Women Barred From Speaking At Gynecological Conference in Israel Due Pressure From Orthodox Jewish Groups

A conference on “Innovations in Gynecology/Obstetrics and Halacha [Jewish law]” will be held this week to discuss such things as “how to choose a suitable contraceptive pill” but women will be barred as speakers. Bowing to ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders in Israel, the Puah Institute has barred female speakers and ordered that women are to be segregated in female-only areas. With the ongoing protests over the mistreatment of women and girls by Orthodox Jews in some areas, the conference only magnifies the tensions in the country.

Despite objections from various groups and the decision of some doctors to decline to speak, the Puah Institute has remained firm in its discriminatory treatment.

The United Torah Judaism party was given the position of Deputy Health Minister because it cannot formally join the coalition of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, due to its religious objections to accepting the concept of a Zionist state. Netanyahu is technically the minister to allow the ultra-Orthodox to control the health ministry.

Again, Israel faces these difficulties due to a lack of separation of temple and state, in my view. These religious parties have inflated importance due to the constitutional system where coalitions control governments. The result is not just political instability but investing extreme groups with unwarranted power.

Source: Globe and Mail

71 thoughts on “Women Barred From Speaking At Gynecological Conference in Israel Due Pressure From Orthodox Jewish Groups”

  1. Blouise, your comment was like a light coming on in my head.

    I did exactly the same thing five years ago when she had her stroke, then again when she fell and broke all those ribs. The hardest part was keeping it together for her when I knew she was not likely to ever leave the hospital. We have to put on a good front when it is needed.

  2. Time to pull the plug on Israel. They have proved that they are as bad as all of the neighboring countries they condemn. Sadly, Israel’s primary targets were Arab socialist countries, not the Islamic fundamentalist nightmare countries.
    For the past 30 years it has been the ultraorthodox parties that have driven that country’s politics while it was underwritten by US taxpayers. No tears will be shed when the medieval Zionist state is finally snuffed out.

  3. anon nurse,

    Thank you, my dear. The viruses floating around out there are particularly strong this year.

  4. Blouise,

    You and Tex are in my thoughts. I’m glad that “all is well”, for now.

  5. raff,

    I have a fairly good understanding of Islam and the bastardization of that faith by the fundies. I have a very good understanding of Christianity and the heresy of the fundies. I do not have a passable understanding of Orthodox Jewry and thus am relying totally on Mike S.’ take on the matter.

    I am, however, reading as much material as I can get my hands on in order to come to a better understanding.

  6. “She must have been scared to death inside but would not have let me know.” (OS)

    Yes, as you would listen to her and calm yourself, Tex relies on me. My own fears remain hidden. I well understand the benefit of support groups for those who must deal on a daily basis with serious health issue in a loved one.

    1. I present the following link with pride as an example of what the overwhelming majority of Jews everywhere are up against, dealing with these Ultra Orthodox among us. Christians, Muslims and Hindus face the same problem, of people overwhelmed by the complexities of modern life, who shelter their minds through unintended misogyny. I say “unintended” because these cultists don’t have a clue that what they do is misogynistic and in a way that is the most frightening aspect of all.


  7. Carol,

    Do you believe that bigotry, racism, and sexism should be tolerated as long as they are supported by religious tradition? What about bigotry, racism, and sexism that aren’t supported by religious tradition? Many Christians have discriminated against Jews. Would that be okay with you if their Protestant churches condoned it?

  8. Freedom of religion and unrestricted free exercise is the most fundamental of all rights. When we start whittling away at freedoms because the other’s ideas are repugnant to us, we eventually become a country that legalizes the indefinite detention of its own citizens based on accusations, because we have little by little lost all our freedoms. Ooops.

  9. I’m moving to the Holy Land. Do they also not speak until spoken too? Walk a few paces behind their husbands? Wow, better come to New York and straighten things out.

  10. Blouise, you have my fullest degree of empathy. I had to go to the hospital once with angina and ended up with a balloon angioplasty. I know about the breathing thing and it is scary. Fortunately, my wife was a former critical care RN and was very laid back about the whole thing, which helped a lot. She must have been scared to death inside but would not have let me know. After she retired, when those “flashing red lights” would go by, she would get misty-eyed because she missed her work so much.

    Thanks for letting us know. Glad Tex is feeling better.

  11. Mike S.,

    Thanks … lotta calls it “flashing red lights” referring to the ambulance.

    The heart is part of his problem and often my job is to calm him and assuage the panic that rises within him as he struggles to breathe.

  12. Blouise,
    I’m glad Tex is better, my regards to you both and empathy knowing the scariness of hospitals, first hand.

  13. OS,

    It’s late and I spent the evening with Tex in the hospital (all is now well) so my brain is a little addled … that first sentence in my last post could have been better worded.

  14. OS,

    Truth, but that’s like asking a Mormon to give up his/her belief in the magic seer stones that Joseph Smith used in coming eventually to the golden tablets. When one is raised on this stuff, overcoming the indoctrination is almost impossible. (The Mormons have only been around for 180 or so years while Orthodox Jewery …. you get my drift)

    The Puah Institute seems to have enjoyed some limited success by working from within. But it is slow going as one can see from this conference.

  15. Blouise, seems to me the easiest way out of the thicket of their own making is to allow women to be equal citizens and then the problem would go away.

    As long as women are treated with the total disrespect these male dominated religions engage in, there is only one word for them, bigots.

  16. Carol Osterman,

    I took your words to heart and did some research for myself on Puah Institute and provide this link, though I read much more than just this one page in attempting to understand the press release you provided the link to.


    I understand the point you are trying to make and the difficulties the Puah Institute have sought to address since their founding. They have certainly been of great benefit to the women within the Orthodox community.

    I also believe that these women need all the help they can get.

  17. Mike S.,

    My apologies … the subject in question is bookmarked under anon nurse but it could have been her referring to Dred (I organize my bookmarks under the name of the person who suggested them so I may address the individual if I have a question about the link).

    However …” I hope you decide to go ahead with a blog article about it” (anon nurse) is a remark I second as I would greatly appreciate your insights and experience applied to this matter.

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