A planned, gender separate Student Day event in Jerusalem for religious and haredi students has generated a fierce controversy in the capital, with secular campaigners denouncing Jerusalem city hall for funding gender segregation.
Student associations around the country hold major celebrations on Student Day, which is held every year on Jerusalem Day, which falls this year on June 5, involving live music, dance, food, theatrical productions and similar activities.
With the growing number of haredi students in higher education, along with significant numbers of national-religious students, greater interest has been expressed in recent years by such students for Student Day activities which are more appropriate for their lifestyle.
Following long-term planning spanning several years, several parties in the Jerusalem Municipal Council succeeded in allocating NIS 282,000 for a separate Student Day event to take place in Teddy Park and Hutzot Hayotzer, opposite the Old City of Jerusalem. Between 500 to 2,000 students are expected to attend.
On Tuesday however, the legal adviser to the Jerusalem Municipality Attorney Haim Nargassi said that gender segregation at municipality funded events was illegal, even if requested by a particular community, unless the event involves a prayer service.