Israel’s Women’s Rights Lawyer in Australia

March 13, 2019 by Roz Tarszisz
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Israeli lawyer Orly Erez-Likhovski will be the 2019 distinguished UIA Progressive Appeal speaker in Melbourne and Sydney.

Orly Erez-Likhovski

As Director, Legal Department of the Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC) she has spent the last 14 years working for the rights of Israeli women and standing up for gender equity and fighting racism in Israel.

Erez-Likhovski has won cases in the Israel Supreme Court ending gender discrimination on public transport so that women no longer have to sit at the back of the bus. In 2018 she forced the Rishon LeTzion library to stop having separate hours for religious and secular Israelis.

She also led the Progressive Movement’s landmark victory in the Supreme Court which resulted in the court compelling the government to pay salaries to non-Orthodox Rabbis who function in regional councils.

J-Wire asked Erez-Likhovski a few questions ahead of her Australian engagements.

JW: As far as gender equality, what would you like to realistically achieve in the next five years, and the next decade?

E-L: We will continue to fight exclusion of women and gender segregation in the public sphere. We have had many legal victories in this regard, which conveyed the message that women should be treated equally and whoever discriminates against women would pay for it. We strive for a public sphere which is equal and respectable for all – men and women alike.

J-Wire: Do you come up against many instances of racism, against say descendants of the Ethiopian community?

E-L: A year and a half ago we opened a racism crisis centre, which is an address for people who have been discriminated against on the basis of their race. We received over 100 complaints and took some cases to the courts because, under Israeli law, everyone is entitled to equal treatment.

J-Wire: What do you regard as your most significant breakthrough in the fight against racism and for gender equity?

E-L: Gender equality – the Supreme Court decided gender segregation on buses is illegal – a decision which had implications in other areas as well. We also filed and won the first class action suit on the issue of women’s rights in Israel.

Racism – Causing the Attorney General to press charges against the leader of the racist and violent group Lehava.  Also, the current case where we are demanding the disqualification of the followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane from running in the upcoming elections.

Orly Erez-Likhovski can be heard at:

Melbourne – Temple Beth Israel, Thursday 14 March at 7.30pm

Sydney – Emanuel Synagogue, Monday 18 March 2019 at 7pm.

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