Social and Economic Justice

Victory in the Fight against Women's Exclusion

30 January 2014 By New Israel Fund

Two years ago, NIF organized a letter writing campaign calling on Israel's Channel 2 to revisit its decision limiting the number of hours that women callers' voices are heard on Orthodox public radio station Kol Barama. Thousands of you responded and contacted the governing board of the station. But, as of this past November, women's voices were only heard on 5% of Kol Barama's broadcasts.

The petition was followed by a sustained campaign from NIF grantees Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) and Kolech. This week, Channel 2 announced that it would re-approve Kol Barama's license for 2014, but only if there are no limitations on women callers (apart from one hour of programming a day), and if the station takes active steps to increase the representation of women at the station and on the air.

IRAC Director Anat Hoffman said in response: "The phrase Kol BaRama, which literally means "a voice is heard on high", comes from the book of Jeremiah when Rachel is crying for her children. How ironic that this radio station, named after the voice of our matriarch Rachel, has sought to limit the voices of women since its inception…[now] it will no longer be allowed to force women to remain anonymous and fax in questions to be read aloud by men."

IRAC and Kolech will be listening closely to ensure that Kol Barama meets the new requirements. They have also filed a class action suit against the station for previously excluding women's voices to be heard. The case is ongoing.