Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Politics & Power in Israel

From the News Observer:
"Women already lead the courts and the legislature. The most important and visible piece, the executive, could soon follow suit.

In the heart of the Middle East, the region where women experience some of the most oppressive restrictions in the world, Israel could soon have a woman, Tzipi Livni, as prime minister, alongside the current Supreme Court Chief Dorit Beinish and Speaker of the Parliament Dalia Itzik.

If you had asked political experts to predict where democracy might sweep women to power, Israel would not have figured near the top of the list. Despite legal equality, most levers of power have usually stayed in the hands of men. Prime Minister Golda Meir's tenure four decades ago was the major exception.

In a democracy with true equality, the fact that Livni is a woman would not be a factor, positive or negative, in her election. Feminist fantasies that women would rule the world differently than men cannot be proven in what is still a male-dominated globe, and previous cases have offered mixed evidence.

If Israel's government does end up having three branches led by women, it may not change the world, and will not guarantee good government. But it will mark an achievement for democracy and highlight how much potential other countries sacrifice when they exclude half of their population from the political system.

As for the Israeli women who have made it this far, all we can say is, You go, girls!"

Please read the full article by Frida Ghitis above.

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