cancer’’ does not appear in ultra-Orthodox newspapers for reasons of modesty; In the rare cases in which the subject is broached, it is presented as women’s cancer, causing confusion and misunderstanding.
"This month, we are joining other organizations and reminding women that the chances of survival grow with early detection. That’s what needs to be done: go get tested," Esty said.
Nivcharot’s creative campaign features the slogan: "Don’t bother to check: There have never been women in the ultra-Orthodox parties! But you should get checked out yourself.” Tthere are two parties in Israel that represent the ultra-Orthodox community and they both accept only men to their ranks. The campaign features all the names of men who have been Members of Knesset in the Ultra-Orthodox parties through the history of the state. Not one woman appears on the list.
The fact that women are not represented in these parties is a serious problem, according to Nivcharot, because gender issues, such as the welfare and health of the ultra-Orthodox woman, are not on the agenda or part of public discourse. In her interview, Shoshan was asked whether it was appropriate to link the lack of representation of ultra-Orthodox women together with awareness of breast cancer, to which she replied: "Nivcharot’s agenda is not apologetic; we clearly say: we are working to ensure that in the future, there will be women MK’s in the ultra-Orthodox parties. We always want to explain why we are here and what must happen, and if we can also promote breast cancer in the same breath, then that’s what we do.”
Shoshan pointed out that ultra-orthodox MK’s did not bother to attend a Knesset committee meeting that convened several years ago to discuss the health of ultra-Orthodox women. “This issue is not even on their agenda,” she added.