Meir (1898-1978) was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years
before the epithet became associated with British Prime Minister, Margaret
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,
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
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:
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
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:
19 Market Dr.
Syosset, NY 11791
$13 (plus $3.50 postage/handling, USA)
$17 (outside of the U.S.)