Hadarat Nashim

On my way downtown this morning on the Egged bus (the 74, which makes its way from the southern end of Jerusalem to the northern end via Derech Hevron, then onto Keren Hayesod and King George), we sidled alongside a protest of some sorts, taking place on the street, along King George. We on the bus all looked on in interest, trying to figure out who and what was being protested.

For my part, I noticed the, by and large, lack of kippot or covered heads for women, so it was a clearly mostly secular crowd. It wasn’t until I saw one of the signs that mentioned “הדרת נשים”, that I realized it was another protest, one of many of late, demanding respect for the exclusion of women. And so, when the woman across from me — wearing a sheitel — asked what the protest was about, I was able to tell her. And she nodded, along with others in the bus.

The only reason I now know the term hadarat nashim, or exlusion of women, (I originally wrote dignity of women, as it was first described to me), is because it’s become a catchphrase in our daily language over the last few weeks. After the recent spate of incidents on buses, with women being told to sit in the back, to segregate themselves from the men, people are speaking out in the streets, in the newspapers, and on the buses.

I learned the term at a parlor meeting with Councilwoman Rachel Azaria, who’s becoming well-known in these parts for her great work on the part of young families in Jerusalem, but primarily for having her portfolio taken away by the mayor for petitioning the High Court of Justice to immediately remove gender barriers in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods that were erected during Sukkot. It was once more of a ‘gender studies’ kind of term, a friend of mine told me, whose sister teaches gender studies, but has now become much more common, because we appear to need to understand the concept in these parts.

In the meantime, back to the protest. Got off the bus, just across from the plaza in front of the former Hamashbir department store, where the protesters were gathering and dancing to some Hadag Nachash being blasted from the speakers.

And who should I bump into but Rachel Azaria, just making her way into the crowd, and getting ready to speak. We said hi, and I told her thanks for teaching me the term hadarat nashim. She responded, “You would have learned it sooner or later.” True, I told her, but more memorable to learn it from her.

This Year I’m a Voter…The Next Mayor Election Vote for Me, Your Deputy Mayor

November 9, 2008 - 8:33 PM by · 1 Comment
Filed under: A New Reality, General, History and Culture, Israeliness, Life, Politics 

Our futureDid you know that Jerusalem has six deputy mayors? And each one gets paid NIS 35,000 a month. So now you are thinking, how do I become a deputy mayor? Me too. But it’s too late for us because the election for mayor and city council are just two days away and we’re not on any of the party lists so chances are that we’re not making a career change any time soon. But for those of us voting it is important to understand that we actually get two votes, one for mayor and the other for city council. It is on the city council that these deputy mayors will sit as part of the 30-something coalition and make the crucial decisions affecting me and you.

It is also important to know that while the deputy mayors are making the big bucks, the rest of the city council is doing volunteer work–that is, they are not making a penny, or shekel, if you will. As Shira at The Big Felafel informs us:

“While the two highest elected municipality positions, mayor and deputy mayor, are paid positions, the other 29 seats on the council are volunteer positions. The mayor’s salary comes from your taxes, has his/her hand most tightly around the budget and has the best chance of passing his/her policy decisions. But the council members are either a part of the mayor’s coalition, thus helping the mayor pass policy and allocate money, or they are a part of the opposition, with a unique opportunity of exposing the improprieties of the coalition to the public and leading a strong opposing stance to the ruling force. So both votes are extremely important.”

Like Shira points out, both of your votes are crucial and with just a few days before the elections these “volunteers” are campaigning down to the wire trying to get you to vote for them. This past Thursday Hitorerut-Yerushalmim (Wake up Jerusalem) and Jerusalem Will Succeed made one of their last hits on the campaign trail in an English forum hoping to inform Anglo voters and make them vote for their team.

The head of Wake up Jerusalem’s list, Rachel Azaria, stressed the fact that their party does not answer to anyone. They are the people and they answer to the people and no one else. This list is dedicated only to the residents of Jerusalem and therefore does not have an adjacent party in the Knesset that they must take their cues from. They are young and most of them come from careers in social change.

And while youth can mean a fresh start for the city, Naomi Tsur of Jerusalem Will Succeed holds that against them, for the usual reason of inexperience. Tsur, former head of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Jerusalem decided to make the switch to government after her long battle with creating a sustainable Jerusalem. She explained that their party comes with mayoral candidate Nir Barkat. And if he is elected he will need the support of his coalition to help him implement his policies, thus he will need people from his own party to be a part of the coalition since they already agree with everything he stands for. As far as the young and fresh thing goes, Tsur said they have a young person on their list, as well as other representatives, like a native Russian speaker, French speaker, two pensioners and an Ethiopian.

So as you head to the startup capital of the world’s technologically advanced polling system – placing a paper in an envelope inside a cardboard box – remember to vote for mayor and city council. You can find a list of all the city council choices on The Big Felafel.


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