Cochav Elkayam-Levy/MARTINE HAMI

HBI to host Israeli leader in talk about gender-based violence on Oct. 7



HBI to host Israeli leader in talk about gender-based violence on Oct. 7

Cochav Elkayam-Levy/MARTINE HAMI

“Such silence is not just deafening, it’s damning,” said Cochav Elkayam-Levy, international law and human rights expert, before the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “It traces the haunting question: are Israeli women and girls protected under international law? Is there international law for them?” she asked. “I urge you not to look away.”

Elkayam-Levy recently founded the Civil Commission on Oct. 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women and Children. This non-governmental group of international experts on human and women’s rights aims to examine, advocate and support the investigation of Hamas’ war crimes on Oct. 7, specifically against women and children.

Elkayam-Levy will speak as a part of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute’s (HBI) annual Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture on Gender and Human Rights. She will speak in-person during a livestreamed event at Brandeis University on March 10.

“I was honored to be invited to speak at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) on Gender and Human Rights,” Elkayam-Levy said in an email to the Journal. “Speaking at HBI provides a unique opportunity to spotlight the experiences of Israeli women within the broader context of gender-based crimes against humanity. This allows for a nuanced exploration of the intersectionality of identities, considering the distinctive impact of religion, ethnicity, and national identity on Israeli women and Jewish communities around the world.”

The upcoming talk follows a teach-in that HBI hosted in December on gender-based violence and war. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, director of HBI, imagines this talk will attract some of those who came to the teach-in, as well as a wider Boston-area audience. Elkayam-Levy’s lecture is open to the public.

“The 7th of October atrocities have created new depths of human suffering,” Elkayam-Levy said. “Unveiling the truth holds immense significance, not only for holding perpetrators accountable but also for acknowledging the profound impact on women, families, survivors and community. This effort is essential for creating a historic record that will serve future generations. We must advocate for change and work towards preventing similar future atrocities.”

Elkayam-Levy’s resume is a long and impressive one, from being the principal author of the National Report on Gender Mainstreaming in Times of Emergencies to being selected as one of Israel’s promising young leaders under 40 by The Marker Magazine in 2022. She currently holds positions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Reichman University, the Hartman Institute and the Deborah Institute, in addition to her far-reaching advocacy work.

“When we thought about who to invite this year, someone like Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy – who is working on the challenges of recording and sharing and seeking an international law response to the violence against women that was perpetrated on Oct. 7 – seemed a really suitable and pressing topic to address,” said Fishbayn Joffe.

“We’re really delighted that she can be with us,” said Fishbayn Joffe. “She’s on her way to meetings at the UN to continue this work, so it’s an exciting opportunity to hear from someone who is both a theorist and a practitioner, about what it’s like to work on gender-based violence in international law, and discuss the impact of the war on women in Israel.” Θ

Elkayam-Levy’s lecture will take place as a part of the Diane Markowicz Memorial Lecture on Gender and Human Rights at on Sunday, March 10 at 4 p.m. at Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library, on Brandeis University campus, followed by a reception. It will also be livestreamed. Register online at

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