SlutWalk Israel in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem – a First for the Middle East

slut sign slutwalk manchester, Slutwalk israel, tel aviv, jerusalem, haifa
Karin draws a line between women’s rights and green issues in light of upcoming SlutWalks in Israel.

Last April Green Prophet asked: Should the Middle East Have More Sluts? Of course we wanted to attract our reader’s attention, and we did with thousands of readers, hundreds of “Likes” and dozens of comments. Although I am not a feminist, I do recognize a critical link between women’s rights and environmental values. Look at the women from Barefoot College in Jordan: Women are often the first ones to transmit these values to their societies and children, and women without basic rights are not empowered to do anything. I know that linking sluts and the Middle East is a tough pill to swallow in the ultra-conservative Middle East but we wrote this article to grab your attention. To make you think.

Readers and activists were listening. According to DIY Tel Aviv the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem will be organizing their own slut walks, starting next week.

They join “sluts” who’ve walked in Toronto, New York, Manchester (pictured above), Singapore, even Peru.

Yaara Lieberman-Kalif, an organizer of the Tel Aviv march, told Haaretz that in Israel the effort actually started in Jerusalem. “We hope it will be like it was abroad,” she says. “We will not ask anyone to come wearing revealing clothes, because the goal of this march is the opposite of coercion, it is to highlight the option of every woman (and man ) to dress as she wishes, without social criticism.”

The city of Jerusalem has been embroiled in a conflict recently over the censoring of women’s images, and bodies in public advertising. The secular part of the Jerusalem society are outraged.

The SlutWalk is a protest that started in Toronto by feminists who were outraged after a Toronto police officer said that women who get raped do so because they dress like sluts. Toronto has a very strong lesbian and feminist community that made a call to women from the city to protest a dominant male view of why women get raped. Again, many readers might think the link is peripheral, but look to Egypt: last year as means to suppress the voices of left-wing female activists, the authorities there forced the women to undergo virginity tests, a form of torture.

Withholding sex to make a point?

Will we see the novel idea of SlutWalk spread throughout the Middle East? Maybe in Turkey or Lebanon where women do have some level of activist freedom. Or maybe in Morocco where the movie The Source, a film about water rights, forces women to go on a sex strike. But I don’t think women in the Middle East need to do such an extreme in-your-face defiant protest.

There are other more positive ways women can have positive effects on the environment, by recycling, organizing clean-ups, vying for solar power in their towns and villages –– the side-effects which will earn her better status in the community within which she lives. But when enraged voices need to be heard, maybe a SlutWalk is a good way to vent frustrations and create a lot of press attention to the issues at hand.

Above image of SlutWalk Manchester via Man Alive!

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15 thoughts on “SlutWalk Israel in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem – a First for the Middle East”

  1. David says:

    I think this is discusting I want to find out where this is taking place so I can protest this Desacration of G-d’s name in our Holy City

    1. It happened already without much participation. There is supposed to be a SlutWalk in Jerusalem but I haven’t heard when or where. You could protest that one perhaps.

  2. Tinamarie says:

    I think that’s a great idea Julia. The walk apparently was pushed out to March 22. I hope you have connected with some of the organizers by now. Good luck with that!

  3. Julia says:

    I’d love to help organize a slutwalk in Jerusalem. As a member of the orthodox jewish community, and as a self defense instructor where I teach all members of the Israeli community, including Arab women and other minorities, I could help galvanize the more “conservative” elements of the population to get involved. Let me know what I can do.

  4. Esther Hecht says:

    To my mind, anyone who believes that human and civil rights should not be linked to sex or gender is a feminist, even if that person is not a card-carrying member of a particular group. But of course it’s a free world and you have every right to say you are not part of a particular category of people. It’s just that when you declare you are not a feminist but in the same sentence go on to talk about women’s rights, it’s confusing. But then, you know your audience better than I do.

  5. You can act on behalf of women’s rights and not be a feminist.

  6. I do not feel that I belong to a group of people who call themselves feminists. That’s what I mean.

  7. Esther Hecht says:

    Thanks for this article.
    I don’t understand what you mean when you say you are not a feminist. What exactly are you saying you are not? You do write that “women without basic rights are not empowered to do anything.” What are feminists if not those who act on behalf of women’s rights?

  8. Aviva Weisgal says:

    from Ha’aretz:

    Israel’s first SlutWalks – marches against male-dominated society’s habit of blaming sexual harassment or even rape on a woman’s appearance – take place next week.
    Published 05:37 06.03.12
    Latest update 05:37 06.03.12

    By Tsafi Saar

  9. Bob, I appreciate you taking the time to criticize the article: a couple notes: first – the quote above is spoken by an organizer to a local paper. It is quoted verbatim.

    Second: I used to live in Jerusalem and have extensive experience with the religious community there – more than most people as I was a part of it. I respect the religious society in Israel and as a brief post on this SlutWalk didn’t feel the need to get into the censorship issue as it’s peripheral to the news element in this story.

    Thank you for reading Green Prophet,

  10. bob says:

    We will not ask anyone to come wearing revealing clothes, because the goal of this march is the opposite of coercion, it is to highlight the option of every woman (and man ) to dress as she wishes, without social criticism. — run on sentence.

    The secular part of the Jerusalem society are outraged. — perhaps you mean to say the “The secular portion of Jerusalem’s society is outraged”.

    In summation, the sentence structure in this article is horrid. It is also bigoted, as most articles portraying the religious population in Israel are. Journalism used to be about presenting balance. Balance would mean including at least a token sentence about the reasoning of the religious viewpoint. Instead, what do we have here, biased tripe…

  11. Newspapers are also asking for contacts to the organizers in Jerusalem. Anyone?

  12. Does anyone know the dates of the SlutWalk in Jeruslaem and Haifa? Someone has been asking me.

  13. This is exciting for Israel. I hope that this kind of democracy, like last year’s peaceful protests, will trump oppression in an increasingly right-wing dominated society. I doubt it will spread to other parts of the Middle East, but as you mentioned, women elsewhere are working hard to earn a higher status in their respective societies within their own cultural context.

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