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Schlaglicht Number 10/20, Latest News from the Israeli Press, May 16-31, 2020

"Schlaglicht Israel" offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.

Download the latest Publication of “Schlaglicht Israel”!

Main topics covered in this Publication:

  1. Lawsuit Starts – Netanyahu on Trial
  2. Protest Against Israel’s Plans for Annexation
  3. Fear of Second Corona Wave
  4. Selection of Articles

1. Lawsuit Starts – Netanyahu on Trial

Will Netanyahu get a fair trial?

(…) Like any defendant, the prime minister must be presumed innocent and the rules of law are supposed to guarantee him a fair trial – but in Netanyahu’s case, it’s hard to see how that will happen. (…) a possible “trial by media,” (…) could affect the judges. (…) Another concern stems from the very high profile of Netanyahu’s trial, and particularly, the fact that its outcome will have significant implications for Israel’s future, regardless of the media effect. (…) the charges in Netanyahu’s case speak directly to his moral standing and, consequently, his competence to serve as prime minister. (…) Another concern is related to influencing witnesses. The charges against Netanyahu are rife with confidantes-turned-state witnesses and others whose testimony is key. (…) Even if we assume that the judges hearing the case have somehow been able to ignore or transcend the media coverage, it is impossible to gauge its impact on the witnesses. (…) Images and narratives leading the media coverage of the prime minister’s legal troubles may affect witnesses’ motivation to come forward or taking the stand, or their belief that certain details are crucial. This reduces the likelihood that the evidence heard in court will reflect the objective reality. After all, even the most professional and impartial judges are human and may not be able to detect such nuanced in the testimonies. (…)

Doron Menashe, IHY, 20.05.20

Netanyahu’s historic trial is finally here

(…) There are many problems with having someone on trial while at the same time serving as prime minister, the most visible political representative of every country. There is, for example, the impact it will have on the country’s moral fabric: is this the political role model to look up to for the younger generation – or any generation? (…) Another problem: it will be impossible to know anymore what is sincere and what isn’t. Let’s say there is another Tehran cyberattack against Israel (…) and Netanyahu decides to retaliate with an all-out aerial assault against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Will Israel strike because that is genuinely what is needed, or because the prime minister wants to divert attention away from his trial? (…) Every decision will be suspect, every move will be suspicious. The division in this country will only grow between the camp that trusts Netanyahu and the sincerity of his decisions, and the camp that does not. Little good will come of this. And then there is the third problem: the war he and the Likud are waging against the judicial system that has the potential to forever alter the rule of law here. (…) When the courts are systematically undermined and the rule of law disintegrates, who will be there to stop it? (…)

Yaakov Katz, JPO, 22.05.20

The trial

All the efforts that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invested in the past year and a half in trying to escape the law have crumbled. All his tactics, ruses and intrigues came to nothing. (…) There’s not enough space to describe everything Netanyahu did in an attempt to escape the law. He dragged the country through a long, exhausting and expensive chase, through three rounds of elections. All of this in an attempt to achieve a majority that would either give him parliamentary immunity (…) made for his needs and circumstances, including a clause that would block the court from overturning these laws. In parallel he declared a multi-pronged assault on all the law enforcement authorities and the legal system, on the institutions in general and on the individual officials. He did this while spewing conspiracy theories and blood libels in an attempt to scare and weaken all those involved in the proceedings against him. But no less important, he did it in order to give the public an alternative narrative to the offenses of which he is suspected, as if Israel’s citizens were a massive jury with the power to exonerate him. Netanyahu didn’t hold back. He worked up the masses, he incited, he lied, he slandered, in a way that wouldn’t embarrass a criminal ringleader. (…)

Editorial, HAA, 23.05.20

The country held hostage

(…) a defendant devoid of restraints is serving as prime minister and undermining the foundations of the state for which he is responsible. (…) With the opening of the prime minister’s trial (…), Israel entered the twilight zone of democracy. The country is trapped in an unprecedented situation. Not only is its prime minister a criminal defendant who is managing the country and his trial simultaneously, but Netanyahu in his role as defendant is presiding over a wild, unbridled public assault on the law enforcement and justice systems for which he is responsible. How is the country supposed to function in this situation? Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz responded to Netanyahu’s nightmarish speech by saying, “Even the prime minister has the right to be presumed innocent. I’m certain the justice system will give him a fair trial.” This is a weak, meaningless response that tries unsuccessfully to cover the nakedness of his decision to form a government with a criminal defendant and thereby enable a man with no restraints to take an entire country hostage.

Editorial, HAA, 25.05.20

Netanyahu’s victim mentality

(…) we do live in a law-abiding country, where we can find a modicum of equality before the law for the rich as much as for the poor, the weak as much as the strong.

(…) the strongest man in Israel (…) found himself on the hard wooden bench of the criminally accused. It was a solemn day, but not a sad one as some have suggested, although there was little to be joyful about. (…) In his quest to control the message, the prime minister arrived flanked by ministers and members of Knesset from his long-ruling Likud party, and their face masks only added to the symbolism of the moment. Are we to expect two parallel universes throughout these criminal proceedings: A reality inside the courtroom that operates according to the law and a reality outside it orchestrated by Netanyahu. Over the years we have grown used to Likud members fading into the background and keeping their heads down as they refuse to confront their leader. But seeing the Blue & White party members attempt to do the same is disheartening.

The extent of their betrayal of their voters still left some faint hope that they would stand up against corruption – as they had pledged to do. They insisted on controlling the Justice Ministry to prevent Netanyahu from decimating the judicial system. But after their milquetoast reaction to the prime minister’s vicious attack, that hope has faded.

Only after social media exploded in protest did Netanyahu’s political partner Benny Gantz put out a statement that in no way matched the aggression of Netanyahu’s words.

Does Gantz think he and his party would be able to stay under the radar or plead the Fifth Amendment for the duration of their term? Not likely.

Shelly Yachimovich, YED, 25.05.20

Netanyahu can finally fire back

(…) The politicians, the lawyers, the journalists, and the furious masses are all involved. Some offer comfort by saying there is an arena outside the court and there is the legal arena as it exists in the courtroom, where there are rules and laws and which is detached from the masses outside waving black flags or supporting the prime minister, whose fate is in the hands of the judges. Clearly, there is no detachment. This is not democracy in action, it is democracy that is being shredded. The moment that political life falls into hands that don’t know how to make compromises and only know rulings, the public’s frustration and outrage bubbles over. Journalists and broadcasters are making the same low-blow mistake of accusing the public of violence that could target the judges, and this is a repeat of what happened during the disengagement from Gaza. Then, too, the big newspapers and TV channels joined hands with certain elements in the security forces, and invented stories about settlers in Kfar Darom and Homesh, saying they had weapons and were prepared to use them, and that the personnel carrying out the evacuations would not hesitate to “neutralize” them. (…) The same thing is happening with Prime Minister Netanyahu. For 25 years, a campaign of character assassination has been waged against him, the like of which has never been seen in any democracy, and that campaign has turned especially brutal in the last four years. It isn’t one particular speech or another, but rather daily and weekly leaks designed to shape public opinion and awaken hatred until it boils over. (…) now Netanyahu is in a position to return fire. (…) Right now, the only way out of this political-legal tangle is for the prime minister to show faith in the judges and do his best, along with his lawyers, to prove that the accusations against him do not comprise criminal acts.

Amon Lord, IHY, 25.05.20

Netanyahu’s circus of a trial delegitimizes democracy

The “trial of the century” began (…) like the three-ring circus it had threatened to be. (…) The fireworks that turned the serious proceedings into a Middle Eastern shuk took place outside the courtroom – in the corridor of the stone courthouse, outside on Salah a-Din Street and near the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street. That’s where interested parties across the political spectrum, including Netanyahu, attempted to take the case out of the hands of the three judges assigned to the trial and take control of the judicial process. Outside the courthouse, hundreds of boisterous protesters gathered (most without face masks and without practicing social distancing), ostensibly to show their support for the accused prime minister, but in essence their mission was to declare the trial illegitimate. (…) The rowdy crowd took its cue from the beliefs of the person they had come to support – the prime minister. Netanyahu, who had attempted to avoid attending Sunday’s opening session, ended up grabbing the spotlight in every way possible, in an effort to dominate the headlines and coverage. In a smart PR move, he had the Likud ministers bused to the courthouse to portray solidarity in a much-publicized photo taken without the court’s permission. (…) Netanyahu managed to shift the focus on this first day of his trial away from the image of a prime minister on trial to the image of a prime minister being lynched by a crooked system out to get him. That attack on the democratic institutions of the country might have been effective in the short term, but when the court reconvenes in July and witnesses start taking the stand in the coming months (or even years), the focus will again shift to where it should be – on the charges, the defense and whether the prime minister is guilty or innocent.

Editorial, JPO, 25.05.20

2. Pompeo Affirms Us Peace Plan

What’s the real purpose of Israel’s annexation plan?

(…) Israel has no practical need for a “unilateral annexation.” (…) the way Israel is managing its control of the Palestinians maximizes the benefits for it and minimizes the costs and risks. (…) Israel has full control of all the territory; hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers enjoy full civil rights equivalent to those of Jewish citizens inside the Green Line; and Israel has the Palestinian Authority, which spares it the need to directly manage many aspects of Palestinians’ lives that Israel would prefer not to deal with, certainly not to budget funds for them. (…) there is nearly wall-to-wall consensus to perpetuate the “existing situation” in one variation or another. Those who believe in this for ideological reasons are gratified by the continuation of the settlement-dispossession project. Those in the “center” or “center left” supported it – by their action or silence – as long as they could preserve enough room for denial via the obvious lies about the “temporary” nature of the situation (…), its reversibility (…) and of Israel being a “democratic country” (…) all of Israel’s actions in the territories won’t have an international cost in terms of its foreign relations or economy. It was due to such international and economic costs that South Africa’s apartheid regime collapsed. But Israel learned the lesson and acted more cleverly: It didn’t put signs saying “Whites Only” on benches, and it focused on policy-level achievements. In this way Israel became the most successful model of a 21st-century ethno-state without becoming a diplomatic leper. But after more than 50 years, people in Israel are ready to strike a new internal deal. The time has come to end the show, to remove the masks. (…) This is the real objective of the annexation push: Making the existing situation a matter of open consensus, making it public and official, not something that is supposedly controversial, that supposedly is the subject of some meaningful internal debate. (…)

Hagai El-Ad, HAA, 16.05.20

The Jordan Valley dilemma: A realistic approach

(…) While the Israeli internal debate has remained largely the same, a fundamental change took place in the White House that opened up new possibilities (…) an opportunity, perhaps never to be repeated (…). A fierce campaign was swiftly launched (…) 220 retired Israeli generals, admirals and leaders from the Mossad, Shin Bet and the Israel Police (…) insist on blocking unilateral annexation of the Jordan Valley (…) prominent American Jewish leaders joined (…) members of the US Congress (…) agreed that annexation would be counterproductive if not completely fatal for the prospect of an eventual two-state solution. (…) This standpoint is anchored in the traditional approach of the Israeli left, which preaches for a two-state solution while underestimating the unique benefits for Israel of the Trump peace plan. The bottom line of their argument is that because Trump’s peace plan is fundamentally unrealistic, there is no point in Israel pursuing whatever opportunity his administration seems to be providing to annex the Jordan Valley. (…) The dark prophecies proclaimed by “liberal” and “progressive” groups in Israel as well as abroad vis-à-vis the possible annexation of the Jordan Valley are overstated, and they obscure the strategic significance of the Jordan Valley to the security of Israel. (…) As the great French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire observed, “Opportunities are not to be neglected. They rarely visit us twice.”

Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen, IHY, 17.05.20

Jordan king’s warning about annexation

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned (…) that if Israel moves ahead with its intention to annex parts of the West Bank, it would lead to a major clash with the kingdom and put the peace treaty itself at risk. (…) The king’s statements (…) are an important reminder to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to his coterie of supporters of annexation. These people are misleading the Israeli public into believing that American willingness to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the settlements is a historic insurance policy that allows Israel to make a unilateral grab, at no cost and no risk. This is a dangerous state of being drunk with power. (…) In fact, Israel’s arrogance isn’t backed up even by the United States, which conveys conflicting messages. (…) U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that annexation is “an Israeli decision.” This is vague wording that can be interpreted as spurring Israel on to decide to move ahead with annexation, or as a hint intended to cool initial enthusiasm over it. (…) the Trump administration wants to hold direct negotiations between Israel, the Palestinians and others in the region over the president’s peace plan and that discussion of annexation should be part of the negotiations. (…) Even without listening to Abdullah it’s obvious that annexation will endanger peace. The problem is that the annexationist right wing is not deterred by this possibility. On the contrary, it believes that toppling the Jordanian monarchy might fulfill the vision of Jordan as the Palestinian state. Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz clearly stated (…) that he opposes unilateral moves. (…) Gantz will have to insist that annexation hurts peace with Jordan and to thwart this needless and dangerous initiative.

Editorial, HAA, 17.05.20

King Abdullah’s empty threats

(…) Jordan’s King Abdullah (…) will never approve the sovereignty plan. So giving him a veto means shelving the plan. This raises the question of whether there is any reason to give the head of the Hashemite clan that sort of power? Can he cause Israel harm so grave that it should abandon the sovereignty plan to appease him? (…) he is absolutely not considering suspending the peace deal. He’s bloviating. And he has good reason to both keep the peace deal and to bloviate. (…) the peace treaty guarantees the survival of his regime. Israel provides Jordan with an economic lifeline by supplying Jordan with water and gas. The US, for its part, protects and sustains Abdullah and his kingdom by stationing US forces in the kingdom and by providing Jordan with $1.8 billion in economic assistance annually. If Jordan abrogated the peace deal, Israeli water and gas transfers would obviously cease. And since Israel’s sovereignty plan will be undertaken in the framework of the US peace plan, it is hard to imagine that US support for the kingdom would be unchanged in the event that Jordan abrogated its peace deal in retaliation for Israel’s move. (…) Facing this state of affairs, Israel’s proper response is not to set aside the sovereignty plan, which among other things, secures Israel’s long border with Jordan by applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. The proper response to Jordan’s enormous hostility (…) is to draw up detailed contingency plans for the day after the Hashemites are overthrown or the peace treaty is abrogated. (…)

Caroline B. Glick, IHY, 19.05.20

Annexation must be one part of a broader national security strategy

(…) annexation cannot stand on its own. In the Trump plan, for example, it is part of that “plan,” one which includes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, joint industrial zones and other parameters, critical for any future peaceful resolution. Israel must lay out a national security strategy and explain what it is seeking to accomplish in the West Bank. Annexing (…) must be done as part of a strategy, not just as an ad-hoc approach. (…) when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, maps are easy to draw but making historic decisions is not. Israel has said that it is committed to the two-state solution – and many allies fear that walking away from that will erode Israel as a democratic state. Except for the US, few countries support or will accept annexation. In past decades, the UN declared that Zionism was “racism” and (…) annexation could cause a break with the Kingdom of Jordan, which has been angry at Israel’s behavior for more than a decade. (…) The problem with Netanyahu’s method of governance is that it often seems shortsighted. The (…) country needs a vision. An important, historic act such as annexation requires a worldview of where Israel is going. (…) It’s time to take responsibility and lay out a plan.

Editorial, JPO, 19.05.20

Ending security arrangements will harm the PA as much as Israel

(…) If the Palestinian Authority does cut off all security cooperation with Israel to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated intent to extend Israeli sovereignty to the settlements (…) then that definitely is a bad turn of events. (…) this security cooperation is one of the greatest benefits Israel got out of the Oslo accords, and something of enormous help in keeping a lid on West Bank terror. But (…) it also benefits the Palestinian Authority, since the terrorism that is being contained is largely Hamas terror. And Hamas terror is as much of a threat – if not more – to Abbas’s control and to the Palestinian Authority as it is to Israel. (…) Jordan’s King Abdullah also benefits from this security cooperation. In recent months, Abdullah has been as loud as Abbas in his protest against any Israeli annexation move, obviously worried that such a move could set the West Bank on fire – and that those flames could easily spread to the east bank of the Jordan and burn him as well. Which is why the king, as he warns Israel against annexation moves, would be wise in also warning Abbas that ending security cooperation is not the way to oppose such moves. Regardless of whether or not Israel annexes any of the territory, another round of violence on the West Bank will not do anybody any good. It won’t deter Israel – which if it decides to annex, will be doing so while being well aware that the move could lead to violence. It won’t help the Palestinian Authority, which could be overtaken by Hamas as a result of the violence. And it could further shake Abdullah’s regime, already under intense pressure from the Islamists within, from Iran via Iraq to its east, and from the influx of Syrian refugees to the north.

The Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation benefits all. To scupper it would be folly.

Editorial, JPO, 20.05.20

Annexation of the West Bank

(…) an unilateral path of annexing (…) is since long the final nail in the coffin for a two-state solution. (…) In reality – not much will change on the ground. Jericho will be surrounded along with some other Bantustans, except that life will go on as normal. (…) There will be some unrest, some minor war perhaps. That’s stuff Israel will handle as usual – with or without Fatah’s withdrawal from all security cooperation agreements. Cynical – absolutely, but this is the world we chose live in. A democratic world for the privileged where Benny Gantz abandoned his votes and gave them to Netanyahu. (…) Will the less privileged people living in the West Bank receive any civil rights, freedom of travel or even Israeli citizenship? (…) the goal is to annex land, not people. (…) There is already a ~20% Arab minority in Israel who are pursuing complete equality across the spectrum. (…) What will the international fallout look like? (…) Israel might not care much about the EU, yet it wants to portray itself as a European country in many aspects. (…) Second of all, the ties between Israel and the Sunni Arab world will probably end as we know it. Jordan has threatened to cancel the peace agreement from 1994 – that might hurt Jordan the most, but Israel still won’t allow extremists rule Jordan. (…) Egypt has been fairly silent on the issue – the military dictatorship there has internal issues to sort out. Hezbollah will probably go bananas and it’s not unlikely Israel has to deal with them. (…) the UN security council will veto anything against Israel with the help of the US. Yet fewer countries will vote in favor of Israel, thus erasing the political push Israeli diplomats has made on basically every continent during the last decade. Go ahead, annex. Nothing will change immediately. The fallout however might be greater than expected.

Jonas Amir Kadah, TOI, 20.05.20

3. Fear of Second Corona Wave

Israel uses coronavirus fears to spying on its citizens. We can’t let that happen

(…) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is determined not to abandon the special methods (…), whose use was justified in the unique circumstances that prevailed with the outbreak of the pandemic. The (…) Prime Minister’s Office disseminated a draft bill that would allow the Shin Bet security service to use its sophisticated tools, designed to gather intelligence about terror activities in the territories, to keep track of data concerning the location and movement of coronavirus patients, activities that until now were carried out by dint of an emergency order. This initiative justifies the fears that have been aroused following the lifting of restraints when it comes to the surveillance of citizens. (…) The threat of a second wave of the coronavirus, along with epidemiological opinions, serves as a perfect excuse for the legislation, which would constitute an undermining of privacy and give the government a free hand to keep track of its citizens. (…) If the law is passed, it would grant the government unlimited freedom to instruct the Shin Bet to keep track of citizens whenever it sees fit. The danger of misuse of the law and its expansion for other purposes is a concrete one. (…) Under cover of the public fear of the spread of the pandemic and the fear that there will be additional waves, the government wants to enlarge its tool box and expand its freedom of action. We must not cooperate with that. It represents an upsetting of the balance between the power of the regime and citizens’ rights. The Shin Bet is a spy agency, and we must prevent its activity from creeping beyond the realm of security. (…)

Editorial, HAA, 21.05.20

Israel brought a second coronavirus wave upon itself

To all those who absolved themselves of any shared public responsibility, don’t expect anyone to take responsibility for you once the second wave of the coronavirus hits the country. (…) To the young people who constantly complain about the collapse of your dreams and the health-economic reality that forced you to back to your parents’ home, yet still go out to parties despite regulations: it was you who decided to not give a damn about the public health, do not turn to that same public seeking solace. (…) To the state officials: it was you who were too cheap to finance a worthwhile public service campaign to educate the public how to protect themselves against the coronavirus – all we had were a few short video clips. (…) To the masses of Israelis whose desire for nature, picnics and barbecues pushed decision-makers to allow parks, reserves and beaches to be opened: not two days have gone by and the hordes have already descended on every available green spot, ignoring crowd limits set by the state. (…) During the second wave, don’t expect those suckers to identify with your plight. To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was so eager to put on the “end of coronavirus” show despite the warnings of a second wave spilling out of your own mouth: do not come again with demands “to the beloved people of Israel.” Why on earth were you celebrating? And why are you warning of a second wave when your actions do not match your words? No vital budgets were transferred to the country’s health system; no new inspectors were recruited; no nationwide system for speedy coronavirus testing has been implemented. For the sake of their own credibility, Israel’s leaders need to act and not just preach.

Sever Plocker, YED, 31.05.20

Every Israeli is a soldier in the war on coronavirus

(…) The latest outbreak, seen mainly throughout the country’s educational institutions, is of no surprise. (…) the ministry failed in its professional duty and approved a populist exemption from masks during the recent heat wave in Israel – as if the virus would halt its activity because our children were hot. (…) just like during the first wave, the State of Israel was caught with its pants down. But unlike the first encounter with the virus, which came as some surprise, this time there is no excuse. History shows that epidemics come in waves, and another wave of infection has never been a matter of if, but when. In spite of this, preparations for the second wave of the coronavirus have not yet been completed. This includes, first and foremost, the development of an efficient and rapid system for identifying and isolating potential patients. (…) The current rise in infections is mostly the doing of we the people. Despite long weeks of intense publicity about the importance of social distancing measures – such as wearing a mask and maintaining personal hygiene – in curbing the epidemic, many people simply chose to disregard the rules. With this arrogant and disrespectful disregard for these simple and critical guidelines, anyone who ignored these regulations sentenced the old and the sick among us to another brutal house arrest. Now is the time to stop for a moment, on all levels, and think about how we choose to manage the coming period. Under threat of the virus, you can’t have your cake and eat it, i.e. open the economy and disregard regulations. (…) We cannot send kids to school in masks and protective gear and stop them from sweating. (…) We are in this together – we are one army, with no exemptions.

Sarit Rosenblum, YED, 31.05.20

The second corona wave has yet to come

(…) France, Spain, Italy, and other countries are taking careful, highly scrupulous steps to ease the lockdown. Thanks to the disease’s lesser impact, Israel has had the privilege of acting otherwise. In light of the rapid, exponential decrease in the number of cases, it swiftly (…) began to lift restrictions (…). One of the recent decisions taken as part of these steps – reopening the education system – is almost unparalleled in other countries struck by the disease. We thus have no point of comparison or way of knowing whether the number of cases can be contained in crowded classes of over 30 pupils, in “real life” conditions wherein masks are not consistently worn. (…) The decision to reopen schools was a calculated risk, assuming we should implement a trial-and-error strategy. Errors are permissible, and risks should indeed be taken, as long as we have a broad and significant “safety margin” between the present rate of infection and one that threatens the health system with overload. (…) Mass outbreaks are not extraordinary with coronavirus. (…) The evidence shows that with coronavirus, any large gathering is like a barrel of gunpowder waiting for a match. We’ve been lucky so far, but at some point a super-spreader with no mask will enter a crowd, setting off an outbreak that will force us to implement social distancing restrictions more stringent than we would like. Such events can be easily prevented: everyone should take personal responsibility, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, and staying at home when feeling any suspicious symptom, especially a fever, coughing, or impaired smell or taste – a typical sign of coronavirus. (…) a combination of a national effort to break chains of infection and the assumption of minimal personal responsibility for reasonable behavior will allow Israel to get back to normal without disturbances or delay. (…) success is entirely in our hands.

Ran Balicer, IHY, 31.05.20

4. Selection of Articles

Biblical Feminist

How can we use the biblical Ruth to empower young women?

The biblical Ruth, about whom we read on Shavuot, can serve as a prototype for female agency. Ruth is the queen of agency. She conducts her life from a position of freedom, deliberately makes her plans, and doesn’t let anyone block her way. (…) Throughout the entire story, Ruth demonstrates resourcefulness, initiative and agency. She has fulfilled her dream, become a mother, and performed her mission with amazing spiritual powers. Although she seems to be obeying her mother-in-law, she plans her steps carefully, structuring them to match the exact way she wants the scenario to develop, always in absolute control of events. Ruth is known as the founding mother of the kingdom of the Jewish people. She’s also the founder of Jewish female agency. She’s opinionated, target-focused, and achieves her goals. She is a feminist role model with unusual self-awareness. (…) The foundations of Ruth’s story and the impressive way she functions can help construct an intervention program for young women’s agency. Generally speaking, women are not born with agency but have to learn how to gain it. Several factors are needed for agency: socialization, defining role-models, and practical instructions on how to implement change.

Zehavit Gross, JPO, 26.05.20

HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes

Published: June, 2020.

Responsible: Dr. Paul Pasch, Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel
Editors: Susanne Knaul, Judith Stelmach

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