Anat Hoffman (Limmud NZ 2011) on Israeli women’s rights

From JewishJournal.com: 

“Anat Hoffman, the progressive Israeli activist who made headlines two summers ago when she was arrested for carrying a Torah at the Western Wall,Anat Hoffman comes to California next week with a clear message for American Jews: What’s happening in Beit Shemesh is as big a threat to Israel as what’s happening in Tehran…

A native of Jerusalem, and a city councilwoman there for 14 years before becoming executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) — the Reform movement’s legal advocacy arm in the Jewish state — Hoffman, 57, has been fighting for decades to ensure that things like this don’t happen. Now, as the story of Naama Margolese reverberates throughout the Jewish world, Hoffman’s moment may have arrived.

For the first time, Hoffman said, issues of gender equality and religious pluralism are poised to figure heavily in the Israeli political debate. “I see this as a very important window of opportunity, because we are on the eve of an election,” she said.

Moreover, the Israeli populace is still fired up and feeling politically re-engaged by the protests of last summer, in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets and — setting a precedent for the American Occupy movement — erected tent encampments to protest economic and social inequalities.

“The question now,” Hoffman said, “is are we going to be put to sleep again and focus only on the security bit, or are we going to focus on the internal issues?”…

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