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Former Knesset MK Marcia Freedman passes away at 83

CM 23/09/2021

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Marcia Freedman, who served as an MK in the eighth Knesset, from 1974-1977, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 83, Israeli media reported. 
Freedman, who was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1938 and grew up in the bay area. She was the first known MK to come out as lesbian and the first American-born woman MK, immigrating to Israel in 1969.
While serving as MK, she represented multiple left-wing parties such as Ratz, Ya’ad, and the Independent Socialist Faction.

Freedman advocated for rights for women, LGBT, access to abortion, and Palestinian rights. 
She was considered one of the pioneers of feminism in Israel, fighting to eliminate violence against women and raise the issue to the public. She was a co-founder of the first shelters for women who were victim to domestic violence.
“My idea was to set up a shelter for battered women and show that the phenomenon exists, and not turn the shelters into places of treatment. In my opinion, the treatment should be separated from the fight against violence. Battered women should be given much better conditions than those they have in shelters,” she told Ynet in 2007. 
In her 40s, after she left the Knesset, Freedman divorced her husband and publicly came out as a lesbian. 
Upon hearing of her passing, Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg and Labor MK Merav Michaeli praised Freedman’s work and career for raising awareness on domestic violence. 
After her return to the US in 1981, Freedman lived in Berkeley, California, where she worked with Israeli/Palestinian and American women’s peace groups.
Freedman is one of 8 US-born MKs. The other 7 are men: Yehuda Ben-Meir (National Religious Party), Meir Kahane (Kach), Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Michael Oren (Kulanu), Yehudah Glick (Likud) Moshe Tur-Paz (Yesh Atid), and Alon Tal (Blue and White).
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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