On the south side of the palm-lined road, on a spring lunchtime, the Fattoush restaurant is packed with customers chatting noisily in Arabic and Hebrew over Levantine and fusion salads, cardamom-flavoured coffee and exquisite Palestinian knafeh desserts. Public spaces, at least, are open to all. And the ever-present Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, usually, softer-edged than elsewhere in the country. The street outside bears the name of one of them, Hassan Bey Shukri. He is also keen to point out that his secretary, Reem, is an Arab.
The situation in Israel
The trans-feminist movement addresses feminist issues from a transgender perspective. Similarly to other third-generation feminist movements, trans-feminism often examines the effect of body image and the oppressive and destructive power of the binary gender conception. According to this approach, gender-based oppression is associated with many other types of oppression related to race, status, and hetero-normative identity. This discourse refers to the psychoanalytical tradition — particularly the writings of Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and others — that contributes to the dismantling of the binary gender model ingrained in the linguistic unconscious. Additionally, it often refers to the influential critique proposed by Judith Butler, which depicts a breach in the feminist subject. Butler argues that a distinction should be made between sex and gender; these categories are not identical, and a deep rift separates the sexual body and the gendered body constituted by culture. Scholar Maria Lugones has proposed seeing the concept of "gender" as a colonialist invention that continues the traditional patriarchal view of a binary distinction between man and woman. In light of contemporary trans-feminist discourse, this exhibition explores the works of Claude Cahun — a photographer active in France in the s and considered one of the first artists to address the fluidity of gender identities.
But the issue may soon head to the Knesset: The Justice Ministry announced last week it will form a committee to evaluate whether to criminalize paying for sex, broadly modeling itself on such countries as Sweden, Norway, and, as of earlier this month, France. While prostitution itself remains legal in Israel, pimping, sex trafficking, and running a brothel are punishable by law. While it remains to be seen what the committee will recommend, if anything, the unlikely pair of lawmakers has in the past suggested fines or up to a year in jail for clients, with the option for first-time offenders to attend seminars on prostitution in lieu of criminal proceedings. Galon and Moalem-Refaeli are also proposing expanding welfare services for prostitutes. In , a similar bill by Galon and Kadima MK Orit Zuaretz was supported by the key Ministerial Committee for Legislation, but the government dissolved before it could be taken further.