The campaign to raise awareness for victims of sexual assault, in the wake of the widening allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, is also making waves in Israel.
Yedioth Ahronoth, the most widely read paid newspaper in Israel, joins the #MeToo campaign Wednesday in an effort to show the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and to ensure more men stand up against it.
By Wednesday, the hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times, and on Facebook, it was shared in more than 12 million posts, according to the company.
Those voices were joined by dozens of female Israeli lawmakers, artists and media personalities who shared their stories of sexual harassment in the workplace for the newspaper.
Singer Yardena Arazi recalls: “I was very young, and he was much older than me, important and influential. I immediately understood the price of saying no: a serious blow to my nascent career.”
Channel 10 journalist Ayala Hasson recalls “gross and disgusting memories” from the assault she suffered as an 11-year-old girl, while Likud MK Gila Gamliel shares a harrowing memory of being groped by male soldiers during her IDF service.
Wednesday’s Yedioth also gives ample coverage to the ongoing anti-draft protests and concomitant clashes between police and members of the ultra-Orthodox community.
“They look like an army, they act like an army, and follow orders every single day, but they won’t take a single order from the chief of staff,” Yedioth critically says of the protesters.
Meanwhile, the free daily Israel Hayom dedicates much of its print edition Wednesday to the newly inked unity deal that is aimed at ending a decade of hostilities between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.
A day earlier, Israel’s security cabinet announced it would not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that includes the armed terrorist organization Hamas.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian sources tell the paper without elaborating that the cabinet’s move de facto freezes US-led peace efforts.
“The Netanyahu government proves once again that it is not interested in renewing the peace process, and is placing stumbling blocks to prevent the resumption of diplomatic processes and the possibility of returning to the negotiation table,” the Palestinian source says.
He adds that the cabinet’s decision “proves who the real objectors to peace are.”
In Israel Hayom’s opinion pages, Tel Aviv University history professor Eyal Zisser weighs in on the new Palestinian government, arguing that Hamas ultimately seeks to take control of the Palestine Liberation Organization in its entirety.
“Its hard to imagine that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to the leadership, and it’s reasonable to assume that Cairo isn’t interested in strengthening Hamas, but such democratic processes have their own dynamic,” he warns, recalling the unexpected Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.
Surprisingly, Haaretz makes no mention of the growing chorus of women posting about sexual harassment and unwanted advances following the allegations against Weinstein.
Instead the left-wing paper gives the most prominent coverage to regional affairs: the cabinet decision on the Palestinian government and the fall of the Islamic State “capital” in Syria,
Haaretz columnists are also oddly silent on the matter. Yossi Verter continues to address the backlash sparked by Labor chairman Avi Gabbay, who announced this week that he would not evacuate West Bank settlements as part of a future peace deal with the Palestinians, in what would be a major shift in policy for the center-left parties.
Verter calls Gabbay’s remarks “an obvious move,” and says he swerved toward the soft right because “the left in Israel does not bring power.”
“He understands where the voter pool is and if he doesn’t pull a few Knesset seats from [centrist parties Yesh Atid and Kulanu] his chances of forming a government, which look theoretical at present, will be zero.”