THIS EYE-OPENING LOOK AT THE RISING OPPRESSION OF ISRAELI WOMEN OFFERS A RALLYING CRY FOR HOW WOMEN EVERYWHERE CAN FIGHT BACK.
ACROSS ISRAEL—one of the world's most democratic countries—women are being threatened and abused as ultra-Orthodox Jewish factions seek to suppress them. In this stunning exposé, award-winning author and leading Jewish women's activist Elana Sztokman reveals the struggles of Israeli women against this increasing oppression, from segregation on public buses—in a move Hillary Clinton called "reminiscent of Rosa Parks"—to being silenced in schools and erased from newspapers and ads. This alarming patriarchal backlash isn't limited to Israel either: its repercussions endanger the rights and freedoms of women from Afghanistan to America.
But there's hope as well: courageous feminist activists within the Orthodox world are starting to demand systemic change on these fronts, and, with some support from non-Orthodox advocates, they're creating positive reforms that could help women everywhere.
Blending interviews with original investigative research and historical context, Sztokman traces the evolution of this struggle against oppression and proposes solutions for creating a different, more egalitarian vision of religious culture and opportunity in Israeli society and around the world.
Fearless and inspiring, The War on Women in Israel brings to light a major social and international issue and offers a rousing call to action to stop the repression of women in Israel and worldwide.
Combining a chilling warning with a rousing call to action, feminist activist Sztokman (The Men's Section) documents the places in Israel where "a radical religious misogyny has been gradually creeping into public spaces." With outrage and bewilderment, she chronicles how Israeli business leaders, lawmakers, politicians, and police have caved to the demands of an ultra-Orthodox minority to remove women's faces, voices, and even their physical presence from public venues, creating "female-free zones" in the name of modesty. She exposes the "entrenched culture of sexism" in the Israeli army and legislature, and explores how the Orthodox rabbinical courts cause disproportionate harm to women in their governance of "personal status" issues (marriage, divorce, and conversion), among other concerns. Sztokman rejects the "false claim of moral equivalence" that regards a woman's basic human rights as equal to "a man's right to silence her." Instead, she implores the public to set aside the "distanced reverence for religion" that tolerates such practices and enjoins support for the "powerful alliance" among Orthodox feminists, religious pluralists, and human rights activists. Cutting, candid, and lucid, Sztokman's account of injustice makes an eloquent plea for "the assertion of a secular-democratic vision for Israeli society" and will inspire more dialogue.