Gender equality and LGBT+ rights are core Jewish values for us, which is why we work with the Reform movement in Israel on these issues. Alongside our partners within the Zionist Institutions, we have ensured that the Zionist movement is constitutionally bound not to discriminate based on gender and sexual orientation just as is enshrined in Israeli anti-discrimination legislation.
Recognizing that there is often a wide gap between the legislative intentions and the real experiences of women and LGBTQ+ people, we support the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) in their work to legally challenge the physical separation between men and women in public settings, the removal of women’s images, the ban on women speaking at public events, and other practices that discriminate against women in the public domain. Within the National Institutions, in particular within the World Zionist Organization, Keren Kayemeth Leyisrael and the Jewish Agency, who are all big employers in Israel, we are working to eradicate the gender wage gap by encouraging the organizations to calculate and report on the current gender wage gap as well as ensuring that recruitment processes are optimized to reduce gender hiring biases.
The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) has been a key partner for the LGBTQ+ community in Israel. The current Director of IRAC, Rabbi Noah Sattath helped to organize the first Jerusalem Pride Parade in 2001 as a board member of the Jerusalem Open House. In 2018, she had the privilege of being one of the keynote speakers at the march stressing: “We must work to build an Israeli Judaism that celebrates gender and sexual diversity, and to be faithful partners to the LGBTQ+ community in the uncompromising struggle for equal rights. That is what it means to act Jewishly in our generation.” It was wonderful to see that also thanks to our continuing work of advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community within the Zionist movement, a rainbow flag was proudly flown off the headquarter of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization during the 2018 March.