International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2017 – Jerusalem

November 24, 2017 Agencies
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President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin in partnership with the Ministry of Social Equality, hosted an event at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

President Rivlin and certificate recipients Photo: Mark Neiman

At the event, President Rivlin and Minister of Social Equality, Gila Gamliel, presented certificates of appreciation to organisations and individuals in recognition of their work on behalf of women who had suffered from violence. The recipients included, Alex Levine, the founder of the Committee Against Sexual Violence and Trafficking, the Ta’ir Rape Crisis Center, and Debbie Gross, founder and director of Tahel.

“The ‘Me Too’ campaign, such an important campaign, broke down walls of silence and created awareness,” began the President in his address. “Most of the responses were supportive, those who shared in it, who understood, who joined the important struggle. But there were other echoes, accusing, denying, silencing and stifling. In the most part, these were claims that the campaign included all men, there is no greater mistake. I believe there is not a ‘zero-sum game’ between women and men. I believe that violence against women harms all of us, also men. It harms us as a society. And all of us must work to prevent it, to fight against it, to expose it, and overcome it – yes, overcome this violence. Yes, even in unpleasant and impolite ways. Most violence against women comes from men. And so we must be partners in fighting against it. There are not two sides of the equation. We must all, all of us, men and women together, be part of this struggle. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, is not a day of female empowerment, or a day that only relates to women. It is a day that deals with righting a wrong in society. A righting that must come from across society, in all its diversity and communities. A reform that will begin with proper education for boys and girls, and will be expressed in legislation and security, in the economy, and in the media, in politics and culture. In the conference rooms and in the coffee shops, in the private and in public spaces.”

At the end of the speech, the President referred to the video exhibit entitled “No More”, on display at the entrance to the President’s Residence, part of an exhibition by artist Keren Yehezkeli Goldstein, which shows the clothing and names of 11 women who were murdered by those close to them. The President said, “This house has known difficult days when it comes to the issue of violence against women. This is the reason why this exhibit is on display specifically here. Because Israeli society and the President’s Office at its head, must act to once and for all eradicate this appalling phenomenon. We must act with all our might, if not for ourselves, then for our children and grandchildren.”

In her address, Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel, said, “On this day, we say clearly – no more. A woman’s body is not free property. We are at the beginning of a new era, in which we will define our moral boundaries as a society. The promotion of a national program for the prevention of sexual harassment, and the reexamination of the period of the statute of limitations for sexual offenses, is a process that will lead to a change in Israeli society. The rule is simple, zero tolerance for harassment and sexual harassment.”

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