Remember the spate of haredi attacks against women riding so-called mehadrin buses who refused to give up their seats for male haredim?
The Transportation Ministry was supposed to appoint a panel to study the issue of mehadrin buses and the treatment of women.
It did, but with one whopper of a defect…
…The seven member panel has only one woman member, and she works for the Transportation Ministry's leagal department and is charged with supporting the Ministry's decision to have mehadrin bus lines in the first place. The Jerusalem Post reports:
…In his ruling, [Justice Elyakim] Rubinstein [of the High Court of Justice] noted that the mehadrin bus lines were originally intended as an experiment. He also wrote that "The arrangement was meant to be voluntary, with no enforcement against individual travelers and with special signage on the buses."
However, detractors of the bus lines argue that segregated seating on the bus lines in question, which was intended as optional for haredi travelers, was being imposed on non-haredi passengers, and has occasionally resulted in conflicts. In one of the most well-publicized incidents, bestselling author Naomi Ragen claimed to have been verbally assaulted by a group of haredi men for refusing to move to the women's section at the back of a bus.
Ragen and other women with similar experiences petitioned the High Court against the mehadrin lines in January of 2007 in conjunction with IRAC. One woman claimed she had been left stranded on a highway at night after being put off the bus by the driver for wearing a skirt that stopped just above her knees; another wasn't allowed to board a bus because she was wearing trousers.
The original seven-member committee appointed to examine the issue included only one woman, a member of the Transport Ministry's legal department. According to IRAC's Hurvitz, the ministry will appoint more women to the new committee, but has not yet selected any. The ministry will update the High Court on the committee's revised membership on May 11.…
Characteristically, the Jerusalem Post leaves out the case of an Orthodox Canadian woman visiting Israel, a grandmother, who was beaten by haredim for refusing to move to the back of a bus in December 2006. Post columnist Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum confirmed the woman's story a week after it first broke on Dovbear's blog. Yet the Post managed to report today's story without mentioning either case.
The Post also conveniently forgets a case from October 2007 when haredim beat a woman and a Israeli soldier who tried to protect her for refusing to move to the back of a bus.
Israel – including the Jerusalem Post – needs to stop kowtowing to haredi pressure and bullying tactics. And that includes rigging panels to favor haredi desires, while it tramples on the rights and bodies of women.