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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem

Digest about Voluntary Gender Segregation on the Light Rail:


“A Haredi Suggestion: All men should stand at the front of the rearmost train car on the light rail in order to minimize ‘friction with women and thereby observe the laws of purity and modesty.'” [1]

– Mynet Jerusalem

[Selected comments:]
-“I suggest that they do not go on the train at all and then there will be total separation!”
– “We really cannot let such a thing happen! A. The train is already crammed enough. B. What will we do with tourists? How will we begin to explain to them that they are forbidden to travel freely? C. Why do I have to suffer so that they must not look? They can walk. D. Light rail/buses are forms of *public* transportation, as indicated by its name! These are public services, no one has the right to restrict the passengers while traveling.”

"‘Voluntary Segregation’ is what they’re calling the initiative attempting to forbid women from boarding a train car only for men.
Yes, the brochure's [photo attached] distributors are asking not to desecrate the name of God [2] while enforcing the segregation, but past experience shows that slowly, it’ll turn into violence, physical and verbal.
So as not to ‘hurt their feelings,’ women are excluded at the Western Wall. From there, it spread to other places, like in academia, on buses, and, now, on the Light Rail. It’s time to put an end to this rolling snowball!
The Western Wall is simply the steam engine of women’s exclusion in the country."

– Women of the Wall [3]

[Selected Comment:]
– "I’m for blindfolds for the Haredis, so that they won’t be able to see. Maybe then they’ll calm down. Then they’ll walk around blind and look for people willing to lead them."

"One word – No! We won’t agree to segregation on the Light Rail. If you’ve been asked to move to a different car, or to move to make space for men, write to us exactly when and where, and we will contact CityPass [4]."

– Yerushalmim, Jerusalemite party

[Selected Comments:]
– "This is the most ridiculous thing one could possibly hear in a liberal country in 2018. Gender separation in public spaces? […]"
– "As a woman light years away from the Haredi world, I have to say that it could be nice to choose to ride on a car only for women. Especially during times when cars are packed. I sat in a train car like that in India and it was great. I admit that the connection to Haredis and gender separation for modesty purposes can anger me. But if I put [all that] aside, I can enjoy it."
– [In response:] "Hey Haddas, there’s a huge difference between women who organize like this to prevent harassment and a group of men who cause the exclusion of women. We saw what happened on ‘Mehadrin’ buses [5]…"
– "They want segregation? I’m for segregation. A separation between us and them. Whoever can’t stand a woman by him on the train shouldn’t board it. That’s a great kind of segregation, in my eyes. No person will prevent me, or any of my fellow women, from boarding the train and sitting wherever we want. You should be ashamed. […]"

0202 Editor's notes:
[1] The photo shows a flyer that has been circulated to spread the word about this new gender separation suggestion.
Extract from the text on the flyer: "[…] Starting today, with God's help, we will gather on every train ride on the light rail in the front of the rear carriage. [This should be done] calmly and without causing an embarrassment to God's name. By gathering all of the members of the Torah community there, we will create a more modest and pure environment. Of course, the dear girls should be asked to find somewhere else to sit. […]"
The flyer is not credited to any individual or group and it is unclear where it originated and who is behind it.
[2] The warning is not to desecrate of the name of god by behaving in such a way that will cause hatred toward god or religion.
[3] An organization working against the exclusion of women in the Israeli public space, usually focused on exclusion at the Western Wall.
[4] CityPass is the company that operates the Light Rail in Jerusalem.
[5] Buses that serve the Haredi public on which men and women sit separately – men at the front, and women at the back.

#Public_Transportation #Modesty #Religion Women of the Wall Nashot HaKotel