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WOLFE'S WORDSFebruary 14, 2008
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What Would the Iron Lady* have said?
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
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*Golda Meir (1898-1978) was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The first stand-alone issue of Ms. Magazine appeared in January of 1972. During its heyday in the 1970s, it enjoyed great popularity.

Ms. "zhurnal" made history when it published the names of women admitting to having had abortions when the procedure was still illegal in most of the U. S. The "We Had Abortions" petition appeared in the Oct. 2006 issue; the petition contained signatures of over 5,000 women declaring that they had an abortion and were "unashamed" of (the) decision. Some of the women mentioned were Amy Brenneman, Kathy Nijimy, Carol Leifer, and Gloria Steinem, herself.

Ms. broke several landmark stories on topics including a 1976 cover on battered women. This made Ms. the first national magazine to address the issue of domestic violence. (The cover "fotografye" featured a woman with a bruised face.)

This magazine also broke stories on topics which included overseas sweatshops, sex trafficking, the wage gap, and the glass ceiling.

F-a-s-t f-o-r-w-a-r-d to Jan. 10, 2008.

The American Jewish Congress released an official statement critical of Ms. Magazine's refusal to accept from them a full-page ad honoring "dray" (3) prominent Israeli women:

Dorit Beinische
Tzipi Livni
Dalia Itzik

Imagine, a feminist monthly founded by Jewish, Gloria Steinem, which won't accept an ad that celebrates the position of women in "di regirung" (the government). It's "a shandeh un a charpeh" (shame and disgrace). "Es iz nit geshtoygn un nit gefloygn." (It just doesn't make sense.) The ad featured a photo of the women with the following text:

"This is Israel."

The associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Kenneth Jacobson, said, "Here's a magazine devoted both to free expression and to women's rights, and an ad is submitted to it which represents free expressions and women's rights...and the response to it, apparently, is that it's too controversial."

Jay Lefkowitz (WSJ, 1/25/08) writes, "Evidently, the magazine's editors just didn't like the message of the Jewish organization's ad, which is that Israel offers women far more opportunities, especially in public life, than its neighbors in the Middle East." He reminds his readers that "Israel was led by a female prime minister more than 30 years ago, while in some Muslim nations women are still not permitted to vote, drive cars or even appear with their husbands in public, and many are subjected to genital mutilation, honor killings, and execution if they are victims of rape."

So, who are these three women?

Foreign Minister, Tsipi Livni

Born in Tel Aviv in 1958, Livni is the second woman in Israel to hold the post of foreign minister after Golda Meir. In 2007, she was included in the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Livni met with Condoleeza Rice in Nov. of 2007. She said, "There are differences of opinion over the road map. We must reach a basic understanding that the creation of a Palestinian state should occur only after Israel's security is established." In her meeting with Rice, Livni emphasized that her country would not relinquish its demand that the internationally brokered "road map" plan be implemented, despite the Palestinian suggestion to advance talks independently from it.

On March 28, 2006, Livni stated, "Somebody who is fighting against Israeli soldiers is an enemy and we will fight back, but I believe that this is not under the definition of terrorism, if the target is a soldier." Livni spoke of the "thousands of years" of history tying "my ancestors" to Israel and her personal belief to the Jewish people's right to the land - "now it is time to talk of another right - the right of our children to live in peace."

Supreme Court President, Dorit Beinish

Beinish served in the Israeli Defense Force, where she reached the rank of lieutenant and was admitted to the Israeli Bar in 1967. Standing out among her opinions as a Supreme Court Justice, is a decision holding that parents cannot use corporal punishment and other decisions stressing the importance of women's and children's rights.

Dorit--in a majority decision--stated that "The child is not his parents' even if the parent honestly believes that he is implementing his obligation and right to educate his child. The child depends on his parent, needs his love, his protection and his soft touch. Using punishment that causes pain and degradation violates his rights as a human. It violates his body, his feelings, his dignity and his normal course of development."

Dalia Itzik - Speaker of the Knesset

When Dalia Itzik addressed Holocaust survivors, honored guests, and citizens of Israel on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, April 15, 2007, this is what she had to say:

"It [the Holocaust] happened to millions, millions of real people, Jews like me, like you, like us. In the Holocaust we learned that human evil can be institutionalized, wrote the late Judge Chain Cohen. The vast majority of the persecutions against the Jews were carried out officially, according to laws, regulations, orders or commands. The testimonies and biographies open a window onto a vibrant, rich and varied Jewish world that was and is no more. People who lived normal, busy lives, went to work and to school, raised families, people who loved and hated, prayed and dreamed, enthused and despaired, just like us.

All of us, all the people of the world have to tread carefully and to remember: the Holocaust was caused by human beings. The Holocaust is not a stain on German history, and it's not just a stain on the history of the nations of Europe. The Holocaust is a mark of Cain on humanity as a whole....

To you, Holocaust survivors, who bear the scars on your bodies and hearts, I wish to say that we bow our heads before you in humility. You who live in the shadow of memory every day of your lives; you, our brethren, are worthy of a life of dignity in the State of Israel. Israeli society and the governments of Israel must ensure this. It is our moral duty that you be able to live a dignified life here."

Katherine Spillar, executive editor, it doesn't take a Talmudic scholar to know that you made a mistake. These three women deserve a one-page spread in your magazine. Look at the achievements of these extraordinary women! Do an about-face; admit that you were wrong!
It's not too late.

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of a new book titled, "Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers." To order:
Marjorie Wolfe
19 Market Dr.
Syosset, NY 11791
$13 (plus $3.50 postage/handling, USA)
$17 (outside of the U.S.)


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