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January 13, 2011

Tel Aviv Mayor Under Fire For Allowing City's First Gender-Segregated Concert

Mann Auditorium Tel Aviv "The Mann Auditorium is one of the most important city-owned civic symbols of Tel Aviv. I don't think any of the city founders thought that someday someone would say, 'Men sit here and women sit there.'"

Tel Aviv Mayor under fire over city's first sex-segregated concert
Ultra-Orthodox singer Yaniv Ben Mashiach granted request to have women seated in the balcony during his performance.
By Ilan Lior • Ha’aretz

Mann Auditorium Tel Aviv Ultra-Orthodox singer Yaniv Ben Mashiach is planning to give the first sex-segregated concert in the 53-year history of Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium, making the hall the latest site of clashes between Haredi customs and secular sensibilities.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was asked this week to ban sex segregation at next month's concert, and any other performances, in municipal venues.

"The Mann Auditorium is one of the most important civic symbols of Tel Aviv," said Yifat Zamir, who heads WePower, one of several women's groups that asked Huldai this week to refuse to allow segregated performances. "I don't think any of the city founders thought that someday someone would say, 'Men sit here and women sit there.'"

But Huldai said that as a democratic and pluralist city, Tel Aviv respects all people and their ways of life, and therefore allows municipal buildings to be rented out for various events.

The Tel Aviv municipality provides much of the funding for the Mann Auditorium.

Ben Mashiach, who sings songs with Jewish themes, had previously asked the auditorium for separate seating at the concert, meaning that men would sit in the main section and women would sit in the upstairs balcony. His concerts are usually overseen by "modesty guards" who enforce the segregation.

'Fundamentalist circles'

Tamar Zandberg, a city council member who heads the municipality's committee on women's rights, also asked Huldai to ban such a "chauvinist and primitive practice."

"It's inconceivable that this humiliating, chauvinist and primitive practice will take place in a municipal concert hall, in Tel Aviv," Zandberg wrote in a letter to the mayor. "It's a custom that has nothing to do with Jewish or religious life. It has sprung up suddenly in dark, fundamentalist circles and it has been growing ever wider. These methods of excluding women should not be accepted even in ultra-Orthodox society, most certainly not in municipal institutions in the heart of Tel Aviv. There's no consent to speak of in a society that oppresses and humiliates women. These women lack a real free choice."

Ben Mashiach's manager, Eli Melamed, said separate seating was a norm among the ultra-Orthodox, and that the singer's audience demanded it. He also asked why the petitioners didn't make the same demand of Orthodox synagogues, where women sit in balconies or behind barriers.



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I think that anyone who is against seperate seating at the concert should boycot the concert! Anyway, why would anyone want to hear a haredi sing.


A person can do whatever they wish to, if they want to boycott separate seating, fine with me, if not, not...

The second statement, though, is very offensive. One, Haredim are ppl too, and just like all groups, you have those who are very good, and those who are bad apples. Unfortunately, we're seeing a lot of bad apples these days, but there are a lot of very good ppl too, and by saying what you did, you maligned those people greatly. Two, there are some very good singers among the Haredi crowd. Whether Yaniv Ben Mashiach is or not, I don't know, nor do I really care...

These spats about segregated seating and buses and streets are all of a piece. They are going to continue and get worse. Demographics is destiny and demographics are with traditional Jewry. There is only one cure. So when are liberal Israeli Jews going to start making babies again?

This isn't new. This fight is centuries old. The Old Maskilim tried but failed to crush traditional Jewish culture in Germany and Russia, and the New Maskilim (secular Israelis) will also fail.

The Old Maskilim tried to get the Tsar to force Jews to learn goyish subjects like math and science, German and Russian and to join the army. They failed. And the New Maskilim (who are trying to do exactly the same thing) will fail as well.

Being outnumbered, Jews left Russia in droves. It is different now. Torah-true Jews are not outnumbered in Israel and will not leave. In fact, due to their shrinking numbers, the New Maskilim are the ones that will ultimately leave Israel as their attempts to force goy assimilation on traditional Jewry fails.

What was the recent Israeli Supreme Court segregated bus decision ("segregation is OK, but you have to be nice about it") but a strategic (and rather pathetic) retreat by the New Maskilim. The Court looked down the barrel of the Haredi gun ... and blinked.

Without babies, the New Maskilim have no future in Israel. Secular Jewish women would rather abort than "be fruitful and multiply". Demographics is Destiny. So get cranky and shuffle the deck chairs all you want. It will change nothing.

Haredi Uber Alles!

Maybe the City of Tel Aviv can rent out its concert hall to Neo-Nazis, and the Nazis can keep Jews from attending their party meetings, not that too many Jews would go even if they could.

It's the same thing with segregated seating. This is a public venue, not a privately-owned Orthodox shul.

Shame on the mayor of Tel Aviv for allowing this to happen. Let these haredi fucks perform in Teheran.

Shame on the mayor of Tel Aviv for allowing this to happen. Let these haredi fucks perform in Teheran.

I don't think so, Mr Apikoros.
This is not the same as segregated buses. The buses are a public service, and there is an element of coercion in segregation that in my opinion shouldn't be allowed to take place.
In the case of the Mann auditorium however, it is a Haredi enterprise that is booking/renting(?) the venue & nobody is coerced to attend or pay fees, it is also nobodies business how people are seated.
In my opinion, (and I am not haredi for that matter) it is even disgusting to protest the right of haredim access to the Mann auditorium!
Screw Yifat Zamir, her WePower, the several women's groups that asked Huldai this week to refuse to allow segregated performances.
The city founders she speaks off didn't build the Mann auditorium that was built in the 60's - and Mann built a public venue that is booked by any law abiding group for any legal purpose.
Yifat Zamir doesn't have to attend and doesn't have to be subjected to 'Men sit here and women sit there.'".
She can have coit with her partner male or female any place she likes as long as it is done without disturbing the peace.

The same people who are falling over themselves to condemn this would be the first people who would attack anyone who opposed a Muslim singer's request for a separate-seating performance. When it's someone else's culture they're all so tolerant. When it's their own, not so much.

News story + FM comments = hyperbole-fest.

Garnel - 100% correct. Amazing how the same people who always champion "democracy" are in favor of legally preventing individuals from exercising religious freedom. Nobody is forcing secular israelis to go to the concert, so whats their problem? I think separate seating is ridiculous, but hey - if u want to hyper - suppress ur sexuality to the point of weirdness, its your Gd given right to do so.

Problem is, it's in a public venue. If the Hasids wanna have a "rock" concert in Yankee Stadium, fine; that's owned by those great Jews, the Steinbrenner family (who got lots of funding from NYC).

Those of you who are Constitutional scholars, ponder this: Suppose Billy and Franklin Graham held a revival meeting in a public arena, one that's owned by the taxpayers. Suppose they forced blacks and whites to sit separately. Would that be legal? Don't think so.

(Actually, in the USA, with rare exceptions, it would be illegal to sex-segregate in a public arena which is privately owned as well, unless you're talking about bathrooms.)


In the USA, this would be strictly against the law. This is a concert, not a religious service.

I get your point about this not being an "essential" service such as a bus line. No, you don't have to buy tickets to see these "musicians" perform (and they're rockers like I'm Shaquille O'Neal). But one can argue that you can walk or take a cab, too.

How about a hotel? Under U.S. law, it's a place of public accomodation; discrimination on the basis of race, sex, etc. is strictly verboten. The haredim can also argue that you don't have to stay in this sex-segregated hotel; there are plenty of others, and this goes for restaurants too.

In a democracy, which Israel is, this kind of nonsense should be strictly outlawed. It's legal in shitholes like Iran.

We're sending American boys to Afghanistan to bring democracy there, so that Taliban shits can't force women to wear burkhas and to be treated like shit. As long as Israel allows such practices to continue and flourish, I can't support Israel except in matters of life and death.

So if it's a public venue does that mean that all performances must meet some "public standard" or does it mean that the venue must accommodate any performances the public might want to see?
It's a public venue but it's a private function. All members of the public can rent the place but the place itself can't impose some kind of public standard on them.

Shmuely | January 13, 2011 at 08:42 AM Being outnumbered, Jews left Russia in droves. It is different now. Torah-true Jews are not outnumbered in Israel and will not leave.

What "Torah-true" Jews are you talking about? Certainly not the Charedim. If they were Torah-true they would not refuse to work or fight.

They can show any kind of concert, pro wrestling match, or other exhibition they like, and in the USA, it really doesn't matter if it's publicly owned or not.

With certain exceptions, a religious service being one of them, the promoters cannot discriminate.

You can read the various statutes on public accomodations. I'm sure at least the major ones are available on the internet.

Israeli law should work the same as here but the chickenshits in the Knesset are ignoring it to appease the Haredi vermin.

Why stop at segregating men and women? One could also segregate by race and Jewish, non-Jewish and those with questionable conversions. (And of course, the Charedi pedophiles should be segregated from the children.)

What exactly is the definition of public facility in this case?
If we're talking a facility where there are specific societal rules that must be followed and that this place is one which is owned by the city of Tel Aviv and in which it is against the rules to segregate men and women, the complainers would have a point.
If this is a public facility in that it is owned by the "public" (ie the city of Tel Aviv) but is available for rentals to private groups, then why should public rules apply to private groups that have paid money to do what they want with the facility?
Even David's example is wrong because the problem with discrimination is unequal access to something - blacks getting dirtier washrooms or women not being allowed on certain buses. In this case, both groups - men and women - get equal access to the facilities. They both get to watch the concert, the women probably from a better vantage point. What's so offensive here? Who's being denied something fundamental?

If it's open to the general public, regardless of whether or not admission is charged, it's a public facility. Yankee Stadium is a public facility, and is subject to the laws regarding public accommodations. Whether the ghost of George Steinbrenner owns it, or his sons own it, or if the taxpayers of New York State own it is irrelevant.

What's offensive, ironbrain, is that you refuse to learn the law, much less obey it.

Somebody ought to get a giant magnet, Ironheart, lift you up by the kishkas, and drop you in the middle of the ocean. It would give a new meaning to one of my favorite Yiddish phrases, Gai kocken affen yam.

Very nice, Mr. Apikorus. I see that reasonable dialogue is about as meaningful to you as a fish to a panda bear.
Let's take the example of Yankee Stadium. There are all sorts of municipal rules governing what can and can't be done there by private groups. Even if I rented the whole place out for myself, I couldn't go against those rules. Fine.
Now, does Tel Aviv have a municipal rule that all events there must be mixed seating? If a radical feminist group wanted to hold a conference there and decided to limit admission to women only, would there be this same protest?
If there's no law or bylaw against this, then who cares? It's a private function, the group is paying applicable fees and rents for use of the facilities. What does it bother other people?

Garnel, the problem with discrimination is not "unequal access to something." The Supreme Court in the US has ruled that separate but equal is not equal. Your argument that separate but equal is not discrimination was the theory under which segregation was allowed to be maintained. The Supreme Court rejected that theory in its decision in Brown v. Board of Ed. If you are not familiar with that case or the history, I suggest (at a minimum) reading the Wikipedia entries.

Btw, I realize that Brown v. Board of Ed does not apply in Israel, but I am using it as an example to illustrate that Garnel's "there's no discrimination if there's equal access" argument just doesn't hold up as a philosophical matter. The US Supreme Court understood that by 1954. Maybe one day Garnel will too.

Temper, temper Jason, your intolerance is showing.
The US Supreme Court defined discrimination a certain way. Then you note it doesn't apply in Israel. And this is happening in Israel. So who cares about the American definition?
Besides, there's also the issue about this whole thing being voluntary.
I can understand buses. People need buses and many times they don't have alternatives. I can understand banks and other such places. But attending a concert isn't a right. If someone wants to have a separate seated concert, advertises it as such and then legally rents out a facility that has no bylaws against such a thing in a country that doesn't define discrimination like the US does, then who cares?

Temper? Intolerance? Are we reading the same thing that I wrote?

You are correct in one respect. US law has no bearing on Israel. I was addressing your more general point that "the problem with discrimination is unequal access to something - blacks getting dirtier washrooms or women not being allowed on certain buses." On that point, you are wrong. At least according to the US Supreme Court (and most thinking people). They are not the Bnei Brak bet din, but they do know a little something.

While U.S. law has no bearing on Israel, the U.S. taxpayer subsidizes Israel (and Egypt) to the tune of $5 billion each, annually.

In addition, many American Jews feel the need to donate money to Israel. If these kind of stupid incidents continue, and by all evidence, they're growing, over time, the participation of secular American Jews in Israeli life will diminish.

For example, there
s no reason why Michael Steinhardt can't rename Birthright Israel as Birthright Deutschland, and send 25,000 young men and women each year to enjoy 10 days in Das Vaterland, starting with the town of Steinhardt itself (it's in the Rhineland, near Ramstein AFB). Better beer, prettier women and faster cars. And there's not the question of racial, sexual, or religious discrimination. Those days ended for good in 1945.

How about this, folks (from Vos iz Neias)?

Washington - New York’s Sen. Charles Schumer is endorsing a proposal to mix Republicans and Democrats without a dividing aisle for the State of the Union speech to show unity after the Arizona tragedy.

Schumer says the idea by Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado is a great way to start off the new session in a bipartisan manner, in keeping with President Barack Obama’s call for more civil political discourse.

In a speech Wednesday, Obama called for Americans to act in a way that honors those who died and survived the Tucson shooting a week ago that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Schumer is chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee.

Obama’s State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress is Jan. 25.

So many who lose focus.

The building's design, planning, building, and operations are primarily the fruit of public funding. This is a closed issue. Asking a politician to be honest is like saying "Haredi are people, too." That is moot.

Thank goodness for "WePower" and other groups and individuals who stand up to bullies. And, if the mayor caves in to the bad guys, let us please obey (with thanks to) @David, above,
for his "(And of course, the Charedi pedophiles should be segregated from the children.)" Hear, hear!

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