“There are a vast number of different population sectors who have representation in the Knesset, Arabs, Jews, Sephardim, Ashkenazim, haredim and so on. But haredi women have no representation at all. There are male haredi representatives but they do not address the needs and concerns of haredi women."
Above: Ruth Colian
The chairwoman of new all female haredi B’Zhutan Party, Ruth Colian, said today that haredi women are in a position of ‘slavery,’ Arutz Sheva reported.
“There are a vast number of different population sectors who have representation in the Knesset, Arabs, Jews, Sephardim, Ashkenazim, haredim and so on. But haredi women have no representation at all. There are male haredi representatives but they do not address the needs and concerns of haredi women,” Colian noted.
Like their haredi counterparts, the right-wing Zionist Orthodox rabbis who control Arutz Sheva generally oppose women serving in positions of communal leadership – including as Members of Knesset.
It is unclear from the Arutz Sheva report whether Colian actually used the world “slavery.”
Update 4:16 pm CST – The Jerusalem Post has a much more complete report, and it appears Arutz Sheva basically excerpted a small part of it without crediting the Post.
What Colian actually said was, "…Well we are slaves, we are invisible…"
In the Post's report, Colian (whose name is spelled "Kolian," just like in Arutz Sheva) also says this:
…Kolian noted that the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women had held a hearing in November to discuss worrying findings about women’s health in the haredi sector, including a thirty percent higher rate of breast cancer mortality and that haredi women have one of the lowest levels of life expectancy in the country.
“Not one of the haredi MKs showed up to the hearing,” said Kolian. “Haredi women are ranked eighth in Israel for life expectancy, while haredi men are ranked second. This is an unbelievable gap,” she continued.
“The burden and division of labor within a haredi family is completely lop-sided. Women have to bring in an income to support the family financially, take care of the children, cook, and perform other family requirements. Some men are now working but many still go to study all day and this burden on women has a toll.”
Kolian also said that the social stigmatism attached to being a divorced, single woman in haredi society was so intense that many haredi women would not even contemplate filing for divorce from an unpleasant marriage or an abusive husband unless they were in a life-threatening situation.
“Single divorced women are seen as shameful in the haredi community, they are seen as being failures, as not being good enough, and so many choose to suffer in silence,” she said.
“Politicians are talking today about the weaker sectors of society and the invisible people. Well we are slaves, we are invisible, we are the weaker sector. Haredi women are a group of people together and we need to gain Knesset representation as a people and take care of ourselves by ourselves.”…
Colian also says that her new party hopes to represent (and get the votes of) haredi men who left yeshiva and joined the workforce and addresses claims from haredim who use the No True Scotsman Fallacy to try to prove that she really isn't haredi – a claim Colian rejects.