I was too busy before Shabbat to note a piece of good news buried in my Friday paper (Hebrew only): Meretz Knesset Member Zahava Galon has signed up 30 co-sponsors, a quarter of the house, on a bill to make hiring a prostitute a crime, punishable by up half a year in prison – with an option for the courts to sentence first-time offenders to taking a course on the harm caused by prostitution.
The logic of the bill is simple: In prostitution, there is a victim, and the victim is the prostitute. The fact that a reporter can occasionally find a high-priced call girl to talk about how she likes her work no more changes the wider reality than the fact that an occasional house slave could be found in 1855 Mississippi to talk about how nice Massa treated her.
The co-sponsors represent everyone from the ultra-Orthodox to secularists, from Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour of the Islamic Movement to a Knesset member from the hard right, anti-Arab Yisrael Beitenu party. This is a superb example of an ad hoc coalition in politics: Every party, if not every Knesset member, will offer a different explanation for supporting this bill. They do not promise to say a good word about each other or agree on anything else. But they are working together on this, and in the process, giving honor to the parliament. I only hope that no fanatical neoliberal, trying to preserve the free market, gets in the way.