Haredi Orthodox women launch Israeli political party

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A group of haredi Orthodox women have formed a political party in Israel ahead of the March elections.

The party, called B’zchutan, or “In their merit,” was announced Monday as a response to the existing all-male haredi parties, the Sephardi Shas and Ashkenazi United Torah Judaism.

B’zchutan members said the party will focus on women’s issues such as support for single mothers, women’s health and women’s rights in Orthodox divorces, according to Haaretz.

“There are many walls of fear for haredi women within their communities,” B’zchutan leader Ruth Colian was quoted as saying in Haaretz. “They have nowhere to turn in the Knesset.”

In 2013, Colian unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to mandate that the existing haredi parties include female representation.

Last year, when the March election was announced, a group of haredi women relaunched a campaign to gain female representation in the haredi parties. They have made little headway thus far.