International Women’s Day in Jerusalem

International Women’s Day in Jerusalem

Oh, how some things have changed over the years.

When did you first hear of International Women’s Day?

Back in 2011, International Women’s Day coincided with Israel Apartheid Week.

Israeli Apartheid? was the blog posted in honor of women in Jerusalem.

In spite of coronavirus – COVID-19, this year I have been to multiple events featuring Israeli women doing amazing things.

Hebrew sign for International Women's Day in Jerusalem Israel

Signs for International Women’s Day (IWD) appeared. In Jerusalem, not only March 8, 2020, is to be celebrated, but events are planned for the entire month of March.

Finish line for Jerusalem Winner Marathon placed before race was postponed

The Jerusalem Marathon 2020 finish line was up near Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

Gan Sacher Park in Jerusalem Israel

The construction in the park was nearing completion.

However, the March 20 marathon races have been postponed until October.

IWD events did not involve a large number of international participants and were held, though perhaps with fewer attendees than would have been expected.

United Hatzalah of Israel inaugurated Israel’s first pink ambulance with a specific mission to treat women.

Inside of United Hatzalah pink ambulance
Photo credit: United Hatzalah

The ambulance will be operated by a crew of female volunteer EMTs and paramedics. It will respond to any type of medical emergency but will prioritize responding to incidents in which there are female patients.

Women volunteers of United Hatzalah pose for group photograpn
Photo credit: United Hatzalah

Female volunteers of United Hatzalah posed recently for a photograph.

United Hatzalah volunteers at Herzl Conference

At the Herzl Conference held at Har Herzl, I had a chance to speak with the United Hatzalah volunteers on duty watching for any sign of trouble.

Aliza Lavie at Herzl Conference opening evening.

Educator and Author Dr. Aliza Lavie, who served in the Knesset from 2013-2019, now heads the Herzl Center.

President Reuven Rivlin, Herzl impersonator, and Aliza Lavie

At the Herzl Conference on Zionism, President Reuven Rivlin participated, as did former US Senator Joe Liberman. A Theodor Herzl impersonator was on hand for photographs.

Sun set over Har Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem Israel

At Har Herzl on Wednesday night at sunset, we heard stories of women who fell in the establishment in the modern state of Israel as we toured the cemetery.

Presenters on International Women's Day at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem Israel

However, the main event was inside the education center to hear from seven women about their strong Zionistic visions and accomplishments, each with a unique story, Women. Leadership. Zionism.

Standing (r to l) Dr. Lavie, Shoshana Keats-Jaskoll, Olga Israel, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoun; Seated Bat-El Papura, Emily Winkler, and Naava Shafner.

Each of the speakers could be more than one story, but there were other IWD events.

International Women's Day posters at Jerusalem Cinematheque

At the Jerusalem Cinematheque posters of women lined the walls.

March 3-5, in honor of IWD, lawyer, producer Paula Kweskin Weiss hosted a film festival at the Cinematheque featuring women.  Founding The 49% media production company with the intent to feature women, this festival’s theme – women’s storytelling as an act of courage.

Peta Pellach moderates panel at The 49% Festival at Jerusalem Cinematheque

The last night of The 49% Film Festival  Kiverstein Institute sponsored a documentary film on Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom. After the film, the director, as well as Fleur Hassan-Nahoun, participated in a panel discussion of women in politics led by Peta Pellach.

Female agriculture students working in fields before establishment of Israel
screenshot

Women were trained to work in agriculture, as seen in a screenshot from a 1934 archival film. 

Jerusalem Israel new buildings planned for Beit Alliance building site

Today in Jerusalem women are involved in startups and hitech. At the old Beit Alliance Building, with a new sign announcing future housing towers, there was another IWD event on Sunday morning.

CEO Miriam Schwab and MassChallenge Yonit Serkin

International Women’s Day: Fundraising as a female founder was the topic of the MassChallenge Israel sponsored program. Miriam Schwab (on the left) shared her experiences of the founding of her WordPress startup Strattic to a mostly female audience. Yonit Golub Serkin, Managing Director of MassChallenge Israel, moderated.

In the startup world, organizations like MassChallenge provide mentors at its incubator, as well as necessary advice and support to both men and women.

Research shows women in the early days of the establishment of Israel had more equality in numbers. Eleven women served in the First and Second Knesset, and in the 1950s, that was considered advanced.

On the local level, women are involved in politics, and ten percent of municipalities are led by women.  On a national level, the numbers of women in Knesset are down. One thing women are lacking is political mentors.  It is much more difficult for Arab and Haredi women to get involved in politics, and the new Women’s Party started too late for Knesset 23.

Not wanting to leave you with a political story, I took a walk around to see what was happening on the Jerusalem streets with COVID-19 filling the news feed.

People were out, young and old, shopping and eating, and preparing for Purim.

Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem on a spring day

And after all the winter rain, below the Israel Museum, the vegetation in the Valley of the Cross was picture perfect.

9 New Photos of Arab Israeli Women

9 New Photos of Arab Israeli Women

Time for something new!

What news and new photos to post for International Women’s Day?

In the past Israeli Apartheid Week was making headlines at the same time.

In honor of International Women’s Day, Israeli Apartheid was first posted eight years ago.

Women in Saudi Arabia can now drive a car. Haneen Zoabi is no longer running for the Knesset.

But otherwise that viral post with 24 photos of Arab women stands true.

The blog titled  15 Real Photos of Arab Girls is still going since March 2012.

In the last 3 years alone, those girls have received over 26,000 views.

And three years ago there was the blog called 18 New Photos of Arab Girls.

Palm trees at Kikar Safra removed because of disease after one fell

Those glorious palm trees at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem Municipal Hall, have been gone for over a year, but Arab girls and women still shop of Jaffa Road.

President of Supreme Court at Israel President residence

Women are represented at the top of the Israeli legal system. Both the past and present heads of the Supreme Court, as well as the Minister of Justice are women.

Supreme Court Israel judges at Israel President's Residence

The Israeli Supreme Court has two women serving as justices besides President Esther Hayut.

This photo was taken on the day Hayut officially took her position.

Sharia Judges sworn in at Israeli President Residence with Ayelet Shaked

Judges are sworn in at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, including this group of new Qadis, Sharia Court Judges.

Muslim women in Jerusalem Israel at President's Residence

While Muslim women were in attendance, there was no female judge appointed that day.

In jerusalem at President's residence new judges for sharia courts

These men entered an all-male Israeli Sharia Court System. Ayelet Shaked said she wanted females also, and a year later Hana Khatib was sworn in at Beit Hanasi.

President Reuven Rivlin greets Arab security and police at President's Residence

Not many women were present at Beit Hanasi when Arab security and police conferred.

#MeToo panel at Israel media conference

But women were the focus of this media conference on Israeli version of #MeToo in Tel Aviv.

So what else is new to share in honor of International Women’s Day?

Muslim woman shopping before Pesach in Rami Levi Supermarket in Har Nof

This photo of shopping in a Jerusalem supermarket before Passover is not new.

Jerusalem Arab couple shopping in Mamilla Mall

However, the fact that more Arab men are going shopping in Mamilla Mall is new.

Two women in Jerusalem restaurant sitting together and talking

Arab women eating in Jerusalem restaurants is not new.

However, I still refrain from showing them clearly.

Girl wearing hijab and Arabic writing palestine sweatshirt near old city with fingers in V signal

Unless they are in my face like this young women; I often wonder where she is today.

young women running in Jerusalem women's night race

More young women are running, this was a Jerusalem Women’s Night Run.   The Jerusalem Marathon is a week away, and when the rain clears participants are out running and training.

Photo in Israel Museum of Babayoff family from Bukhara who came by camel to Jerusalem

In the Israel Museum this old photo is displayed, part of the story of Heftizbah Babayoff and family, who arrived in Jerusalem by camel in the 1800’s, from Bukhara.

Muslim women in hijab using laptop near walls of Old City Jerusalem Israel

What a contrast with this young woman who was sitting near the walls of the Old City, working on her laptop computer.

Women have come a long way in Jerusalem, Israel.

Where will we be next year for International Women’s Day?

5 Special Israeli Women on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.

Photos of Arab women went viral in 2011.

Then in 2012, I published photos of Arab girls

that just keep going and going.

Muslim girls in Jerusalem Israel shopping

Arab girls still can be found shopping in Jerusalem

on just about any day in most neighborhoods.

But this year I would like to focus on a few special women.

MK Rachel Azaria is using her position in the Knesset,

Rachel Azaria in Knesset committee room

with the assistance of various women’s groups,

to help working conditions and family life.

Yesterday another committee meeting was held on issues

including extended parental leave and allowing fathers to

 take time off on the birth of child without fear of losing their jobs.

On my way out of the Knesset I passed

Arab students in Knesset on tour

an Arab school group starting a Knesset tour.

Arab girls going to visit Knesset

  Muslim girls were on their way to the Knesset also.

I have meet some impressive Arab women and girls,

but most have not wanted their photo and names shared.

 Perhaps times are slowly changing,

Norhan Abu Kutuv of Yafo at Ynet conference

because seated next to President Reuven Rivlin

on a teen panel at a Ynet education conference,

was Norhaan, who asked a question of the Israeli President.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotolvely

held at a press conference at the King David Hotel.

Tzipi Hotovely speaking in Jerusalem

Justice Minister Ayelet Sheked answered questions

from American Jewish leaders.

Both women have promising futures in Israeli politics,

but one woman stands out for my special recognition

on this International Women’s Day,

Karnit Flug.

Bank of Israel president Karmit Flug at Jerusalem Press Club annual report

Remember how they said no man could replace

Stanley Fischer as President of the Bank of Israel?

Karnit Flug was interim head,

and was then appointed to the top position.

Each year she presents a report on the Israeli economy,

and each year she is more impressive.

Slowly banking is getting better

and things are changing.

Women in Israel are making a positive difference.