Israeli Government Promises to Appoint Arab Woman to Socioeconomic Panel

Change to Trajtenberg Committee comes in response to High Court petition submitted by Itach, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, in concert with 12 other women's advocacy groups.

An Arab woman is to be appointed to the Trajtenberg Committee on socioeconomic change, according to the state's response to a High Court of Justice petition against the original composition of the panel. "This is expected to be implemented as soon as possible," the State Prosecutor's Office wrote in the response.

The petition, submitted Wednesday by Itach, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, in concert with 12 other women's advocacy groups, demanded the immediate addition of Arab women to the panel, which was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the social protest movement sweeping the country.

Manuel Trajtenberg
Tomer Appelbaum

"The subcommittees of experts must suspend their activities immediately in the absence of the appointment of women to them. If Arab women are not appointed to the committee and women from a range of professions are not appointed to the subcommittees, the work of the committee should be suspended immediately," the petitioners wrote.

The petition, partners to which also included the Israel Women's Network, Kayan Feminist Organization, Achoti, the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel and others, stated that while Arab women represented about 10 percent of the Israeli population, they were excluded almost entirely from decision-making forums and completely absent from the Trajtenberg Committee.

Competitive spirit

Meanwhile, Dr. Shlomi Parizat, chief economist at the Israel Antitrust Authority and head of the subcommittee on competitiveness and cost of living that is subordinate to the Trajtenberg committee, Sundayposted to the committee's blogging site. "It's no secret that there are branches of the Israeli economy that are less competitive than we'd like," Parizat wrote in his guest blog. "On the other hand, despite the importance of competition from many aspects, we must remember that it is unnecessary and inappropriate to introduce competition everywhere.

"Sometimes people forget that competition is a tool and not a goal. It is one tool (albeit an important one ) in the large toolbox available to the government - tools whose purpose, at the end of the day, are to improve the welfare of the citizens," Parizat wrote.