- Palestinian women earn substantially less than Palestinian men
- Israeli defense minister meets with senior U.S. officials in DC
- In first, Arab Israeli leaders back national volunteer program
- Team Israel stuns baseball world’s best
“It is well known that male and female workers in Palestine are treated differently, especially in the private sector,” Fadwa al-Labadi, a professor of Women’s studies at Al-Quds University, told The Jerusalem Post. No law mandates that men and women receive comparable private sector starting salaries (unlike in the public sector).
“Private sector employers often value male employees more than female employees, because women take time off during pregnancies,” PA Women’s Affairs Minister Haifa al-Agha told the Post. “This is wrong and we need to make sure both sexes are judged by their merit, not by their sexual orientation. Women should be honored in the workplace and receive equal salaries in comparison to men.”
Women’s rights remain a pressing issue under Palestinian Authority and Hamas rule. Honor killings persist in the West Bank, and a survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics from 2011 showed that 35 percent of married women in Gaza had been exposed to physical violence by their husband within the past year, and that 40 percent of unmarried women had been physically abused by a household member.
According to a White House readout of the meeting, Pence emphasized the “unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to upholding Israel’s qualitative military edge.” The vice president also underscored “the need to counter threats posed by Iran and its proxies as well as terrorist organizations.”
While speaking with Mattis, Liberman stressed his concerns about Iran and about recent statements made by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, which legitimized Hezbollah’s armaments in Lebanon. “As long as the Lebanese army lacks sufficient power to face Israel, we feel the need for (Hezbollah's) arsenal because it complements the army's role,” Aoun said.
In his meeting with Tillerson, Liberman urged the U.S. to reconsider its support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Liberman told Tillerson that the “Human Rights Council deals with demonizing Israel and with efforts to harm it by distorting reality.”
The UNHRC has an agenda item specifically dedicated to Israel, as opposed to serial human rights violators such as Syria, North Korea, and Iran. According to a May 2016 analysis by UN Watch, “In the nine years of its existence [2006-2015], the UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel more times than the rest of the world combined.” UNRWA teachers regularly incite students to terrorism and anti-Semitism, including by praising Adolf Hitler.
The leader of the Arab Joint List faction, MK Ayman Odeh, and fellow Joint List lawmakers Masud Ganaim and Jamal Zahalka announced last week their support for a volunteer program for army-age youth, which would be administered by local governments in Arab towns, The Times of Israel reported.
The effort to promote volunteerism in Arab Israeli communities comes as Israel’s national service program is attracting more non-Jewish youth. Last summer, Israel reported a 650 percent increase in the number of Arab Israelis enrolling in its national service program in just six years.
National service volunteers get the same benefits as Israeli soldiers: a monthly stipend around NIS 800 ($209), free healthcare and use of public transportation, and a grant given at the end of their program that can be used for higher education or purchasing a home. The state will also cover a full year of university studies for participants who served for two years.
The program also has a special perk for Arabic speakers, offering them a free year-long university preparation course that comes with a monthly stipend of NIS 1,500-3,700 ($393-$969).
Arab volunteers are deliberately placed in positions near their homes, allowing them to serve their own communities while retaining their living arrangements. Jewish volunteers, on the other hand, can be assigned to positions across the country.