“A review is not enough space for everything I’d like to say about this film, let alone Gadot’s politics” says Louise Ferreira. What more could she have said? Certainly little of value. For most of what Ferreira says displays not only ignorance but also a total lack of understanding of the politics and history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I forgive her. She is after all, but a film critic.
But to assert that Zionism is antithetical to Feminism, borders on ludicrous. For nothing could be farther from the truth. Zionism is the ideology that has as its cornerstone the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral home, Israel. Feminism is the movement that strives for the equality of women in all spheres of society. With the exception of the ultra- religious Israeli society ranks amongst the most egalitarian in the world.
The declaration of the state of Israel states that: “the State of Israel would be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” And for those in the know, not film critics, this is still the guiding principal in Israel.
The modern state of Israel is a democracy, with every citizen irrespective of race, religion or gender equal before the law. Golda Meier was prime minister of Israel from 1969 – 1974. Hanah Khatib was earlier this year the first Arab woman to be appointed as a judge in the Israeli Shariah court system. Women serve in the Israeli army in combat units. Elinor Joseph, an Israeli Arab is the first Israeli Arab to serve in the IDF in a combat role. In an article on 8 march 2017, in the Jerusalem Post, entitled: “Jewish and Arab female Jerusalemites express mixed feelings on Women’s Day”, Amani Maali, a young Arab female student at Hadassah College, said: “,“They (Arab women) finish high school and university and they go to work, drive, and do everything they want. We’re in a good situation compared to other Arab countries.”
Louise Ferreira is a proud feminist. So am I. But as a proud feminist I consider honour killings, female genital mutilation, the inability to work in certain professions, the prohibition on women driving, the compulsory covering of a woman’s face, all an affront to feminism. Surely she does as well? And as a proud feminist I see a woman fighting in an army to protect the citizens of her country, and her concomitant love for and pride in her country the epitome of feminism. Possibly if Ferreira would allow herself to experience Israel as it is and not as the media would lead her to believe, she would agree with me. In addition, if she were truly honest she would campaign for those women living in oppressive Arab societies, women for whom the idea of feminism is but a distant dream.