Likud’s May Golan set to become minister for advancement of women’s status

May Golan is to be appointed as the minister for the promotion of the status of women on Sunday, the first person to fill the newly established post.

The creation of the ministry drew praise from women’s groups, despite Golan’s record of voting against legislation that could improve women’s safety.

Golan, a member of the Likud Knesset party, was previously named minister without portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office. In her new position, she will be tasked with ending violence against women, promoting gender equality, combating sexual harassment and preventing the exclusion of women.

The newly appointed minister is part of the most right-wing religious government in Israel’s history, which includes only six women in the 32-member cabinet. There were nine women in the previous government out of 27 ministers.

The new ministry will be established by transferring the relevant powers from the Ministry of Social Equality, headed by MK Amichai Chikli.

However, Golan has been criticized for prioritizing party loyalty over supporting legislation that advances women’s rights.

Last month, Golan voted against a bill that would have mandated an electronic monitoring system to track domestic abuse. Experts and supporters of the legislation say the tracking would save lives.

MK May Golan at a House Committee meeting in the Knesset, on April 25, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After blocking the legislation, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said the electronic tagging bill needed to be done to balance the rights of men against the needs of vulnerable women.

In July 2021, Golan opposed a bill that would have allowed forensic samples taken from victims of sex crimes to be stored indefinitely. That bill was designed to help victims provide evidence that could be used in trials.

Women’s advocacy groups expressed their hope that Golan would use the newly formed ministry to make a big difference, highlighting the number of women who have been murdered in recent weeks.

“The new minister has a lot of work to do,” said Hadas Daniely Yalin, CEO of the Israel Women’s Network.

“The large increase in the number of women murdered in Israel since the beginning of the year, together with legislative initiatives that have been promoted by the government and threaten the rights of women in Israel, are only some of the issues on her agenda, ” she said, according to the Foundation. Ynet news site.

Israeli women hold fake coffins to symbolize the murders of women killed as part of a national strike to protest violence against women, Tel Aviv, December 4, 2018 (Miriam Alster / Flash90)

The International Zionist Organization congratulated Golan, urging her to reintroduce the electronic surveillance bill now that she “holds the keys”.

“We hope that the minister will lead a gender-sensitive vision and raise the silent voice of 51 percent of the population in these turbulent times,” the organization said.

Moran Zer Katzenstein, of the women’s group Building an Alternative, said Israeli women are “watching [Golan] with hope.”

“A government ministry will finally be established that will deal with the rights of 51% of the Israeli population. We congratulate Minister May Golan for her pioneering role and wish her every success,” she said.

Zer Katzenstein’s organization has played a prominent role in recent protests against the government’s controversial judicial overhaul, saying the coalition’s actions will leave minorities and women unprotected.

File: Protesters supporting women’s rights dressed as characters from the TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale” attend a protest against government plans to reform the judicial system, outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 13, 2023. (AP /Ohad Zwigenberg)

Activists have long complained that not enough is done to prevent violence against women in Israel, especially in cases known to the authorities.

According to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, in 2022, “24 women were murdered for being women,” a 50 percent increase over the 16 such murders recorded in 2021. Half of those murders were in the Arab community, which is only 21 .% of the population.

A report released by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs in November showed that the Ministry received 5,712 complaints about domestic violence between January and October 2022 – a 3.6% increase on the previous year.

Although data on false allegations of domestic violence is scarce, researchers around the world agree that the number of actual assaults far exceeds the number of false claims.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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