A petition has been filed by three NGOs dedicated to women’s rights to the High Court because no female ministry directors’ generals have been appointed by the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
The petition has asked the court for a ruling to fill the open director spots with female appointees. From a total of 31 vacancies, 23 directors’ generals have been appointed so far to the ministries, all of whom are men.
On Thursday, the Israel Women’s Network, Forum Dvorah and Na’amat jointly filed the petition. They requested the court to intervene and ensure that women fill the remaining eight vacancies.
The petition also highlighted the Women’s Right Law imposed in 1951, which makes it mandatory to ensure equality in civil institutions between the sexes.
Therefore, it said that the court should step in to ensure that women are chosen as half of the ministry directors’ general.
The Israel Women’s Network also added that if the current government continues with this trend, it would have the lowest number of female directors’ general seen since 2001, when only one female had been appointed.
Ron Dermer, the Strategic Affairs Minister, had been rumored to hint that he would choose the public policy director of Facebook for Israel, Jordana Cutler, for running his ministry.
However, an official appointment has not been presented to the cabinet as yet. Similarly, reports last week had indicated that a female may be appointed as the director-general of the Public Diplomacy Ministry.
Reports said that Galit Distel Atbaryan had gotten the greenlight to appoint Sharon Uziel Peled for the position.
Osnat Mark, a former Likud MK, had been slated for appointment as the director of the Science and Technology Minister.
But, there had been criticism regarding her lack of experience, which saw her withdraw herself as a candidate.
It should be noted that there are some ministries that have several ministers, while some ministers are holding multiple portfolios.
There are a total of 32 ministers in the current government and only six of these are female. These include Miri Regev, the Transportation Minister, Idit Silman, the Environmental Protection Minister and Gila Gamliel, the Intelligence Minister.
The remaining three are Orit Strock, Distel Arbaryan and May Golan, who are the National Missions Minister, the Public Diplomacy Minister and part of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The cabinet of the last government had a total of 27 members and nine of them were female. The most recent coalition also had nine women as ministry directors general, which is an all-time high.
There are no women lawmakers in the two ultra-Orthodox parties of the current government, United Torah Judaism and Shas.
There is just one woman lawmaker in the far-right Otzma Yehudit party. When the coalition was sworn in, it had a total of 64MKs and only nine of them were women.
A number of women’s organizations had participated in a women-led protest earlier this month in Tel Aviv against the policies of the new government.