JERUSALEM (AFP) – Ultra-orthodox Jewish women in Israel have begun an unprecedented campaign to have women candidates on the lists of religious parties for next March’s early general election, media reported on Sunday.
“We want ultra-orthodox women – five per cent of the population – to have a say in the Knesset and demand that the heads of the ultra-orthodox parties choose at least one candidate of their choice,” activist Esty Reider-Indorsky, a driving force behind the move, told public radio.
However, the broadcaster reported that the leaders of the parties in question (Shas, with 11 of 120 seats in parliament) and the Unified Torah list (seven seats) have no intention of agreeing to the demand.
In a manifesto published on social networks online and supported by personalities including secular Israelis, the ultra-orthodox women say they are prepared to go as far as an election boycott.
“And we (women) represent half of the electorate,” Reider-Indorsky told the station.
Ultra-orthodox Jewish women, recognisable by their modest clothing and hair styled under a scarf or wig, are already present in Israeli politics.