Leading Arab organizations are encouraging women to run for office in local authorities. The Organizations,led by the Mossawa Center, Women Against Violence, Alzahra from Sakhnin, Tashrin from Taybeh and the Association of Democratic Women. They are reaching out to Arab women and calling on them to put forth their candidates in local elections. The organizations are also reaching out to the different political parties and asking that at least one in every three candidates be female. These NGOs have contacted Arab media outlets and called on them to provide a broad platform for women candidates for local elections.
Only six Arab female council members served in local authorities last term. In 54 communities there are no female representatives and only three communities have had Arab women serving as members of a local council.
The NGOs plan to help women gain access to the media and get more public exposure. In addition they will organize events that will encourage the public to vote for women in elections. So far, dozens of Arab women have expressed a willingness to run in municipal elections and women's organizations have expressed their desire to support female candidates and help them run in the primary elections and then back them in the elections themselves.
In only one community, Kfar Yossef, has a woman previously served as the head of the Arab local council. According to the organizations� data no women have sought to run for head of a local council. Social activists said "the Palestinian Authority have better representation of women then Arab society in Israel. We must give rise to female leadership that can be a partner in making decisions at the local and national level.�
Arab NGOs are disappointed by the refusal of the government and the Knesset to pass legislation that would reserve places for women in elections. The bill that was filed was rejected by the Knesset, and NGOs are currently encouraging MKs to reserve places for women candidates in municipal elections.
The NGOs will organize a campaign for women candidates including posted ads, flyers to be distributed and meetings with heads of parties. Aida Touma Suliman, director of Women Against Violence said, "Unfortunately most of the local groups are not affiliated with a national political party and that makes it difficult for women to join. We hope that the number of women who will be elected will triple compared to previous elections.�
Attorney Hazar Alhadi, a member of the Tashrin board, is active in Taybeh, the largest city in the Triangle. She has expressed disappointment at the denial of the right to vote in municipal elections in Taybeh. Taybeh has a governmental committee in charge. The residents are demanding the right to hold elections. This demand was rejected by the Ministry of Interior. 19 Arab Local councils where dismissed by the ministry during the last term. However the organizations will approach women and parties in the Triangle area and call on them to integrate women in to elections.
This project is being implemented thanks to funding from the New Israel Fund
Link to a document published by the Knesset Information Center
Link to article on the subject published in Ynet
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340, L-4412789, 00.html (Hebrew)