The Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality held an urgent meeting Wednesday, May 24, to discuss a report aired on Channel 10 on discrimination against hijab-wearing women seeking employment with the Super-Pharm pharmacy chain. “After watching the news report, I agreed to hold an urgent meeting, because I too am worried about the situation,” Committee Chairperson Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) said during the meeting, which was held at the request of MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash – Joint List).
MK Touma-Sliman claimed that she was “worried, but not surprised, because Arab women have complained to me before about discrimination and not being hired because they wear a hijab, not only by Jewish employers, but by Arabs as well.” A recent survey commissioned by the committee showed that Arab women and Haredi men who apply for jobs are discriminated against due to their appearance. “There is no justification for discrimination against any group,” MK Touma-Sliman stated.
MK Odeh said he had met with Super-Pharm representatives who presented figures showing that the chain employs a large number of Arabs. ”For this, they deserve to be commended. We appreciate and know how to call attention positive developments, but the [Channel 10] report proved that there is blatant and direct discrimination against hijab-wearing women, at least in those places that were reported on, and this is against the law,” Odeh said.
Attorney Shiri Lev-Ran Levi of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said, “Arab women suffer from double discrimination – based on gender and nationality, and hijab-wearing women suffer from a third kind of discrimination – that which is based on religion.” Committee Chairwoman MK Touma-Sliman concluded the meeting by saying that “unfortunately, the phenomenon of discrimination is increasing in Israeli society. All of us – Jews and Arabs, private businesses and the state – must take a stand against this wave lest it will inundate us all.” She demanded that management of Super-Pharm detail in writing the measures that it has taken against the branches where the reported discrimination occurred.