Zulat Executive Director Einat Ovadia at Knesset Parley: “Equality Is the First Principle Envisioned in the Declaration of Independence But Is Not Reflected in Legislation”

On 15 February 2023, Zulat Executive Director Einat Ovadia was invited to a special parley in the Knesset initiated by MK Efrat Rayten (Labor Party) and MK Orna Barbivay (Yesh Atid): The Declaration of Independence as a Unifying Vision – Is It? Participants discussed various aspects of the Declaration of Independence in light of the regime revolution unrestrainedly advanced by the current coalition. Following are Zulat Executive Director’s remarks:

“For more than a decade, our organizations have felt under attack for statements that in our view are legitimate and uphold equality and human rights. Dark clouds are gathering over our heads. Extreme right-wing forces currently in power have put a knife to our throat and told us: ‘This is the reform, this is the basis, and you must give up your principles in order to avert a civil war.’

“They are here to destroy the principles laid down by past generations 75 years ago. We all have basic rights unrelated to gender, origin, or sexual orientation. Those who see here a mere disagreement about equality are simply emasculating the idea. To say that the principles of the Declaration of Independence are irrelevant is to create a vacuum. We do not have a human rights charter or a constitution, and the Declaration of Independence essentially is a legal document from which legal interpretations are extracted for how our lives should look. We still do not have a Basic Law: Equality. Equality is the first principle envisioned in the Declaration of Independence but is not reflected in legislation.

“They are here to change world orders and to violate basic rights. Israel’s Palestinian citizens have enjoyed no equality for over 75 years. Laws passed by the Knesset are not reviewed for possible harm to equality, but only for being economic or not. They are not reviewed for, say, gender equality, which is why car safety standards are based on the average height of a man.

“Those currently in power have built their political might for over 15 years and are now implementing their most extreme and delusional ideas about the elimination of the separation of powers and the destruction of basic principles concerning the protection of human rights by means of a politically-motivated reform. They lash out at anyone who says that rights are needed for LGBTQ, women, and Palestinians, and that refugees should not be imprisoned and deprived of their freedom of movement before their situation is reviewed.”

Watch (Hebrew, no subtitles):


צילום מסך 2023-02-24 215823


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.