Bar-Ilan University | President’s Report 2022

22 On November 25, 2021, the eve of the International Day on Combatting Violence Against Women, Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar announced Israel’s intentiontoseekaformal invitationfromtheCouncil of Europe to join the Istanbul Convention (IC). The first European instrument to seek the prevention of gender-based violence, the protection of its victims, and the punishment of its perpetrators through legal means, the Convention sets out the standards that countries wishing to join must achieve. Even before the invitation is extended, however, Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, founding academic director of the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for ending gender discrimination at the Bar-Ilan Faculty of Law, hails the development as a major victory. Like many countries, Israel has struggled to address violence against women, but often with little success. For example, although a special law on the prevention of domestic violence has been in place for three decades, a lack of legal and operational enforcement has rendered it largely meaningless. And while a National Action Plan for implementation was adopted in 2017, less than half the necessary budget has been allocated in the intervening years. Seeing in the IC an opportunity to break the impasse, the Rackman Center joined Israel’s Ministry of Justice six years ago in a multi-faceted, political and social campaign. “Membership in the Convention would be a game-changer for Israel. For the first time, the country would be part of a mechanism that requires real accountability,” says HalperinKaddari, who explains that the very process of joining the IC requires a demonstrated commitment tomeeting international standards—or in this case, “the gold standard for addressing violence against women by every means.” And indeed, in the months prior to Sa’ar’s announcement, the process of assessing 6 years of dedicatedwork to include Israel in the Istanbul Convention The Ruth & Emanuel Rackman Center