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Israel: Supreme Court Orders Government to Add Women to Flotilla Committee

(Aug. 18, 2010) On August 12, 2010, the Supreme Court of Israel ordered the state to consider the addition of at least one woman to the Turkel Committee. The Committee, headed by retired Justice Jacob Turkel, was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to investigate Israel's May 2010 naval raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla. According to the decision, the state will be relieved of its obligation to include a female Committee member if five women to whom participation in the Committee was offered refuse the offer by August 29, 2010.

This ruling was made in response to a petition by Israeli women's organizations that argued that the non-inclusion of women on the Turkel Committee violated the Women's Equal Rights Law, 5711-1951, as amended. The Law requires the government to demonstrate, as appropriate in the circumstances, representation of women from diverse groups of the population on public committees and other bodies established for forming national policies. (Tomer Zarchin, The Supreme: Duty to Consider Addition of a Woman to the Turkel Committee [in Hebrew], HAARETZ ONLINE (Aug. 12, 2010),; Women's Equal Rights Law, 5711-1951 (as amended), ยง6c [in Hebrew], NEVO LEGAL DATABASE, (last visited Aug. 12, 2010).)