Letters to the Editor (March 23, 2012)
Time for a change
Regarding “Changing places,” March 16
To Eva Illouz, I must say I think these points are vital! More important than geopolitics. This article was very well written and I agree with what you say.
Here in Israel we do not know either egalite or solidarite, not to speak of opportunite. I hope I didn’t miss any parts of this.
This is an honest and incisive series, Eva (I just read two), and I hope you will succeed in influencing change. Bon courage!
No cause for celebration
Regarding “Juggling act,” March 2
Feminists should have cause to celebrate. At last we have a woman president of an Israeli research university. But the encounter here with Prof. Rivka Carmi is no cause for celebration at all. Here is a woman who succeeded and attained a high position, and what does she have to say about the women who work by cleaning her office (and the other university buildings)? “Cleaning is a service within a system whose core engagement is completely different. As long as there is no law to the contrary, there will be no direct employment,” she says. I wonder whether the university could function for a single day without these cleaning services.
In the same interview, Prof. Carmi appears to know without a shadow of a doubt what loyalty to the state entails, and declares that lecturers who show solidarity with the struggle against the occupation hold a radical political view. Loyal citizens of the state are precisely those who dare to criticize the regime and the injustices it commits.
A citizen who is loyal to her sisters would be one who would refuse to allow and would prevent the harmful employment of any woman, or man. One who has no compassion for the cleaning workers in her institution and no solidarity with the (few) brave lecturers who are ready to fearlessly voice their critical opinion ought to continue pursuing her field of genetics, in which she did so well. And leave the university presidency to others, men or women, with more conscience and courage.
Jezreel Valley College
At the end of the interview with Ben-Gurion University president Rivka Carmi, the struggle of the cleaners at the university to obtain direct employment is mentioned. Prof. Carmi says cleaning is not a “core” concern and that there will be no direct employment unless stipulated by law. But the Seminar Hakibbutzim Teachers College did not wait for a law. It understood that an academic institution that is training the next generation must make a social statement that does not allow for discrimination and exploitation within its walls.
As a university president, and as chair of the committee of heads of universities in the country, Prof. Carmi could institute a conceptual change that says once and for all: All those who work here will be able to feed their families and provide for their basic needs.
Regarding “Freedom fighters,” March 2
The secular hope that is implied in Neri Livneh’s article will remain only a hope if secular and moderate religious people confine their activity to the social and public sphere alone. Only by participating in genuine political moves − like forming a political movement or joining existing movements, running for mayor or the city council, and trying to gain influence in areas where change can really be made − can there be real hope that Jerusalem will become a place for secular people.
A majority in the city council is what will determine Jerusalem’s future, not the opening of another pub.