Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in Israel. She is also the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women and men from around the world who strive to achieve the right of women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
After four rounds of elections and over three years of uncertainty, we are close to the establishment of an Israeli government. The potential unity government is made up of many disparate parties from across the ideological spectrum.
One year ago, we thought we had made history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government passed the Western Wall agreement, for the first time granting official recognition to non-Orthodox Jewish streams and women’s rights at Judaism’s holiest site.
Every day feels like women's day at the Israel Religious Action Center. Yes, this is because 20 of our 24 staff members are women and there seems to be a never-ending line to our bathroom. But mainly because the work we do is intrinsically linked to the status of women in Israel. IRAC's issues are women's issues.
The only organization in Israel that empowers Haredi and Reform Jews alike, we have changed the social fabric of Israeli society since last year's International Women's Day. What has happened to women's rights in these past 12 months? Let us take stock of some of these accomplishments.