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Women's Rights in Israel

My homemade tallit, or prayer shawl, is the most meaningful Jewish object that I own.

Madeline Budman

This post originally appeared on the Israel Religious Action Center's newsletter, The Pluralist

Anat Hoffman
Large crowds of worshipers gathered at the Western Wall

Three times a year – on Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot

Jacob Kraus
The Western Wall Plaza

After decades of prayer, protest and negotiation, the Israeli governm

Jacob Kraus
The Official Hannukiah at the Western Wall

In the spirit of Hanukkah, a festival that celebrates the rights of Jews to worship freely, Women of the Wall are continuing their work to expand that right today in Israel.

Jacob Kraus

By Joelle Leib

During my time at Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremont, California, I have learned much about feminism and the critical fight for gender equality. Luckily for me and my female millennial peers, American women have made tremendous strides in the past few decades, so much so that Hillary Clinton is now a frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary. Yet as someone who also identifies as a Zionist as well as a feminist, a great deal must still be accomplished before these two identities can be completely reconciled.

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a coalition government after his Likud Party’s resounding victory in the March elections. As positions in the government have been given out to coalition partners, and agreements made about government priorities, we’ve started to get a sense of what this government coalition will mean for Israel. While laws have yet to be passed, political parties—and the Members of Knesset in them—are starting to stake their claims for how they want the government to respond to challenges throughout its term. Here are some of the developments we’ve been watching:

The Reform Movement’s slate for the 2015 World Zionist Congress elections won by a wide margin, according to results released Thursday. The Reform Movement’s ARZA slate won 56 out of the United States’ 145 possible seats (or 39% of the vote), which was more than the second and third place numbers of seats combined.

Late last Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the final deals to form his new coalition government. The coalition, which has a bare majority of 61 of the 120 Members of Knesset, comprises five parties: Netanyahu’s Likud (30 seats), ultra-nationalist Habayit Hayehudi (8 seats), ultra-Orthodox Shas (7 seats) and United Torah Judaism (6 seats) and center-right Kulanu (10 seats). Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, sent a note of congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu: