Come April 10, attorney Omer Gilinsky-Yankelevitch will most likely become Israel’s second Haredi woman Knesset member, having been positioned in the top 20 on Benny Gantz’s Resilience for Israel election slate (the party is projected to win upwards of 23 seats).
Gilinsky-Yankelevitch, 40, married with five children, a social activist, lives in Beit Shemesh.
She is a Beit Yaakov alumnus; graduated from Gateshead College, England, with a diploma as senior qualified teacher; completed the English Studies Teacher’s accreditation from Cambridge University, taught at Tachkemoni School in Rehovot and Bat-Zion High School in Jerusalem; made the dean’s list and completed her bachelor’s degree in law at Ono Academic College; received a master’s degree in law at Bar-Ilan University; and in 2007 joined the Israel Bar Association, specializing in intellectual property law.
Gantz made the decision to recruit Gilinsky-Yankelevitch “out of a desire to compile a list containing the full mosaic of Israeli society.”
The High Court of Justice recently rejected the Agudath Israel party’s platform item that prohibited the inclusion of women in its Knesset slate, but did not order the inclusion of women in the Haredi slates, leaving that part up to the parties’ spiritual authorities.
Interestingly, Gilinsky-Yankelevitch is on the record as supporting the segregation of women in the Haredi community. She has attacked the campaigns waged by secular groups in Israel against gender segregation in the Haredi public, calling it “an anti-Haredi persecution that seeks to impose secular values on the ultra-Orthodox public.”
According to her, the very fight against gender segregation in the Haredi community prevents Haredi women from moving forward.
Gilinsky-Yankelevitch was the founder of Just Begun, an initiative promoting art and faith, allowing different audiences access to Jewish-inspired art.
Back in 2008, Tzvia Greenfeld of Meretz became Israel’s first female Haredi MK. Labor is currently running Michal Zernowitski, though in position 25 on the list, she doesn’t have a chance.