"I was reading a newspaper and the man, a very old man with white hair, began ordering me to go to the back. He said that according to the Halacha [Jewish law] women must sit at the back and called me a 'shiksa' [a derogatory term for non-Jewish women], 'holera' [literally 'cholera,' or vile] and 'dirty.'"
Move To The Back Of The Bus, “Shiksa”: College Student Shouted At, Spit On And Harassed BY Haredim
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
College student Dolev Karazi boarded Egged’s Number 319 in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv that borders the haredi city of Bnei Brak, yesterday. Karazi was heading home to her parent’s house in Nes Ziona. She took a seat near the driver and began to read a newspaper.
Soon after, several haredi men boarded the bus and, according to Karazi, one of them, an elderly man, saw her sitting in the front and demanded that the driver force her to move to the back.
"I was reading a newspaper and the man, a very old man with white hair, began ordering me to go to the back," Karazi told Israel HaYom. "He said that according to the Halacha [Jewish law] women must sit at the back and called me a 'shiksa' [a derogatory term for non-Jewish women], 'holera' [literally 'cholera,' or vile] and 'dirty.'"
"An old haredi man ordered me to move to the back. When I replied that I wasn't interested in doing that, I was shouted, cursed and spat at. I said to myself 'dear God, it's Israel in 2012, is this what you meant in your Torah?'" Karazi wrote on her Facebook page as the incident was taking place. "I stayed at the front of the bus until the end of my ride. The curses became more obscene throughout the incident. The spitting also got worse. The driver said he couldn't intervene, so I just sat there and remained silent the entire trip."
"They did not stop shouting and spitting at me for about an hour until I arrived at my parents' home. Unfortunately, there were no secular people on the bus. Except for one religious woman who told them to leave me alone, and who was quickly silenced by the men, no one was there to stand up for me," Karazi told the online newspaper.
In a statement, Egged reportedly admitted the incident took place. “The driver rejected a request by an ultra-Orthodox man to force the girl to move to the rear of the bus because he is prohibited by law from doing so."
Less than half of one percent of Egged’s are women, and none of them have ownership shares in the cooperative.
In Jerusalem, for four years Egged refused to allow ads featuring women or girls – even modestly dressed women or cartoons – to run on its buses. When Israel’s High Court of Justice was about to issue a ruling banning that practice, Egged agreed to run the ads.
Instead, it went back on its word and tried to force an advertiser to add long sleeves to women’s clothing and make other changes in the ads.
When the advertiser refused, Egged and the advertising agency contracted to handle all of Egged’s on-bus advertising decided to ban all ads with any depiction of a human being – male or female, adult or child, photograph or cartoon character.
The case is being returned to the High Court of Justice for resolution.
Additionally, incidents similar to the one Karazi experienced have taken place multiple times on Egged buses over the past several years.
In those incidents, Egged drivers most often either tried to force women to move to the back of the bus to conform with the demands of haredim, or stayed in their driver’s seat and refused to get involved at all.
Karazi is reportedly considering filing a criminal complaint over Thursday's incident.