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Behind the Scenes, the Women Who Painstakingly Hammered Out the Coalition Government

In the long corridor on the 6th floor at the Kfar HaMaccabia (The Maccabiah Village Hotel), 28 of THE strongest powers to be in Israel had gathered. After four rounds of national elections, after a
year of Covid-19, whilst horrific violence was wreaking havoc on the streets of Israel and a round of fighting in Gaza, everything had funneled down into one corridor in an aging hotel…where a few
rooms were to change it all.

Everyone will talk about the politics, the vested interests and the powers underlying it all, but I wish to tell you the real reason for the success in these political negotiations that were the most unprecedentedly tough and complex since the inception of the State of Israel.

And the reason is: Women.

For an entire month I have been living in this corridor as delegations came and went. Undoubtedly a selection of the most experienced people (in every field) in Israeli society. They shared one common denominator: They were all men.

On the other hand, at the other end of the corridor, sharing two old-fashioned rooms built in the 1970s, were women, Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s team, the one that planned, managed and ultimately tipped the scales of the entire event. The only team [of political staffers] whose significant majority was compiled of women.

I watched them as, time after time, they would invent the precise idea that would extricate us from yet another negotiation stalemate. I watched them; with their infinite patience they succeeded in finding the ultimate compromise for another issue, overcoming yet another potential crisis. I watched them maneuvering themselves as they worked and faced off with dozens of men, all used to running the world, how with determination they did not cede and ultimately won the upper hand.

These kinds of negotiations are like a war of attrition. They approach them with their cumulative experience of fatigue management. Most of them are mothers and have additional arenas that they are managing simultaneously whilst immersed in the negotiations. I watched as the men were on the verge of collapse due to the complexities, the pressures and the exhaustion…the women and their stamina left the men miles behind!

For those who have worked alongside Lapid, this is no new phenomenon. I have been there for years. I have watched them thousands of times fighting for him and when it was called for, even fighting Lapid himself. The first to understand this was Yair Lapid himself.

It is not by chance that the decisive majority of these people are women.

My Amalia is four-and-a-half years old. I want her to grow up with the knowledge that not only is she everyone’s equal but that she can also change the world should she wish to. Should she ever have doubts or should anyone ever tell her that she isn’t good enough, I will tell her the story of how the Seven Wonders from the Sixth Floor changed the face of the State of Israel: Yael Bar, Neta Atias, Gili Haushner, Dana Pitelis Kaduri, Naama Schultz, Tami Nassee, Ethel Cohen Hoover.

Roei Konkol, spokesperson for Yair Lapid, in private communication June 2021. Used with permission. Translation by Sharon Gicelter.