Sisterhood Blog

Israeli HMO Puts Only Boys on Kids' Stickers

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

  • Print
  • Share Share
iStock

Any parent will tell you that there is no easier way to motivate young children than rewarding them with a sticker for good behavior. The sticker can have anything on it — puppies, kittens, smiley faces, hearts, flowers — as long as it is colorful and cheerful, kids will work to earn it. 



The Israeli government’s largest HMO, Clalit, decided to use stickers in clinics for the ultra-Orthodox population to motivate stickers for children undergoing examinations and medical procedures. The design they chose were photographs of real kids on them, accompanied cheery slogans like “Get Well Soon!” “Good boy!” and “Good girl!” as well as one with a blessing for healing the sick. 

Sounds innocent enough. So what’s the problem?

Reflective the disturbing trend of eliminating female faces from the public sphere in ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem, the stickers only have pictures of boys. 

Girls are invisible.



The health care organization has been one of the flashpoints in the ongoing controversy over gender separation in Jerusalem’s public space. A 2010 Israel Religious Action Center report found that:

At the Clalit clinic on Dvora Hanevi’a St. in Jerusalem, there are completely separate entrances for women and men, leading to separate waiting areas in different wings of the building. Two entrances lead to the Clalit clinic; one entrance is labeled “Mehadrin Clinic – Men,” while the other is labeled “Mehadrin Clinic – Women.” Both rooms are of equal size, and a poster on the wall in each room presents the rules of the Mehadrin clinic: “Full segregation will be arranged between men and women, including male physicians for men and female physicians for women…

The HMO defends itself by arguing that it is merely providing appropriate service to this sector of the population. If their medical care doesn’t honor their sensitivities, they worry that the haredim will not avail themselves of preventative health care. But because Clalit, like all of the HMOs in Israel is funded with tax dollars, like with segregation on buses and sidewalks, their clinic space officially falls into the public sphere.

The stickers were brought to public attention by a watchdog organization called Hiddush, which is dedicated to religious pluralism. Shahar Ilan, the group’s vice president for research and information told Haaretz that the Clalit HMO “is selling women’s status for more ultra-Orthodox members,” adding “It’s hard to understand what the HMO thinks of the ultra-Orthodox men for whom they are censoring pictures of girls.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Medicine, Healthcare, Haredi, Gender Segregation

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.