Women and the Women's Equal Rights Law in Israel

by Nitza Berkovitch
published in MER198

Israeli society, even prior to the formation of the state, has been permeated by a strong myth of sexual equality. Shortly after the establishment of the Jewish nation-state, the Israeli Knesset began intensive debates on a body of legislation that would guide and define subsequent discourse on issues that concern the relationship between women and the state. One of those early laws, the Women’s Equal Rights Law of 1951, has had a lasting influence on the ways in which women have been incorporated into and mobilized by Israeli society. It has a direct impact on the construction of the Jewish Israeli female subject, first and foremost, as mother and wife, and not as individual or citizen.

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