Minister Stands Firm on Appointment Friend as Head of Women’s Authority

Authority for Advancement of Status of Women at standstill while Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel digs in.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel
Shiran Granot

The Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women has been without a director for a year, as Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel has been trying to appoint a childhood friend to the post over the objections of the attorney general and the civil service commissioner.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s office last week informed Gamliel that he opposes the appointment of attorney Rinat Danon, a friend of Gamliel’s since high school who is now her political adviser. Gamliel had sought Mendelblit’s intervention after Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan rejected the appointment.

Because of the pressure exerted by both Gamliel and the attorney general’s office, the Civil Service Commission, in an exceptional move, held repeat hearings on Danon’s appointment, but rejected it yet again. Mendelblit then informed Gamliel that he could not find any legal grounds for overturning the commission’s decision.

The Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, headed by MK Aida Touma-Suliman (Joint List), is scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter on Tuesday. Since last year the statutory authority has been run by Gamliel’s director-general, Avi Cohen. It has been operating with very few employees and its tasks are not being implemented. Thus, for example, there have been no gender-impact evaluations of bills, nor is there any oversight of the gender makeup of the professional committees in government ministries.

The authority was established by law in 1998 to advance women’s interests in education, legislation and enforcement, and to coordinate between government and nongovernmental organizations in this area. In August, several social organizations wrote to Gamliel calling on her to “breathe new life into this important agency and appoint a director for the authority as soon as possible.”

Ganliel’s office said that she had been ‘laboring for the past year to appoint a head of the authority. The minister presented the candidacy of attorney Danon, who has a master’s degree in public policy and many feminist achievements.

“The minister is consistent in her demand of the civil service commissionership to abandon its suitability measures for the role, which are based on typical male work experience.”