Israeli Women to Foreign Minister: We Want Affirmative Action in Ministry Appointments

Affirmative Action in Foreign Ministry Appointment


Ma’ariv: April 26, 2004

By Eeleel Shachar

The Israel Defense Forces is not the only establishment that prefers males in key positions, at least not according to the Israel Women’s Network (IWN). The Network protested to Foreign Minster Silvan Shalom that only 10 out of 72 heads of foreign delegations are women, and demanded that women receive more appropriate representation when appointments are made for heads of Israeli delegations around the world.

The Network claims that during the last few months the Appointments Committee of the Foreign Ministry designated six new foreign delegates, among them journalist Boaz Bismut and advertising agent David Agmon, but only one woman.

The Israel Women’s Network emphasized that according to the Women’s Equal Rights Law and the Government Service Law, the Foreign Minister is obligated to be proactive in insuring that women are appropriately represented in all positions and levels of public service.

The Network demanded of the Foreign Minister that he require the Appointments Committees to give women fair representation in their appointments, including taking affirmative action whenever a woman is to be found among the most suitable candidates for any given position.

Only One Ambassador

The Appointments Committee of the Foreign Ministry is currently convening to fill positions for 18 heads of Israeli delegations around the world. Information the IWN has garnered indicates that among the 25 Foreign Ministry employees at the level of ambassador, the most senior diplomatic position, there is only one woman. These statistics are particularly significant since the number of women admitted to Foreign Ministry diplomatic cadet training programs is similar to that of men.

In October 2003 Advocate Rivka Shaked released a report by the Civil Service Commission stating that the percentage of women applying for internal job tenders in the Foreign Ministry is higher than the percentage of men.

“In a system in which men and women begin their careers on equal footing, it is untenable that only one woman be found at the level of ambassador, and it is curious that no other women candidates were found suitable for these appointments”, said Advocate Ella Gerra, Director of the Israel Women’s Network. “I call upon the Foreign Minister personally to take immediate steps to redress this historic, and ongoing, unjust tradition of making male-only appointments within Israel’s Foreign Service.”

6th December 2004


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