Social and Economic Justice

Success for Arab Women in the Municipal Elections

By New Israel Fund

The campaign focused on three main strategies. First, the organizations reached out to the media and held roundtables on the issue with local journalists. Second, roundtable meetings were organized with representatives of the Arab parties to encourage them to field more female candidates. Finally, the organizations ran training sessions for women who considered becoming candidates and women who wanted to get involved in the campaign in other capacities.

Following the effort, eleven women were elected onto councils in Nazareth, Eilaboun, Akko, Haifa, Sakhnin, Zemer, Daliyat al-Karmel, Majd al-Krum, Tamra, and Umm el-Fahm.  In the 2008 municipal elections, only six women were elected.  

“As a result of these activities, we have managed to place the issue firmly on the public agenda,” said Aida Toma, director of Women against Violence. “It received a lot of media coverage, many women ran for office, with many more saying they would run in the future. The issue is here to stay.”

In the Jewish sector, there was also an increase in women being elected to local councils, 16.2% of the councilors compared to 12% in the last elections. NIF gave a grant to Power to Women to promote women’s candidacy, again without any reference to partisan politics.

“We were starting from nothing,” Toma explained. “But now we have great potential to continue making strides in the years ahead.”