Female MKs to sit at front of Beit Shemesh 'mehadrin' bus

Led by MK Tzipi Hotovely, Knesset C'tee on Status of the Woman plans to travel to Jerusalem on segregated bus; haredi arrested for calling girl a "whore" after she refused to move to the back of J'lem bus.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 28, 2011 12:45
1 minute read.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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The Knesset Committee on the Status of the Woman was scheduled to visit Beit Shemesh on Thursday to ride at the front of a so-called "mehadrin" Egged bus.

Led by chairwoman MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), the committee will ride "mehadrin" bus line 418 from the city to Jerusalem, according to a Knesset press release circulated Wednesday. The term "mehadrin" signifies here the gender separation arrangement in which female passengers are frequently forced to sit at the back of the bus. Hotovely said that she plans to sit in the front of the bus, the section typically reserved for men-only.

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The committee will also travel to the Beit Orot School, which has been at the center of controversy in Beit Shemesh since it opened last September.

In  the most recent incident of sexist abuse, a haredi [ultra-Orthodox] man called a 19-year-old female soldier a "whore" on the number 49 Egged bus in Jerusalem. The girl was riding the bus along the Levi Eshkol Boulevard Wednesday morning, when the man got on and asked her to move to the back of the bus.

After the girl refused to move to the back, the man reportedly proceeded to curse her using strong language. The driver alerted the police who arrested the suspect and took him for questioning.

The issue of haredi extremism reached a climax Tuesday night, as thousands of protesters gathered in Beit Shemesh to protest against it. Demonstrators from Beit Shemesh and beyond, religious and secular, kids with parents and even the Israeli Hells Angels arrived to speak out against a growing frequency in attacks against a local religious-Zionist girls’ elementary school and the broader trend of haredi exclusion of women from the public domain.

Ruth Eglash and Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report

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