Israel's 1948 Declaration of Independence grants all citizens equality before the law without distinction by religion, race or sex. In 1951, the Knesset adopted the Women's Equal Rights Law, which provides that "there will be one law for men and women...every legal action and every judicial provision which discriminates against a woman, as a woman is void." In addition specific laws regarding equal pay and family leave have existed since the 1960's.
Ensuring Quality Health Care
According to a recent study, one-third of American women did not receive basic preventive health services in the last year, and one in seven failed to get treatment for an illness when needed--largely because of insurance gaps and high costs (Washington Post, July 15, 1993). By contrast, all Israeli women are covered by national health insurance.
Perhaps the most important innovation for women in Israel is the mother-and-child clinics described in the section on health care. These clinics are free, convenient and give women greater control over health services.
Every woman in Israel is allowed six months maternity leave, which is subsidized by the social security system. She is also guaranteed that her job will be waiting when she returns.
One area covered by the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Labor and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is women's affairs. In fact, one of the first programs under the agreement was a seminar on women and employment sponsored by the Women's Bureau.