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Not Without Us: Activism in Parliament

Tzippy Lavi, Head of Government Relations for Nivcharot, launched Not Without Us in May 2023, a new initiative that ensures that the voice of Haredi women is heard in the Knesset, despite the sad lack of political representation of this community that makes up 6.5% of Israeli society.

Accordingly, Nivcharot activists make sure to attend meetings of relevant Knesset committees and to raise a wide range of issues pertaining to Haredi women, from health and education to sexual abuse and political representation.

Here are a few examples:

During an emergency meeting (July 2023) of the Knesset’s State Control Committee on the issue of Israel's drop in world ranking for gender equality, Tzippy Lavi described the hardships that Haredi women undergo in the Rabbinical Courts.

Last May, in a meeting of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality that was dedicated to the issue of the municipal elections, Nivcharot activist Yael Friedman spoke about the serious lack of representation of women in municipal councils. She also described the challenges that Haredi women face when attempting to run for a seat in these councils. Naama Zarbib, an activist from the Religious Zionism movement, commented that the election of Haredi women is the subject for ‘’a separate discussion’’ at which the Committee Chair, Pnina Tameno replied “No, it is not, Haredi women are part of Israeli society.”

Lea Shaynbrum, Nivcharot activist and social worker, spoke to the Knesset Committee for Oversight of the Israeli Citizens' Fund (May 2, 2023) about her experiences working with patients with mental illness from the Haredi sector and the need to find proper housing for them. The committee convened to discuss the allocation of NIS 30 million for housing for patients suffering from mental illness.

Tzippy Lavi at the emergency meeting

At an emergency meeting at the Knesset on the exclusion of women from public transportation, (Aug, 16, 2023), Tzippy Lavi said, “ You MK’s are not only responsible for the laws, but also for the represention of Haredi women. Out of 120 MK’s, not one is a Haredi woman, who can stand up and declare, “No, we don’t want this, we want something else.’’ The onus is on the MK’s to ensure that this 6.5% of the population—which translates into 7.8 MK’s-- is represented. I ask you that we work together to change this. We have amazing women in the organization that have been trained for this and are prepared to represent us in the Knesset. Thre is no time to lose. A survey of Haredi women has revealed that 69% support the idea of female Haredi MK’s and if it can’t be done through the Haredi parties, 55% want a female Haredi MK to represent them on behalf of the secular parties. Haredi women have woken up and want representation in the Knesset and equality, in any way and at any price.”

At a meeting of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women that took place on July 17, 2023, Tova Boria spoke about the importance of adressing cases of sexual harassment in local authorities.

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