An Israeli far-right party, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu helped bring into the Knesset, is now asking Netanyahu to cancel Israel’s commitment to combating violence against women.
The anti-LGBT Noam party, which won a single Knesset seat as part of the Religious Zionism slate, announced on Thursday that it will back Netanyahu in his bid to form a new government as expected.
However, it is demanding in return that Israel cancel its official commitment to U.N. Resolution 1325, which obligates it "to include women in all decision-making bodies, especially those dealing with matters of security and peace and to take definitive action to protect women from violence and uphold international law with respect to the human rights of women and girls."
Noam presents itself as a religious party founded on family values, and aims to reverse the progress Israel has made in recent decades with regards to women’s equality and LGBT rights. Before last week’s election, Netanyahu put heavy pressure on the leaders of several far-right parties, including Noam, to run under one slate in order to increase their representation in the Knesset. Noam’s leader, Avi Maoz, was elected to the Knesset as a result of those efforts.
With his election, Maoz now has some political leverage; without his support, Netanyahu will find it extremely difficult to swear in a new government.
In a statement released on Thursday, Maoz presented a list of demands for supporting Netanyahu's premiership. “We will act to return to our country its Jewish character, which has been eroded in recent years,” he wrote. “We will demand to fix government decision 2331, which orders the institutions of the state to adhere to U.N. resolution 1325.”
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That government decision, adopted in 2014, called on all official state institutions in Israel to protect women’s rights and ensure representation and security for women. It represents Israel's official commitment to the U.N. resolution passed 14 years earlier, which is viewed as a historic milestone in the fight for women’s equality around the world.
Maoz’s list of demands also includes ending “government initiatives that work on Shabbat” and giving the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate total control over all Jewish conversions in Israel.
Leader of the opposition Yair Lapid reacted to Maoz’s statement with a warning. “The Noam party’s demand from Netanyahu: cancelling government decision 2331, which promises protection from violence and fair representation for women," he tweeted.
"This is the government you want? A racist, chauvinist government that will send Israel back to the Middle Ages? No sane Prime Minister and no sane elected official can allow this to happen.”