Israel to Join U.N. Women's Group

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JERUSALEM, Israel - At next Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, ministers are expected to approve membership in U.N. Women, a group that promotes gender equality and advancement of women.

The cabinet will also allocate 3 million shekels (approximately $840,000) for the membership fee, according to a statement posted on The Prime Minister's Office website on Thursday.

"Since its establishment, the State of Israel has been known as a pioneer in the field of advancing women's status and has a proven record in the area of gender equality," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the statement.

"Israel's influence in a prominent international body in the field is necessary because the issue of women's status is a main policy issue for us and because Israel's contribution to such a body from its inception could be considerable for the countries of the world," he said.

A member of the prime minister's staff will chair a committee to formulate Israel's policies for the new venture, the report states.

MK (member of Knesset) Gila Gamliel, deputy minister of a committee focusing on young people, students and women, has been promoting Israeli membership in the group.

"It is important that Israel join the U.N. Women's executive board as soon as possible," Gamliel said.

"Such membership will allow us to block attempts to delegitimize Israel and enable us to stress our country's positive aspects in the international arena," she said.

"One of the State of Israel's main interests in the U.N. is to advance a positive agenda regarding the country's activities. Israel is among the world's leaders in advancing the status of women; therefore, it would be proper to stress this fact in order to improve its international standing," she said.

"I am pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the various ministries recognize the importance of the issue and have joined the effort to raise the necessary funds," Gamliel said.

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