Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

'Sexual Harassment'

In the last decade, Israeli women have a new battle for civil rights and a true equality. This new movement of Israeli feminism has been influenced by the ever growing process of Americanization of the Israeli society and politics. But, indeed, I was surprised to find that in the campus of Tel-Aviv University, there is an issue of sexual harassment. Most of the students of this University are female. As far as I know in this University women professors or scholars have not been discriminated against in jobs or academic appointments as well.

But America penetrated this campus, probably the campuses of other Israeli Universities or colleges by a new drive to prevent and counter sexual harassments. In 1998, the Knesset enacted a special law in this issue and Tel-Aviv developed its own special regulation. First, professor Ruth Ben-Israel was appointed as a commissioner for sexual harassment affairs. Second, the University has to educate the academic staff and the students about the issue: when a pattern of behavior means sexual harassment.

The issue of defending the well being of women in Israel has become an urgent issue because of two new negative developments: First, he increase of the number and pains of battered women as a result of domestic violence and the destruction of many Israeli families. Recently, we were informed that 200,000 women suffered from some kind of domestic violence. And, second, Israel, according to some feminist activist, turned out to be a new paradise for rapists.

Recently, Israel was shocked to find that many rapes were committed by one serial rapist. Many women argued that the so called male controlled society does not rush to counter these rapists, and the Israeli police act too slowly when challenging these rape cases. Women also keep arguing that these rapists are getting away with this crime in the courts. Rapists must be punished more severely!

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