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The Schmooze

Anti-Feminist Remarks From Israeli Activist

She is one of the most successful religious women in the media, but Shulamit Melamed wants everyone to know that she’s no feminist.

The director of the pro-settler news network Arutz Sheva, Melamed runs the organization’s news site and oversees the newspaper Basheva, which is distributed weekly in an enormous number of synagogues and community venues across Israel and the West Bank — while raising seven children.

At a discussion convened by the Israel Democracy Institute, she outlined some standard arguments put forward by anti-feminist women, such as the claim that biological differences make it “obvious that the role of a woman is completely different from that of a man.” But Melamed — wife of Zalman Melamed who heads the Beit El Yeshiva in the eponymous settlement — went further.

According to her, (as reported on her Arutz Sheva site), laws intended to help women in the Israeli workplace “cause women to have a lower work ethic.” Referring to laws that prohibit companies from refusing to employ a woman because she is pregnant, guaranteeing maternity leave and the like, she said: “Sometimes it seems all women have to do is sit at home and draw their salaries.”

She also commented that “perhaps if it were not so easy to divorce, people would not divorce as much.”

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