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Israel - Livni Vows To End Back-of-the-Bus Gender Segregation

Published on: May 9, 2013 07:49 AM
By: Reuters
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Orthodox women enter a gender-segregated bus through the back door (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)Israel - Back-of-the-bus seating for women on public transport in Israel will be outlawed soon, its justice minister said on Thursday, pledging sweeping legislation to stop Jewish religious zealots trying to enforce gender segregation in many spheres of life.

The issue is at the heart of a long and emotional struggle between Israel’s secular majority and an ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority over lifestyle in the Jewish state.

“Today, I instructed the Justice Ministry to draft legislation ... that will make any segregation of women and their humiliation in a public space a criminal offence,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said on her Facebook page.

She made the announcement a day after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein recommended outlawing any behavior that stops women from receiving “public services with equal conditions”.

The separation of women and men on bus lines through religious neighborhoods, and incidents in which Jewish zealots have spat at schoolgirls they deemed to be dressed immodestly, have raised public pressure on the government to act.

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Now, with the power of ultra-Orthodox politicians diminished by their exclusion from Israel’s governing coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration could find it easier to win support for an anti-segregation law.

“Women in Israel won’t sit at the back of the bus. Women in Israel will participate in state ceremonies and their voices will be heard on radio stations and in the army,” Livni said.

She was referring to events at which religious politicians and soldiers, adhering to a traditional edict to avoid temptation, have walked out rather than watch women singing or dancing, and to an ultra-Orthodox radio station’s refusal to employ female announcers.

“The new law will be formulated in the coming weeks and help the struggle against the shameful and violent phenomena of cursing and spitting at women,” Livni wrote. “It will be another step toward equality between men and women in Israel in 2013.”

But the legislation could also heighten militancy in an ultra-Orthodox community whose state welfare benefits and military service exemptions are under threat by the new government Netanyahu formed in March.

Fears of vandalism by religious modesty squads have led advertisers in Jerusalem, a holy city with a large Jewish religious community, to avoid posting images of women on buses and billboards, or at least toning down their clothing.

Women who insist on sitting in the front of buses in Jerusalem have been subjected at times to verbal and sometimes physical assault.

Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, and a bastion of ultra-Orthodox ritual practice, has also been at the forefront of a challenge championed by women.

“Women of the Wall” - Jewish activists seeking equal rights at the holy place where men and women pray in separate sections - have gathered there monthly for worship sessions, donning prayer shawls in defiance of Orthodox tradition.

Israeli police have detained the women in the past for wearing the “talit”. But police say they will not intervene at the next gathering, on Friday, after a judge ruled the women were breaking no law.



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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 09, 2013 at 09:11 AM ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

It's about time! If they want to buy private buses and staff them with clowns and serve kishke while the women are put in the luggage compartment, that's their choice, but this cannot happen on public buses!

2

 May 09, 2013 at 09:16 AM Anonymous Says:

There was an idea posted here about a year or two ago after another incident where some women were harrassed on an Eged bus and asked to give up their seat to some Black hat and move to the rear. The suggestion was to install used ejection seats from older model IAF fighter planes on Eged buses so when some chareidi thug seeks to coerce women to move to the back of the bus, he would be given the "kiseh hakovod" in the front of the bus and the driver would activate the ejection seat while the rest of the passengers said she'hecheyanu. Otherwise, just let him sit up front an push him out the door when the bus approaches the next big puddle. Seeing a few of these thugs sloshing around in the mud would send a clear message to show respect to every baas yisroel who gets on the bus.

3

 May 09, 2013 at 09:25 AM Shtarker Says:

The headline is misleading. The state cannot prevent men and women from choosing of their own free will to separate. However, when the separation is brought about by force, by coercion and insults, then the state has a legitimate interest to intervene.

4

 May 09, 2013 at 09:28 AM ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

5

 May 09, 2013 at 09:32 AM Tziyoinis Says:

Livni has my support in this. For an non-orthodox woman to be told where to sit is very insulting. Most of them conform only because they are scared.
We, the Chareidim, must be sensitive of their feelings.

6

 May 09, 2013 at 10:18 AM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

I am thrilled you have returned. I was worried that you took the advice of your Rebbe and decided to abandon the internet. What a loss we would have suffered. Who else would tell us how smart the Satmar rabba was. I notice that you have learned to write Israel correctly. Good for you.
Why would Mrs. Livni move to India? She lives in Israel. What goyish stuff are you objecting to? Mrs Livni merely said that anyone can take any seat. Alterg, it is sort of like NYC. If you are too frum to sit next to a woman you can always stand.
I have great hopes for you. I look forward to the day when you will become the Zionist that Hashem meant you to be

7

 May 09, 2013 at 10:26 AM ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

"ugly goyish stuff?" so much ignorance in your statements. If treating women equal is "ugly goyish stuff" ,and treating women like second class citizens by forcing them to the back of the bus is "beautiful jewish stuff", then something has gone terribly wrong in your brain

8

 May 09, 2013 at 11:00 AM OscarMadison Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

I strongly suggest you do as your rebbe says and get out of Eretz Yisroel before it's too late. Obey your master!

9

 May 09, 2013 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

Most of us are convinced that YOU ALTERG are a TROLL, and not a real Satmar.

10

 May 09, 2013 at 11:21 AM AlterHacker Says:

Very soon Moshiach will be here and then no one will have a choice because at that time the law of Torah will prevail.

11

 May 09, 2013 at 12:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Why not move the ladies to the front and men to the back. Put up a mechitza so you are not looking at the back of an isha and probelm solved. The ladies don't feel degraded while adhering to tznuis?

12

 May 09, 2013 at 12:22 PM Butterfly Says:

As far as I am concerned, the men can walk! If you want to take a pub;lic bus you OBEY the rules of the bus line not that of the Rebbe! Please try and remember the way Aseres Hadibrot were divided == 5 between adam and Hashem and 5 adam L'Chaveiro!! It seems that you have forgotten the last 5. Maybe your Rebbe shoulld remind you on Shavous!!

13

 May 09, 2013 at 12:32 PM bruderlachiloveyou Says:

do any of you guys live in israel? Did you see the picture? Did you see the caption? PROPAGANDA! Sheker!
Bus drivers usually don't let women on the front with strollers, and they make them move to the back! Bus drivers! non religious bus drivers!
1. they make the women with strollers enter from the middle/ back door of the bus, because that is where the big, open area is to put the strollers!
2. when they try to enter from the front with strollers, the BUS DRIVERS complain!
3. Women can only enter from the back? LIES! all passengers that enter from the back, the driver screams at them, many times getting out of his seat to scream at them, and then forces them to re enter through the front, men and women alike!
4. I live here! I have not once seen women being forced to enter from the back, like I said, on the contrary they are FORCED to enter from the front, and they usually enter from the front to start!
It is all nonsense, lies, total narishkeit...
I have not seen any of this claimed garbage occur, even once.
How do any of you give into this and believe this?
Im in yerushalayim.... ask anyone here....its not true.
lots of luck

14

 May 09, 2013 at 12:32 PM sane Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

I quess then that the U.S.A. is also trying to destroy Judaism by permitting men and women to sit on public buses where they please. I presume that you have never gone on a City bus, a subway or airplane yourself.

15

 May 09, 2013 at 12:33 PM CSLMoish Says:

Most of this "segregation" is self imposed! Ask any hareidi woman if she wants to sit right next to a man and she'll say no! So, if its a public route used mostly by hareidim then we act whatever is in their best self interest. "Public" refers to the "public" the people! And if the people want segregation then let them have it. Livni can un-segregate the buses all day long the majority of hareidi women will still choose to go sit in the back.

16

 May 09, 2013 at 12:35 PM bruderlachiloveyou Says:

and theres a freakin guy in the doorway of this horrible (sob) segregated bus.... a man ....

17

 May 09, 2013 at 12:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

It's about time! If they want to buy private buses and staff them with clowns and serve kishke while the women are put in the luggage compartment, that's their choice, but this cannot happen on public buses!

For someone who dares use the name of the bastion of Torah established by R Ahron z"l in his speudonum, your ignorance is only matched by your arrogance.

18

 May 09, 2013 at 12:21 PM savtat Says:

I was recently in Israel - really - 99.9% of all bus travelers are mannered and smiley and have derech eretz for one another. Don't be misled - I have seen mothers with strollers getting of a bus and random people in the street stop to help her, some are Hareidi, some are not, just a like real family would do. So, yes there are some problems, but be real. It's the extremes that make the news.

19

 May 09, 2013 at 01:06 PM Maven Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

I disagree with you.
If you want to have buses with separate seating then make a private bus company.
Requesting the official Egged buses should have segregated buses shows you don't know what being anti-Zionism really is.

You want segregated buses by the government,why? becuase its a yiddishe medina and you want it should be governed religiously.Would you ask the MTA in NY to provide separate seating for men and women? off course not. So why in Israel you would? becuase its "my" land a Yidisha Medina,right? Sorry,your wrong.

20

 May 09, 2013 at 01:06 PM ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

For someone who dares use the name of the bastion of Torah established by R Ahron z"l in his speudonum, your ignorance is only matched by your arrogance.

R Ahron would not recognize Lakewood if he saw it today. 88% of lakewood on food stamps, which leasing new hondas and pushing $800 bugapoo strollers

21

 May 09, 2013 at 01:25 PM bruderlachiloveyou Says:

p.s.s the women sit in the front. i have never been on a bus, ever that there weren't women in the front. i have never ever seen a segregated egged bus

22

 May 09, 2013 at 02:33 PM StevenWright Says:

The only reason Livni betrayed her party and joined the government is that now she can sit in the front of the Knesset and not in back.....

23

 May 09, 2013 at 04:04 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #20  
ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

R Ahron would not recognize Lakewood if he saw it today. 88% of lakewood on food stamps, which leasing new hondas and pushing $800 bugapoo strollers

Sooner or later it comes out: envy is what really animates an angry liberal.

24

 May 09, 2013 at 04:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
ALTERG Says:

Satmar rabba z"l was so right already 50 years ago that the Israel government is just here to destroy Judaism & go against hashem. mrs' livni you can move to india & nobody will bother you, why you must live in a jewish neighborhood & enforce your ugly goyish stuff? Anyway waste of time it will not gone change

The heilege "Satmar rabba" as you call him probably never told a woman to go to the back of the bus....Rav yolish may not have been much of a tziyoni, but he had the intelligence to show kavod to a woman and never abused his rebitzen as you obviously must do to your wife and other women. Mixed seating on mass transportation was ok'd by Rav Moshe, Z'tl who clearly trumps anything every said by your "Satmar rabba".

25

 May 09, 2013 at 04:50 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #23  
ShmuelG Says:

Sooner or later it comes out: envy is what really animates an angry liberal.

Liberal? Shmuel, with all due respect, you have a one track mind.

26

 May 09, 2013 at 06:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

The heilege "Satmar rabba" as you call him probably never told a woman to go to the back of the bus....Rav yolish may not have been much of a tziyoni, but he had the intelligence to show kavod to a woman and never abused his rebitzen as you obviously must do to your wife and other women. Mixed seating on mass transportation was ok'd by Rav Moshe, Z'tl who clearly trumps anything every said by your "Satmar rabba".

C'V TO belittle the holy igros moshe, but noboy came to the gonos of the divrei yoel..but you be careful of being mezalal the ivrei yoel(clearly trumps...'your' satmer....remember brochos 19a top. you put youself in jeporady with midas hadin. i know personaly one who was mezal1`el who didnt end up ingood shape

27

 May 09, 2013 at 06:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

R Ahron would not recognize Lakewood if he saw it today. 88% of lakewood on food stamps, which leasing new hondas and pushing $800 bugapoo strollers

its only 85%. those pushing 800 bugapoo an rent...are not on food stamps

28

 May 09, 2013 at 06:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

The heilege "Satmar rabba" as you call him probably never told a woman to go to the back of the bus....Rav yolish may not have been much of a tziyoni, but he had the intelligence to show kavod to a woman and never abused his rebitzen as you obviously must do to your wife and other women. Mixed seating on mass transportation was ok'd by Rav Moshe, Z'tl who clearly trumps anything every said by your "Satmar rabba".

wrong...this was the reason the Will-BPwas founded after meeting with the gedilai harabbonim in hisachdus...an its not about pushing the ladies to the back. the psak was even 'u ike arkai achrine raSHAHU' but guys like u ont know whats behind this

29

 May 09, 2013 at 06:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

"ugly goyish stuff?" so much ignorance in your statements. If treating women equal is "ugly goyish stuff" ,and treating women like second class citizens by forcing them to the back of the bus is "beautiful jewish stuff", then something has gone terribly wrong in your brain

your sinas yisroel is evien in all your posts.your ignorans just beats. it

30

 May 10, 2013 at 12:17 AM LebidikYankel Says:

I was on a public bus last night. A woman (she was frum) sat in the first seat of a bus that is separated (I think voluntarily) and no one told her a word. However the bus was - as usual - overcrowded. Because of her lounging on the seat, no one else used the space. Other women sat at the back and men did not sit in her row. I counted 12 men standing.
If this is not a lack of basic decency on her part, I do not know what is. You may personally believe that men and women ought to sit together, but please realize that you are inconveniencing others who hold by stricter rules. If you can sit elsewhere, why not accommodate your fellow Jews???

31

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