'Court verdict reflects women's right to choose bus seat'

By JONAH MANDEL
January 6, 2011 14:53

 
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Attorney Einat Horowitz of the Reform Movement's Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), which was among the petitioners that prompted a Supreme Court decision Thursday approving gender-segregated buses "according to free will," praised the court decision, "which for the first time determines... that separation is unacceptable discrimination, prohibited by law.

"The verdict anchors what is obvious: every woman is free to choose her seat on a public bus, and entitled to egalitarian treatment that respects her choice."

"However, she continued, "the court has left a door open. That is the back door, and women who have for years been bullied into sitting in the back, have been trained to sit there. I want that door closed," she said. "If women and men enter the front door, chances are they will take the first available seat at their own convenience. If they are forced to get on the back of the bus to begin with, it is very hard – particularly for an Orthodox woman in Israel – to advance to the front."

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