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Newly sworn in: Tzvia Greenfield Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Newly sworn in: Tzvia Greenfield Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

Knesset swears in first haredi woman

As MK Tzvia Greenfield replaces retiring MK Yossi Beilin she says, 'I am creating important precedent as woman born, raised in ultra-Orthodox society entering Knesset on behalf of Meretz'

Amnon Meranda
Published: 11.04.08, 18:40 / Israel News

The Knesset made history on Tuesday when it swore in its first female ultra-Orthodox MK, just before it enters a pre-election recess on Monday. MK Tzvia Greenfield joined the Knesset on behalf of the Meretz Party, to replace retiring MK Yossi Beilin.


Greenfield is a doctor of political philosophy, and her achievements include the signing of the Geneva Initiative.


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"It is a very special feeling to be an MK," she told Ynet. "One of the important reasons I have for feeling this way is that I am an ultra-Orthodox MK of Meretz."


She added, "I am creating an important precedent as a woman born and raised in the ultra-Orthodox society who is entering the Knesset on behalf of Meretz, to promote the pluralist values of humanity and human rights – this is an incredible privilege for me."


Greenfield is set to participate in her first vote on Wednesday, when a bill enabling the distribution of assets prior to the finalization of divorce is scheduled to be up for its second and third reading. "I feel very privileged to be supporting this bill," she said.


The new MK was somewhat apprehensive about the way in which other ultra-Orthodox members of the Knesset would react. "I think it's difficult for them to understand this and to understand me, though I haven't spoken to everyone," she said.


"If they respond with anger, it's mostly because it's difficult for them to believe that people can transcend their own sectarian boundaries."


Greenfield hopes to kick off a revolution with her new career. "I see myself as a pioneer to be followed by many other people, especially women who want to break through the rules of separation in Israeli society," she said. "We will prove that Israeli society can be reorganized."


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