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On a recent sunny September morning members of WIZO Australia executive were invited to meet Merav Michaeli, member of Knesset representing the Zionist Union Party.

Our meeting with Merav was an opportunity to learn about WIZO from an influential member of Knesset who has worked with our organisation. She stated that there is a vibrant discourse about improving the status of women in Israel and that WIZO is a prominent advocate for women at the Knesset.  Merav described how WIZO has transformed from a charity supporting social welfare to an effective feminist movement promoting the rights of women and those in need.

According to Merav, the high cost of living, childcare and housing are the major concerns of most Israeli families.  In 2016 when two WIZO daycare centres threated to close, Merav campaigned with WIZO for an increase in government funding to the early childhood sector. More recently together with WIZO Status of Women Committee, Merav prepared a bill calling for the establishment of specialised domestic violence courts and better protection for victims.

See link http://www.jpost.com/National-News/WIZO-submits-bill-for-the-establishment-of-domestic-violence-courts-in-Israel-332150

On a lighter note, we learnt about WIZO’s annual Mark of Shame awards given to the most sexist advertisements in Israeli media. The award is presented on International Women’s Day and is designed to draw attention to the inappropriate presentation of the female body in advertising and to raise awareness of the damage advertisements can cause to the status of women

Link to Jerusalem Post article http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/WIZO-bestows-its-Mark-of-Shame-award-to-Maelys-for-most-sexist-commercial-of-2016-483449

Merav’s warm personality and her knowledge of Israel’s needs and challenges helped bring Israel closer to us. When told of our fundraising successes Merav congratulated us for our dedication to Israel’s welfare.

Nina Richwol

WIZO Australia

Public Affairs

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