Religion Magazine

Women Cannot Run for Knesset Because...

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Some people really do not want Haredi women in the Knesset...they keep finding, or inventing, reasons to explain why it cannot happen.
I heard a new argument this morning against Haredi women running for Knesset. At least, I think it is a new argument. I don't remember ever hearing it before.
On Radio Kol Brama they brought up the issue of Haredi women running for the Knesset. They spoke with Rav Mordechai Neugershal about the issue.
Rav Neugershal gave the new explanation as to why women cannot run for Knesset, before he went on to the normal arguments. Neugershal seemed to say that it is really just a practical matter that prevents women from running. He explained that women cannot run and it is different than leaving the house for employment purposes.
Rabbi Neugershal explained that when a woman holds a job, she has options. If her family should need her, she can always give up the money and go back home. She can quit. No harm, no foul. Her family needs her, and she can go back to them, if necessary.
However, when you run for public office, for a leadership position, to serve the public, you don't have that option. If your family needs you, you cannot just leave and go home.
I seem to remember MKs not being restricted in any such manner. Recently Aryeh Deri resigned from the Knesset, as did Ariel Attias a couple of years before him. Danny Yatom resigned from the Knesset, as did Haim Ramon. There is no shortage of MKs that have resigned from the Knesset, so should it be necessary, there is nothing preventing any female MK from resigning, the same as any male MK.
From the practical perspective, I am not sure why it is ok for a man to be locked in (even though I already showed that nobody is actually locked in), but not for a woman. Should a man also not run for Knesset just because perhaps one day something else, family or whatever, might require his full attention?
Furthermore, Rav Neugershal demeans working people with such a statement. He makes it sound as if working people have no responsibility or personal integrity. They can quit at any time if something else demands their attention. Only MKs cannot because they have an ultimate responsibility to the public. People work very hard in very difficult jobs. They work long hours, they work difficult and tiring and wearying jobs in order to be able to pay the bills - health, tuition, mortgage, food, leisure, and everything else. They deal with responsibility at their jobs, while also dealing with all their family issues. People can quit their jobs, just like MKs can quit their jobs, and they do when necessary, but they do not do so flippantly. Usually, most people do not abdicate their responsibilities at work so easily. Sometimes they must, and such a decision is almost always carefully considered. But yes, people at regular jobs have a lot of responsibility as well - to themselves, to their employers, to their families, to their coworkers, and to anyone else who relies on them,
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