The Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, headed by MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), is marking International Women` Day on Tuesday with various activities.

The first part of the day is dedicated to a debate on a study conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center, which examined various aspects of Israelis’ sense of personal security. The study, which was presented by Shelly Mizrahi-Simon, surveyed a representative sample of 1,028 Israeli adults, more than half of them women.

It found that 59 percent of women and 54 percent of men are worried about damaging behavior by state agencies that would negatively affect their personal security. Among Arab women, however, the figure climbed to 74 percent, compared with 59 percent of Jewish women born in Israel, 51 percent of ultra-Orthodox women and 49 percent of female immigrants from the former Soviet Union. In particular, 54 percent of Arab women feared their houses would be destroyed by the state.

New Knesset study reveals: More than 50 percent of Israelis are worried about damaging behavior by state agencies, but feel secure within the community

MK Aida Touma-Sliman opens the debate

The study found that Israelis` sense of security within their communities was very strong: 91% of women and 85% of men are satisfied with their relationship with the people who live in their area. In addition, 78% of women and 70% of men noted that they trust that those living in their area would assist them during a crisis.

The percentage of men and women who fear being attacked due to factors related to their appearance was identical – 20%. Some 43% of Arab women expressed the same fear, as did 37% of haredi men.

According to the survey, 31% of Israeli men, and an identical percentage of women, fear they will lose their jobs in the coming year. The percentage of men and women who feel they are not getting a fair opportunity to get ahead at work was also identical – some 21%.

MK Touma-Sliman opened the debate by saying that ”as long as there is no equality, no social justice and no viewpoint which considers us an equal part of humanity, no more and no less, International Women`s Day will continue to be a day of struggle. However, we deserve to celebrate the fact that, despite everything, we have reached this point.”

She further said there was a ”big gap” between the laws the Knesset passes and the situation on the ground. ”Women still feel that they are treated unequally, and workplaces still feel comfortable taking advantage of women as a cheap workforce. Women still earn 70% of what men doing the same job earn, and an Arab woman earns 70% of what a Jewish woman earns.”