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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem

News Digest regarding Skating Rink



Only 4 days of separation – out of two months.

In preparation for summer vacation, the Jerusalem Municipality organized an ice skating rink for families in the Arena complex. But as every year in recent years, the Jerusalem Municipality has chosen to devote a ridiculously small period of time to the Haredi sector, while two full months are devoted to the general sector.
Ariel, the municipal company that operates the Arena and manages the event, announced that four days of the two months during which the complex will operate will be conducted in full separation.
As is every year, the ultra-Orthodox sought to have separate hours for men and women. This year, Safra Square decided to respond to the demand and decided that for four hours there would be a separation between the skating hours for men and women.
In recent years, the number of ultra-Orthodox children in Jerusalem has increased to 50% of the city's children, but they are only receiving crumbs of what is allocated for the general sector.
In recent years, Haredi representatives have subsidized prices for the ultra-Orthodox sector, but what they have not succeeded in doing is to expand the activities for Haredi children.
Sharp criticism was heard from Haredi officials saying, "With a huge representation at the municipality, along with ultra-Orthodox advisors and huge Haredi growth in the Jerusalem area, the ultra-Orthodox public is still just excess baggage … It is inconceivable that Haredi representatives will boast with four days compared to two months for the general sector", the sources said.
Councilman Pini Ezra responded: "In recent years, there has been a revolution in ultra-Orthodox culture, in order to give the haredi sector what it deserves rightfully, and not by grace. We are doing four whole days that are fitted to the ultra-Orthodox sector for the ice skating rink as well. "
Ezra adds: "I understand the complaints asking why it is only four days, but we must remember that this is a revolution that has not taken place in the past, it was not a simple task to carry out these four days of full separation, with the full backing of Mayor Nir Barkat. This is still not full equality For the ultra-Orthodox sector, but down the line we will reach that as well. "



"Good morning to all supporters of multiculturalism that don’t understand the problem of having 4 days of separation [between men and women] in a family activity i.e. ice skating. The question is in which Jerusalem (and state) you want to live in: In a city in which Haredis enjoy their time at a mix-gender fountain, or in a city with separate libraries."

– Yael Freidson, West Jerusalemite Activist and Journalist

[Selected Comments:]
– "I understand that you are in favor of imposing values. We’ll bring that up during the struggle surrounding Mahne Yuda and the First Station [1]."
– [Original Poster in Response:] "Yes, I am against imposing values of modesty on the rest of society using public funding."

– "I don’t want to live in a Jerusalem (and a state) in which entire communities are discriminated against for the sake of lofty morals."
– [Original Poster in Response:] "Ice skating isn’t a basic human right that is being denied from the Haredis […] No one is forcing them to do anything or discriminating against them. They are just not being offered an extra-ordinary service [because] it will harm equality in society."
– [In response:] "That isn’t an ‘extra’ service, they pay property tax like everyone else."

0202 Editor's Notes:
[1] Mahne Yehuda and the First Station are two recreational areas of shopping, restaurants and nightlife in Jerusalem. Their mode of operation has been criticized repeatedly in the past by Haredi leaders who believe they do not suit religious Jewish law and are harmful to the general enviroment. Recently, a struggle for the closure of the First Station on Sabbath was concluded with permission to continue operating as it has in the past, being open on the Sabbath as well.

#Sabbath #Religion #Municipal_Services #Gender