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November 08, 2011

Haredi Forced Gender Segregation Increases In Israel

Alleged victimPosters depicting women have become rare in the streets of Israel's capital. In some areas women have been shunted onto separate sidewalks, and buses and health clinics have been gender-segregated. The military has considered reassigning some female combat soldiers because religious men don't want to serve with them. This is the new reality in parts of 21st-century Israel, where ultra-Orthodox rabbis are trying to contain the encroachment of secular values on their cloistered society through a fierce backlash against the mixing of the sexes in public.

 

Gender segregation on rise in Israel
AMY TEIBEL

JERUSALEM, Israel (AP) -- Posters depicting women have become rare in the streets of Israel's capital. In some areas women have been shunted onto separate sidewalks, and buses and health clinics have been gender-segregated. The military has considered reassigning some female combat soldiers because religious men don't want to serve with them.

This is the new reality in parts of 21st-century Israel, where ultra-Orthodox rabbis are trying to contain the encroachment of secular values on their cloistered society through a fierce backlash against the mixing of the sexes in public.

On the surface, Israel's gender equality bona fides seem strong, with the late Golda Meir as a former prime minister, Tzipi Livni as the current opposition leader, and its women soldiers famed around the world.

Reality is not so shiny. The World Economic Forum recently released an unfavorable image of women's earning power in Israel, and in 2009, the last year for which data are available, Israeli women earned two-thirds what men did.

The newly enforced separation is felt most strongly in Jerusalem, where ultra-Orthodox Jews are growing in numbers and strength. The phenomenon is starting to be seen elsewhere, though in the Tel Aviv region, Israel's largest metropolis, secular Jews are the vast majority, and life there resembles most Western cities.

Still, secular Jews there and elsewhere in Israel worry that their lifestyles could be targeted, too, because the ultra-Orthodox population, while still relatively small, is growing significantly. Their high birthrate of about seven children per family is forecast to send their proportion of the population, now estimated at 9 percent, to 15 percent by 2025.

Though categorizing is difficult, it is estimated that about one-quarter of Israel's 6 million Jews are modern Orthodox, another quarter are traditional and the rest secular.

Numbers aside, the ultra-Orthodox wield disproportionate power in Israel's fragmented political system.

"The stronger the ultra-Orthodox and religious community grows, the greater its attempt to impose its norms," said Hannah Kehat, the founder of the religious women's forum Kolech. Their norms, she said, are "segregation of women and discrimination against them."

Ultra-Orthodox Jews around the world have long frowned upon the mixing of the sexes in their communities, but the attempt to apply this prohibition in public spaces is relatively new in Israel.

Israel's ultra-Orthodox, known for their black garb and flowing sidelocks, began testing gender segregation years ago when ultra-Orthodox men started ordering women on certain bus lines to sit at the back of buses traveling through their neighborhoods.

The practice, also adopted in some ultra-Orthodox communities in the United States, was successfully challenged in Israel's Supreme Court, and Kehat says women have been filing far fewer complaints about their treatment on buses. The vast majority of Israeli bus lines have never been segregated.

But buses weren't the last stop on the gender-segregation ride.

Some supermarkets in ultra-Orthodox communities, once content to urge women patrons to dress modestly with long-sleeved blouses and long skirts, have now assigned separate hours for men and women — another practice seen in ultra-Orthodox communities in the U.S. Some health clinics have separate entrances and waiting rooms for men and women.

Meni Shwartz-Gera, an ultra-Orthodox journalist, says strict observance of modesty is a pillar of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and is being "wickedly" misrepresented as demeaning to women. People who dislike it can choose different options like supermarkets without special hours for men and women, he said.

"The purpose is not to denigrate women," he said.

Israel's Supreme Court disagrees.

Last month, the court ordered the dismantling of barriers erected in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood meant to keep women and men from walking on the same sidewalk during a religious ceremony that drew tens of thousands to the enclave's narrow streets.

Gender segregation "began with buses, continued with supermarkets and reached the streets," Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch was quoted as saying during the court hearing. "It's not going away, just the opposite."

The Jerusalem city councilwoman who brought the case before the court, herself a religious [Zionist Orthodox] Jew, was fired by secular Mayor Nir Barkat.

Barkat, who rose to power vowing to scale back the growing influence of an ultra-Orthodox population that accounts for one-third of the city's 750,000 people, said he dismissed Rachel Azaria because she sued the city, not because she faced off against the ultra-Orthodox in court.

For years, advertisers have been covering up female models on billboards in Jerusalem and other communities with large ultra-Orthodox populations. Ultra-Orthodox have defaced such ads and vendors faced ultra-Orthodox boycotts of companies whose mores they deplore.

Recently, the voluntary censorship has gone beyond the scantily clad: Women are either totally absent from billboards, or, as with one clothing company's ads, only hinted at by a photo of a back, an arm and a purse.

Over the summer, Jerusalem inaugurated a long-awaited light rail with a major outdoor advertising campaign. The rail line is touted as a marvel of 21st-century technology, but there are no women's faces on any of the billboards affixed to its sides.

Advertisers acknowledge ultra-Orthodox pressure.

Ohad Gibli, deputy director of marketing for the Canaan advertising agency, confirmed Monday that his company advised a transplant organization to drop pictures of women in their campaigns in Jerusalem and the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak for fear of a violent backlash.

"We have learned that an ad campaign in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak that includes pictures of women will remain up for hours at best, and in other cases, will lead to the vandalization and torching of buses," he told Army Radio.

Barkat told reporters recently that "It's illegal to forbid" advertising women. But "in Jerusalem, you've got to use common sense if you want to advertise something. It's a special city, it's a holy city with sensitivities for Muslims, for Christians, for ultra-Orthodox."

If women are being figuratively erased from the city's advertising landscape, then there are also attempts afoot by the devout to muzzle them.

In September, nine religious soldiers walked out of a military event because women were singing — an act that extremely devout Jews claim conjures up lustful thoughts. The military expelled four of them from an officers' course because they refused to apologize for disobeying orders to stay.

But in a separate case, the army notified four female combat soldiers that they might have to leave their artillery battalion to make way for religious male soldiers who object to the mixing of the sexes.

Comments

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Lets hope that this meshugas remains contained to Jerusalem and does not spread all the way to Tel-Aviv and Haifa! Then we are in real trouble.

I am curious if the haredi women care, after all it is they that are being repressed the most.

Segregation?

First the women, then the blacks, then the secular.

It offends me that I might see a woman - so blot out her image. Blacks are offensive - so blot them out. The secular are enemies of Torah - so blot them out, too.

Well, the haredi takeover is happening fast and the only opposition is basically fawning all over them, hoping to get their support for knesset coalitions.

Short sighted morons who deserve what they get, the complete destruction of Israel as a democratic, Zionist homeland of ALL the Jewish people, not just a select, ignorant, contemptuous, medieval group who, by the way, breed like rabbits.

Anyone who expects the haredim to respect democracy or decency needs to have their head examined.

They want total control on all levels. Then they will ruthlessly crush any opposition to haredi rule.

These people are the greatest enemy of the Jewish people and must be treated as such.

"Meni Shwartz-Gera, an ultra-Orthodox journalist, says strict observance of modesty is a pillar of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and is being "wickedly" misrepresented as demeaning to women. People who dislike it can choose different options like supermarkets without special hours for men and women, he said."

what happens if that is the only store in my area

what happens if the hours they say woman can go if not convenient for a woman

wow haven't we heard all the excuse that the

wow Israel is becoming like the south during segregation and they are using the same lame excuses

of course the is about power since the men get the better seats, my guess would be better hours to shop and so on.

maybe if they thing they canm seperate and say you can shop or go somehwre else

the secular should say

you must shop in our stores in shorts the men and woman in bikinis walk hand in hand with a woman even a woman who is in niddha or not your wife

and if you do not like it

shop elsewhere, use a different bus and so

I am curious if the haredi women care, after all it is they that are being repressed the most.

Posted by: p | November 08, 2011 at 06:30 PM

it is hard to tell since that is all they know they are so used to it. It is not like they where educated in both views and then made a choice

just like any woman in the arab world or some black just accepted segregation in the south and would not even think of sitting in the front

PS there are many frum woman who think it is crazy and demeaning

if i remember correctly zev Brenner said he mother refuses to use any bus that segregates the woman for that very reason

why is the israeli government sitting and doing nothing

sephardic ex judaism

The government consists of members of coalitions.

They almost all depend on the theocratic parties ( yes, that is what they are) to build a majority and rule.

So these bullies get control over whatever they want as their price for support.

I know of no way that they can be stopped legally.

Their astronomical birthrate coupled with their insistence on "my way or the highway" makes them invincible.

I know that many people here suggest solutions but in order for them to be implemented the haredim have to agree.

They may be dumb but that dumb they aren't.

They have us by the balls and they have no intention of letting go. If it weren't for the Russians in Israel, they would have taken over long ago.

An example from the good ole USA.

In Teaneck, NJ the local Jewish paper published an announcement of the engagement of two Jewish gay men.

Immediately afterwards the local frumiks got their rabbonim to threaten the paper.

You either ban such announcements in the future or we will not only boycott anyone who advertises in the paper ( its source of income) but also cancel the hashgokho of such establishments.

The story ran in the NY Times and all over the media.

In the end the paper caved and agreed to refuse to carry such announcements.

That is just a very small example of what they do.

They use fear, threats, intimidation to get their way.

And, like cockroaches, once they get in you will never get rid of them.

There is a balance between advertising that is over sexualised and a complete banning of women being depicted. I personally pay little heed to advertising anyway. It can be a strange industry. If you look at old newspapers from America in the 1870's the ads were very plain and simple. If anything I definitely veer towards the "less overt advertising is better" way of thinking.

This whole gender segregation issue has become too extreme. Golden mean anyone ?

Women may be invisible in the photos, but plenty of haredi publications have women editors and writers.

Shmarya does not like to provide the full story.

Women may be invisible in the photos, but plenty of haredi publications have women editors and writers.

Shmarya does not like to provide the full story.
----------
Oh, please. Segregation is segregation. And tell me where those women have to sit when they ride to work? at the back of the bus. And when they walk after getting off the bus, they have to move aside for men. Spare us your lies about how wonderful they have it.

Like it or not,by the year 2021, the majority of Israelis will be Chareidi. When an ex head of Mossad tells you about Israels future,believe it. As religious Jews this is music to our ears.

I have just one question: Who put them in charge?

So the Chareidi public is being accussed of forcing their norms on the secular public.
Lets see attempting to force Chassidim in Meah Shearim to allow mingling of the sexes is called forcing norms on secularists?
Forcing Supermarkets catering to Chareidim to have mixed checkouts is called foring norms on secularists?
I think not.
In reality its the secular public that has a low birthrate with no future that is afraid of the Chareidim and is attempting to force their norrms, their versions of equality and "human rights" on the Chareidi public.
I wonder if the right to be objectified is also a bedrock of secular society since that is ecatly what using a half naked women to try and sell a bottle of beer is.

Israel is becoming the state of right wing jewish anarchy.

I have just one question: Who put them in charge?

Posted by: esty | November 09, 2011 at 12:30 AM

Ben Gurion. It was a fatal error. He doomed Israel from the beginning.

BL, There is nothing wrong with the a minority being forced to behave in accordance with norms held by a majority that is made law. This is a consequence of having equality of law within a democracy.

The Hareidim refuse to accept the principle of equality of law. They will claim that they are exempt from democratic law in that they form a separate segment of society subject to their own laws. So for example, a Jew in Kiryas Yoel is no more much subject to the laws of New York and the USA as is he to the laws of Mexico. This is the Jewland argument.

Of course some will try to sugar the Jewland argument. A few days ago Gevezener Chossid posted

"I do believe, however, that the rights of Haredim and Yemnenites, Sephardim and all other cultural minorities in Israel and in the rest of the world should be respected and protected and that the rest of us could learn alot from them."

The 'rights' that Gevezener Chossid was calling for 'respect' and 'protection' are not those available to others and are in effect a call for the abandonment of the principle of equality before the law which is the foundation of democracy and enlightenment. These 'rights' would be far less extensive for these minorities than would be available for the majority. You cannot both belief in human rights being universal and in certain groups having different rights worthy of protection.

Clermont–Tonnerre speech of 1789 remains applicable today to those like Gevezener Chossid and BL who argue for special laws or exemption for laws for Jews

"But, they say to me, the Jews have their own judges and laws. I respond that is your fault and you should not allow it. We must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation and accord everything to Jews as individuals. We must withdraw recognition from their judges; they should only have our judges. We must refuse legal protection to the maintenance of the so-called laws of their Judaic organization; they should not be allowed to form in the state either a political body or an order. They must be citizens individually. But, some will say to me, they do not want to be citizens. Well then! If they do not want to be citizens, they should say so, and then, we should banish them. It is repugnant to have in the state an association of non-citizens, and a nation within the nation. . . . In short, Sirs, the presumed status of every man resident in a country is to be a citizen."

Thank God that the USA was founded on these principles.

The Hareidim need not worry about secular Israelis complaints should they become politically powerful. The secular Israelis will leave themselves so to avoid poverty and give their daughters a future. The Hareidim will then enjoy a future as rosy as that they had in Hungary 1944.

Barry, this is not a game. Jews can not give up Israel in order to placate Haredim. They waited for it for almost 2000 years and finally got the country and you propose just to walk away. This is insane suggestion.

Israel needs their own version of the Slutwalk ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SlutWalk ). It began in North America as a "protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman's appearance." Israelis can do the something similar - just replace 'rape' with 'enforced segregation', and 'a woman's appearance', in this case, can also include all the things we have been reading about: an elbow, a female shape in an ad, and so on ... basically being erased from the public sphere.

The coming civil war in Israel can be averted by the establishment of secular laws that would effectively reduce or eliminate the power of the theocratic parties.

Simply: National service (Armed forces)= citizenship and the right to vote. This effectively would curtail their power. It sounds like it came from a movie, which it did, but Israel is dangerously close to becoming a state that is extremist ultra orthodox.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere between the exclusion of women from advertising altogether and the extreme use of women in bikinis and the depersonalization of women found in western advertising in the US for just about anything. Open any magazine in the US and you will find ads using women's bodies to sell everything from beer, cars, purfume etc. Sex sells in the US. I don't know which is worse, the exclusion of women as demanded by the Haredi or the use of women as sex objects by the media here. I don't know how many halloween costumes I saw here that encouraged young girls to show off body parts they don't even have yet.

Rosebud, the Haredi way is objectification/fetishization of women, every bit as much as the Western way is.

Posted by: B.L | November 09, 2011 at 02:00 AM

low birth rate

the only way the hassids can have a hight birth rate is because the secular work and support them
and maybe shnor for others

if they would need to make it on their own they simply would not make it or just create a third world country. third world countries also have hight birth rate and uneducated people

the hassids can only survive because of the secular or because they have no morals and cheat and connive for government programs
in Isreal and here in the us
where very few weeks there is another scandel


Do we want to allow Israel to become a haredi theocracy?

Absolutely not.

But I see no way that this can be legally averted.

They have demographics and politics on their side.

We do not.

What a tragedy that after all is said and done it will not be the Nazis, Arabs or Iranians who destroy Israel.

The final death blow will be from the haredim, the enemy within.

That first comment says everything about you, Btooke! It is so true; your generosity of spirit is palpable; and everyone can hear it and feel it when reading your words!
Dear Elizabeth can hear it and feel it!

You are a rare lovely creature! And Steve and the rest of your family are rare creatures as well!

Patina Farm will be the most heavenly place......and we are all so so lucky to be able to see it from" vacant lot" To "farm heaven on earth"!

I will try to make "Big Daddy's opening" on Saturday! I really will!

Penelope

ps you know that chair that has all that funny stuffing? I found out what it is! The very best upholstery used "curly boar hair; and curly horse hair" Those were the best made chairs.......and they still are!

De Angelis in New York City! I think they are still the top of the top!

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