MK Gila Gamliel Shares Perspective on Issues Facing Jewish State With Students
On March 27, Yeshiva University students at the Israel Henry Beren Campus were joined by Israeli Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel. Following an introduction by Stern College for Women Student Council President Keren Neugroschl, Gamliel, who is a member of the Likud party, discussed a broad array of issues facing the Jewish state.
The Ministry for Social Equality, founded in 2015 by Gamliel, seeks to reduce the socio-economic gaps between Israeli citizens of different races, religions, genders and age by researching and implementing a variety of solutions. Gamliel referred to her record on initiatives that cater to minorities, and specifically how her ministry has managed to increase the employment rate of Arab women from 29 percent to 35 percent. To combat issues facing the elderly, such as loneliness, the ministry offers tuition stipends to university students who choose to live with them. “Talk about tikkun olam [repairing the world],” said Gamliel.
Gamliel went on to discuss a recent government appropriation, announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of $300 million to be invested in a national digital health plan. Dubbed the “Mosaic Initiative,” the funds will be used to gather health data on participating citizens and utilize artificial intelligence to improve correct diagnosis rates. Gamliel estimates this rate could rise from 55 percent to 95 percent. “It is a project for a better future for everyone,” she said. The initiative will allow Israel to develop unique technology that can be exported, yielding an economic boon for the tiny country.
Gamliel also addressed some of the major security threats to Israel, including those from Hamas, ISIS and Iran. She denounced the Palestinian Authority for its incitement of children in PA-funded schools and religious centers. Addressing the international reaction to Palestinian violence, Gamliel explained, “The world all too often loses its voice when it comes to terrorism in Israel,” and called for a greater recognition of the challenges Israelis face.
According to Neugroschl, who organized the event, Gamliel’s remarks were deeply insightful. “I think it was interesting to hear some of the social issues that she’s trying to deal with in Israel because a lot of them are similar to what we have in the United States,” she said. “It is important to hear this accomplished woman speak at Stern about what she is doing to really help her society.”
Ilana Schiff ’17SB views Gamliel as a role model for the students. “It’s always inspiring to come back to Stern and hear from powerful women who are making a difference in our community,” said Schiff, who currently works at NBC. “It was moving how she saw this need for greater attention to social equality and created this ministry in order to address it. Her passion and drive for her mission is invigorating and inspires me and all of us in the room to want to make that sort of impact as well.”