Leadership in Public Arenas

In a nation that perceives itself as being under constant threat of extinction, the major focus of Israeli politics is on security issues (Gerabi, 1996). The discourse of national security remains an almost exclusively masculine arena (Gillath, 1993), dominated by men who came to the forefront of national politics following an illustrious military carrier. Since being a general, if not Chief of Staff, appears to be a prerequisite for most high-level political positions in government, women are effectively excluded from the national decision-making processes. In fact, in the 29th Knesset (which has the largest number of women members of Knesset (MKs) ever—16 out of 120), Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, only appointed three women ministers out of 24 available ministerial positions (Knesset Site, 2002).

This republican view of citizenship, which conjoins combat army service and entrance into the political sphere, also denies women's grass-roots social movements their legitimacy (Helman & Rapoport, 1997). When women entered the national debate and dared to voice unpopular antiwar views, they were seen as transgressing against their republican duty to support the fighting men. They were perceived as almost guilty of treason, failing in their duties towards their men and their nation (Herzog, 1996).

The all-encompassing importance of national security issues in Israeli politics was also detrimental to efforts to raise a feminist or women's rights political agenda. These issues were seen as trivial in comparison to the life-and-death questions of security, in particular as they were viewed as apolitical, domestic, and private matters, not pertinent to "serious" politics (Herzog, 1996).

Once introduced into the public sphere, women's agendas usually collide with those of the ultra-orthodox sectors in Israeli society. These sectors wield a great deal of political power because no major political party has managed to obtain a majority in the Knesset without incorporating them into a coalition.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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