Two haredi men ordered a 22-year-old woman to move to the back of a public bus yesterday. When she refused, the men allegedly shouted that she was “impure” and began loudly reciting prayers and screaming insults at her.
Haredim Order Woman To Move To Back Of Bus, Scream At And Insult Her When She Refuses; Bus Driver Does Not Intercede
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Two haredi men ordered a 22-year-old woman to move to the back of a public bus yesterday, the Times of Israel reported. When she refused, the men allegedly shouted that she was “impure” and began loudly reciting prayers and screaming insults at her.
When the woman still refused to move, one of the men allegedly sat on the steps of the bus opposite the driver so he could be in front of her rather than behind her.
The bus driver did not stop the bus and apparently did nothing to intervene.
Israel’s High Court of Justice has ruled that forced gender segregation by haredim in public spaces, including public buses, is illegal.
Israel’s public bus companies, however, have nearly uniformly failed to enforce the High Court’s ruling. Police and the government have also done little to enforce it, even though incidents like the one reported above have become increasingly common.
Until last month’s national elections, the government of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu needed the votes of haredi parties to stay in power.
While this is no longer true, Netanyahu is avery unpopular figure in Israeli politics and the leaders of other large non-haredi parties are more popular. This causes Netanyahu to be protective of his haredi former coalition partners because Netanyahu realizes that he may very well need them again in the near future.
When the driver did nothing, the woman’s younger sister called police who sent squad cars to intercept the bus. Police boarded and questioned only one of the men who yelled at the woman. (The Times of Israel, in yet another example of its reporting and editing incompetence, does not explain why the other man and the driver were not questioned.)
The woman reportedly complained to police that she felt threatened and unsafe because of what the men had done.
The intercity Egged bus was traveling from Sefat in Israel’s north to Ashdod, a heavily haredi city on central Israel’s southwestern coastline.