ONE AFTER ANOTHER, the women speak into the microphone to give their testimony before the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.
Their hair pulled back underneath hats and head scarves, elbows and knees covered, each one describes the embarrassment of being asked by mikveh attendants about the frequency and quality of their sex lives, whether they slept in the same bed as their husband, and about their menstrual cycles.
An older man with a long grey beard and dressed in ultra-Orthodox garb interrupts one woman to explain the halacha or Jewish law. But the woman sitting at the head of the oval table, dressed in a crisp, cap-sleeve shirtwaist dress, swiftly cuts him off.
“You will have your turn to speak,” she says, civilly but firmly, then turns back to the woman. “Please continue,” she says gently.
Afterward, the woman who was interrupted would tell me the chair is her “hero” and that “she really cares about me as a woman.” That woman is Aida Touma-Sliman, 53, a self-declared atheist from a Christian Arab family, who serves in the Knesset as a representative of the Communist bloc in what is known as the Joint (Arab) List.
FULL STORY No patience for patriarchy (Moment)