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icjw encourages activism on agunot, anti-semitism and discrimination

The International Council of Jewish Women marked its centenary at its 2012 European Regional Conference in Berlin, Germany, in May 2012. ICJW's Executive Committee, meeting on May 1, passed three resolutions reflecting current concerns about the status of Jewish women in Israel and around the world, and the resurgence of anti-Semitism in parts of Europe.

The first resolution expressed ICJW's strong support for the women of Israel who are experiencing discrimination in the public space. ICJW's Executive Committee urges the Israeli authorities to ensure that all legislation to prevent such discrimination is strictly enforced.

Reports were presented at the meeting from ICJW's affiliate in Hungary about the growing problem of state-sponsored anti-Semitism in their country. The Executive Committee recommended that all ICJW affiliates should forward this report to representative Jewish organizations in their own countries, and to their representatives at the European Parliament where applicable. ICJW also plans to inform the World Jewish Congress of their concerns about the situation in Hungary.

The plight of Agunot – women denied a religious divorce by their husbands – is an ongoing priority issue for ICJW. The Executive Committee's third resolution recommended that wherever there is a known Agunah in a community, the local ICJW affiliate should employ appropriate social action to draw attention to the problem, by such means as demonstrations and demands that the husband be excluded from the community.

ICJW President Sharon Gustafson welcomed these three resolutions as confirming the organization's renewed commitment to activism on national and international issues of concern to Jewish women, promoting a just society based on human rights and Jewish values. Reviewing 100 years of activism by ICJW women throughout its history, she said "The same “biblical imperative” which prompted our founders in 1912 to embrace civil action is prompting many of our leaders today".