(photo credit: REFAEL MIZRAHI FOR THE ADI BARKAN AGENCY)
Dror Matalon, who finished in the top five of Sunday's Miss Israel contest, received some vindication on Thursday when the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court convicted a haredi man who verbally assailed her for refusing to move to the back of an Egged bus that he claimed was a "kosher" line.
Matalon, then a 19-year-old IDF soldier, became a media sensation at the time of the December 2011 event, and was portrayed as a hero standing up for women's rights after a series of discriminatory incidents against women in ultra-Orthodox areas.
Shlomo Fox, 47, asked Matalon to move to the women's section in the back of the No. 49 bus which runs from the northern Neveh Ya’acov neighborhood through Ramat Eshkol toward the haredi neighborhood of Sanhedria. Matalon responded that seating for women was not restricted to the back of the bus.
Fox then began shouting at Matalon: "Slut, slut, slut. You have no respect. You are standing among yeshiva students and it is shameful."
According to the indictment, Fox continued yelling at Matalon in "threatening manner." Matalon then burst into tears and turned to her fellow passengers for help. They alerted police and he was arrested.
Fox was convicted of sexually harassing Matalon, in that he spoke to her in a humiliating manner because of her sex. Fox was also convicted of acting in a wild and indecent manner in a public place.
The court rejected Fox's defense that he made the comments to Matalon because she had interfered in a conversation he was having with another female passenger who was in the front portion of the bus.
On Sunday, Matalon won the title of "Israel Girl," losing out on the title "Miss Israel" to Mor Maman.