Advocacy for Women’s Rights
Lobbying for the improvement of public policy for single parent families
The issue of single parents, divorced or separated, in the religious sector is a particularly sensitive one. The family unit is seen as a source of strength and stability, and those who do not belong to such a unit are often faced with social stigma and mistreatment on the part of government agencies and other legal systems. Whereas widows and orphans are welcomed by the community and benefit from many official policies, the divorced parent usually finds herself socially shunned, misunderstood, and lacking the tools to negotiate for her own well-being.
Em Habanim recognized the strong need to assist these mothers, and give them the tools to succeed in dealing with the higher ups in the most organized and beneficial manner. A group of capable and talented women have been trained to map out the existing problems, to present these issues to the authorities and try to find effective solutions. With the blessing of Rav Ganz, shlita, this group of mothers has set out to initiate policy changes in the Knesset, National Insurance Service (Bituach Leumi), and Amutat Yedid.
At present, the group is advocating, and making progress, for a change in the Alimony Law, a step which will save many of these families from sinking into poverty. The Alimony Law was set up to cover the cost of the child when the father fails to keep up with his alimony payments. However, if the mother is earning over 600 NIS monthly (a minimal amount), the difference is then deducted from the stipend. This policy has become an obstacle for many of the mothers, who must put herself through an intense and gruelling financial investigation in order to become eligible for this stipend, and then find that she really is not gaining much. A change in this law will encourage the mothers to seek employment and will benefit many families.
Other areas which are being dealt with are higher learning, vocational training, and empowerment for the entire family.
In addition, a central information base is being developed, to provide the single mother with useful information in relevant areas; government, community, educational. This useful guide will make it easier for her to navigate on her lone journey, and prevent unnecessary and painful mistakes along the way.
Over the years, Em Habanim has established connections with many government agencies and municipalities, which are beneficial for the future success of this program. The women have won the respect and support of various public groups and organizations which encourage policy change for the betterment of their situation, both socially and legally. The project is unique in that it is run by single parent mothers, who aim to improve the state of single mothers in all parts of Israel as well as for themselves.
It is our hope to promote legislation and advocate for the
improvement of women's rights in the religious sector in Israel