23-5

Feeling excluded by the male dominated Haredi political parties, Ruth Colian will represent ultra-orthodox jewish women in the upcoming elections as the head of Bezchutan party.

In an election scheduled for March 17, Ruth Colian will become Israel’s first woman to run on the ultra-Orthodox Haredi party list.  Colian, who is 33-years-old, has a loose previous affiliation with the Shas party, where she had hoped to run in the 2013 municipal elections.  However, after she was denied the opportunity to do so, she filed a petition with Israel’s High Court to deny funding to any political party that practiced sex-based discrimination. Her petition was not successful.

The party Colian will be representing in the upcoming election, “Bezchutan,” has been described in a word as “trailblazing.”  It is a party meant to give a voice to ultra-orthodox Haredi women, who have been “pushed aside…since they are women,” says Colian.  The party was established to protest the male domination of Haredi political parties.  Both of the main Haredi parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas, are exclusively male and do not offer any sort of voice for Haredi women.  Colian, speaking to the press, expressed her inability to continue being politically silent and her desire to “stop watching from the sidelines.”

A campaign has already been underway among Haredi women to boycott the upcoming elections if there are no female candidates allowed on the candidate lists of the ultra-orthodox political parties. The Bezchutan party is not a part of the “No Representation, No Vote” campaign, and the activists involved with that campaign have stated they would continue pressing the exclusively-male main Haredi parties to add female candidates.  However, according to a report by Israel Radio, the leader of the Bezchutan party has stated that the party willdrop their candidates if females are allowed to be listed on the main party rolls.

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