Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

Monitors the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Signed by Israel: 17 July 1980. Ratified: 3 October 1991.

Background | 48th Session, 2011 | 33rd Session, 2005 | 17th Session, 1997


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women


Signed by Israel: 17 July 1980

Ratified by Israel: 3 October 1991

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is the first international human rights treaty devoted to the rights of women. According to the Convention, discrimination against women represents a violation of the principles of equality and human dignity, and is considered an obstacle to the participation of women, on an equal footing with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their country; impedes the development and prosperity of society and the family; and increases the difficulty of achieving the complete development of women's capacity. The Convention obliges all State Parties to take appropriate measures, legislative and non-legislative, to prohibit all forms of discrimination against women.

Israel is a State Party to CEDAW, which it ratified in October 1991. Upon ratification, Israel entered substantive and procedural reservations to the Convention, in particular to Article 7(b), which concerns the appointment of women to serve as judges of religious courts and Article 16, which concerns personal status.

Although ratified by Israel, the provisions of the CEDAW are not formally incorporated into Israeli domestic law. The provisions of the Convention are not binding on Israel's national courts, although they do serve as benchmarks and guidelines which domestic law cannot contradict. Under Israeli domestic law, incorporation occurs only when the Israeli legislature (the Knesset) passes a specific act or acts to that effect.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention

Israel has not signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW, which entered into force in 2000. As a result, individual women or groups of women may not submit claims of violations of rights protected under the Convention, nor may the Committee initiate inquires into situations of grave or systematic violations of women's rights.

The Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel

Adalah is a member organization of the Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel. The Working Group is a national network of Palestinian women’s rights and human rights NGOs working on Palestinian women’s rights issues from various perspectives and fields of expertise.

The 48th Session of CEDAW - 17 January - 4 February 2011

Concluding Observations on Israel's implementation of the Convention - 5 April 2011

NGO Alternative Response to the List of Issues from the Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel, including Adalah - December 2010

Israel's Response to the List of Issues - 21 December 2010

Following its review of Israel's 4th Periodic Country Report, CEDAW produced a List of Issues for Israel's response - 14 September 2010

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The 33rd Session of CEDAW, 5-22 July 2005

Concluding Comments on Israel's implementation of the Convention - 22 July 2005

Press Release: UN CEDAW Issues Concluding Observations on Israel, Emphasizing 14 Areas of Concern Regarding Israeli Violations of Rights of Palestinian Women - 8 August 2005

UN CEDAW Experts voiced concern over inequalities and the need for measures to eliminate discrimination against Palestinian women citizens of Israel in education, employment and political life. A four-member delegation from the Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel attended the review session. The delegates presented the Working Group's report and lobbied Committee members. Press Release - 27 July 2005

At an official NGO meeting held during the 33rd Session, the delegates of the Working Group also delivered written statements to CEDAW representatives on the main issues raised in their report.

During the CEDAW Committee's 33rd Session, Israel submitted its 4th Periodic Country Report on the CEDAW. Dr. Shavit Matias, Deputy Attorney General of Israel, delivered Israel's statement before the CEDAW Committee.

Israel's Responses to the List of Issues and Questions to the Committee.

Also in May, the Working Group submitted an NGO Alternative Report in response to the List of Issues and Questions with Regard to the Consideration of Periodic Reports on Israel's implementation of the CEDAW. Adalah responded to Question 2 (Constitution, Legislation and National Machinery for the Advancement of Women), Question 13 (Participation in Public Life and Decision-Making), and Questions 21 and 24 (Health), as well as submitted a 'Proposed Concluding Observation' regarding Article 9 (Nationality) of the CEDAW, focused on Israel's discriminatory family unification policies.

On 9 April 2005, the Working Group held a Study Day, attended by over 200 people, where the Group presented its NGO Alternative Report, promoted the CEDAW as an international mechanism to help secure rights for Palestinian women in Israel, and gathered information from resource experts on the position of Palestinian women citizens of Israel in all fields of life.

Al Haq, PCHR, and WCLAC also submitted an NGO Alternative Report in Response to the List of Issues and Questions with Regard to the Consideration of Periodic Reports was submitted on Israel's implementation of the CEDAW in the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In February 2005, following its initial review of Israel's 2001 Third Periodic Country Report, and the NGO Alternative Reports, the Committee produced a List of Issues and Questions for Israel.

Working Group Press Release: UN Committee Poses 18 Questions to Israel Regarding Discrimination Against Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel for Urgent Response - 6 April 2005

Before CEDAW presented the List of Issues, the Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel submitted apreliminary NGO Alternative Report to the Committee's pre-sessional task force in January 2005 The Report in Full | Summary

Adalah contributed short chapters to this report on Israel's implementation of Articles 1 and 2 (Discrimination and Obligations to Eliminate Discrimination), 4 (Acceleration of Equality Between Men and Women), 9 (Nationality) and 10 (Education) of the CEDAW.

Also see Amnesty International Report Israel: Conflict, Occupation and Patriarchy - Women Carry the Burden - March 2005

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The 17th Session of CEDAW, 7-25 July 1997

Concluding Comments of the CEDAW Committee on Israel - 12 August 1997

NGO Alternative Report submitted by the Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women in Israel to the Committee (Part 1 | Part 2) 1997.

The Committee reviewed Israel's Initial and Second Combined Periodic Country Report at the 17th Session.

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