Discriminating women in an award winning Torah essay contest

Today (6.7.2020), together with additional civil society organizations, we contacted the CEO of Mifal Hapayis (Israel’s national lottery company) following discrimination against women in the company’s 2020 Torah essay contest.

Mifal Hapayis’ council for culture and art recently announced an award winning Torah essay contest divided into three tracks. The first two are focused on halakhic-religious issues, and are open to men only, whereas the third, and only the third, dealing with “the power of women in the context of history with references to the Covid-19 crisis”, is open to women.

It is regrettable to discover that Mifal Hapayis chooses to exclude women from writing on halakhic issues as part of a public contest. Its decision to dedicate a sole, separate track to the female community, and the very subject of this track send a doubly disturbing and discriminating message – not only are women barred from writing on halakhic topics, their participation is additionally constrained in advance to topics relating to women only.

We call on Mifal Hapayis to open all three tracks to women, as has been the practice in previous years, and that it publicly announce this at the earliest opportunity.

Read the letter (in Hebrew).