Chareidi Women Form Political Party for Next Week’s Election


knessetIsrael’s first political party made by chareidi Jewish women is running a novel campaign for parliament: no media ads or endorsements by rabbinical authorities, just word-of-mouth suggestions.

But the fact that chareidi women are running at all is news.

“Considering that these women are coming from a world where they have been prohibited from holding public office, the new chareidi feminist movement is radical and revolutionary,” said Elana Sztokman, an Israeli feminist. “It’s creating a buzz both within and outside the community.”

Recent polls show the new party probably won’t get enough votes in the March 17 election to win a seat in the Knesset. But that’s not stopping the candidates from running on the ticket called Bezchutan: Chareidi Women Making Change.

“In theory a chareidi woman votes according to what her husband tells her, which is based on what the rabbi tells him,” said Ruth Colian, 34, a chareidi new to politics who founded the party in January. “But we know that in the voting booth that decision is between the woman and God.”

Colian said she founded the party “because there is no one in the Knesset representing us.”

Only one chareidi woman has served in the Knesset, as a member of the left-wing Meretz Party. In 2013 Racheli Ibenboim, a chareidi woman, said she withdrew her candidacy for the Yerushalayim City Council after she and her family received threats.

Colian, a married mother of four, acknowledged receiving threats. “People have threatened me, harassed me by phone. They have called me [names] for daring to run for office.”

Yitzchok Bezalel, spokesman for the Shas Party, said, “The chareidi public is not yet open to women serving in the Knesset. But we do have accomplished women on our women’s advisory committee.”

{ Israel}


  1. The Torah says that a woman may not hold office, Rav Moshe Feinstein says they may not even be a mashgiach in a factory (unless there is no one qualified, which is unlikely in the Knesset Chareidi parties. Theoretically it could happen in a Chiloni party, as according to Rav Moshe women are preferable to people that are not Shomrei mitzva). All these people are doing is further weakening the Torah vote, by siphoning off votes into the abyss.

  2. The last I checked Tzipi Hatolvney is a frum member of knesset.These women seem to be sell serving and do not help the chareidi tzibur as a whole by taking away votes from larger chareidi parties.

  3. Rav Chaim Kanievsky has already issued a psak that these women are prohibited from running, and it is assur to vote for them.

  4. How about Devorah who sat under a tree and judged Klal Yisroel. We are becoming more and more fanatic as the years goes on, we will soon be covering woman’s faces. These days it is not yidishkeit but krumkeit.

  5. “The Torah says that a woman may not hold office”

    I have never found a verse in the Torah that says that. There have even been two female monarchs in Jewish history, both of whom were praised by Chazal.

    Most of the major kashrut organizations in America now employ mashgichot.

  6. I don’t recall that Reb Moshe says anything about being a member of a parliament. It’s legislative, not executive, and whatever authority they have is limited to the ability to vote.
    But they seem to be very upset about current politics in the Chareidi community, upset enough to risk so much to do this. If the chareidim don’t do well, their losses might awaken a need to take women and their needs more seriously.

  7. The scource for Rav Moshe Feinstein’s psak is in Igros Moshe chelek bais, siman mem dalled (2:44). Its a very long t’shuva.
    The Ramabam in hilchos melachim aleph, touches upon this issue too. Its not a simple matter.

  8. Gavriel – The Ran (Shevuos 13. dafei HaRif) explains that Devorah was a shoifetes who was not ‘appointed’ by klal yisroel it was not a position which had to be voted in, which he explains is the issur for a woman to hold such a position. The R` Moshe mentioned above is in Yoreh dea 4:26. R` Menashe Klein in his sefer (Mishneh haloches volume 7:254) writes clearly that it’s an issur of sherarah for a jewish woman to be voted in by yidden to a government position. LETS STOP GIVING OUR OPINIONS ON A SUBJECT MOST PEOPLE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT!!!

  9. To: Just saying…

    Just looked up the Ran, thanks. He says a woman can’t be a Dayan or a Shophet. He further says Devorah was a Manheges. An MK is not a judge.

    The Rambam (Melochim 1:5), who refers to all appointments, is more difficult to argue with.