To the Back of the Bus: Regime Revolution Rolls Back Women’s Rights

>> Read the full position paper  

Immediately upon its establishment on 29 December 2022, Israel’s 37th Government began a process of accelerated legislation heralding a regime revolution that will fundamentally change the balance of power between the executive and the judiciary.

This position paper seeks to shine a spotlight on the numerous violations of women’s rights, based on an analysis of the legislation that is already being advanced as part of the plan to weaken the justice system, as well as additional legislative proposals presented by the coalition and resolutions passed by the government since its establishment.

Israeli women will be totally helpless if and when legislative proposals go through that trample on their basic rights to equality, family life, due process, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and the right to vote and be elected. The decline in women’s representation in the country’s decision-making and administrative centers will definitely lead to diminished consideration for the unique characteristics of women’s lives in Israel, to lesser representation of their interests in policy-making and legislation, to the violation of women’s rights, and to less efforts to promote gender equality in Israeli society.

  • The Construction and Housing Minister’s decision not to renew the law allowing public housing tenants to purchase their apartments at a discount totally ignores the damage this will cause to women given that in Israel, as in many countries, their proportion in the ranks of the poor is higher than their proportion in the general population.
  • There is good reason to fear that the change in gun licensing criteria will lead to a rise in the number of home-kept firearms, thereby increasing handgun homicides of women and significantly reducing the safety of victims of domestic violence.
  • Articles in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition agreements with the Religious Zionist Party and Shas show that the government has no intention of fighting gender violence; that women might be excluded from the public space, academia, and cultural events; that refusal to provide a service or product for religious reasons might be permited; that proprietors might be allowed to refuse to rent apartments to divorced women or single mothers; that the abolition of the ‘Directors Team’ set up in 2013 might downgrade the representation of women, their views and interests on SOE boards; and that empowerment of the rabbinical courts to discuss civil matters might expose women to different forms of built-in discrimination in religious law.

In view of the real risks discussed in this position paper and the speed with which the coalition factions seek to enact their plans, opposing the proposed legislation is an urgent need and a civic duty. This position paper joins the calls throughout Israeli society to stop the speeding train. This is an emergency!


Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.