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Ronit never imagined when she boarded the 982 Egged bus from Safed to Jerusalem that her motion sickness would get her in so much trouble.
From past experiences Ronit knew sitting up front alleviated her motion sickness. But she did not know that 982 was a "Mehadrin" bus for the haredi public, which means men sit up front - women sit in back.
Doctors recommend that sufferers of motion sickness sit in the front of the bus. Motion sickness is caused when the balance center of the inner ear sends information to the brain that conflicts with the visual data of standing or sitting in a closed cabin. Facing forward with a clear view of the road and surroundings alleviates the conflict.
But this medical detail was missed on the passengers of line 982.
"When I first got on the bus there were only a few people", recounts Ronit. "I explained to the driver my situation and he seemed to understand. So did a haredi man.
"But soon the bus began filling up. One haredi man came up to me and explained that I was on a Mehadrin bus and, therefore, I must sit in the back.
"'Perhaps the men could sit in the back and the women in the front', I suggested. But he rejected that possibility. I told him I could not continue to talk to him because I needed to look out the window, but advised him to sit someplace where he could not see me."
Ronit, who defines herself as religious and modestly dressed, recounts that "a semi-commotion broke out" when about 30 haredis got on the bus.
"One complained to the driver, 'this is supposed to be a mehadrin bus. I am going to complain to Egged'. I tried to explain again about my motion sickness, but no one listened.
"The driver said, 'what do you want me to do. I can't force her to sit in the back. I am supposed to pick her up and carry her to the back?'
Ronit says she considered going to the back. "But then I thought it would make me feel sick and uncomfortable. I was already sick with flu and did not want to make it any worse.
"They sort of gave up after awhile," recalls Ronit with a sigh.
"But then one of them stood up in the aisle and began praying out loud. 'Lord, Almighty give that woman the reason to do the right thing and sit in the back of the bus. Convince her it is the right thing to do.'"
Shlomo Rosenstein, Agudah Yisrael's coordinator of public transportation for the haredi population and member of Jerusalem's municipal council, laughed when he heard the part in Ronit's story about the passenger prayed out loud.
"But seriously," said Rosenstein. "If she had explained her situation I am sure the passengers would have understood. The haredi population is sensitive to the needs of others."
Rosenstein admitted that from a strict halachic perspective it is permitted to ride on buses that do not separate the sexes.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the great halachic authority for American orthodoxy, permitted the use of subways and buses even in cases when men would inevitably come into physical contact with women.
"Because", wrote Feinstein, "unavoidable and unintentional physical contact is devoid of sexual connotations.
"And if a man knows that he will read into this contact sexual connotationsâ€¦he should focus his mind on Torah. For it is idleness that causes a man to be prone to lascivious thoughts" [Even Ha'ezer 2:14].
Despite Feinstein's ruling, Rosenstein defends the need for the Mehadrin lines.
"If it is possible to sanctify ourselves, why not? Public transportation is the only place where haredi men come in contact with women. Circumstances on crowded buses often force haredi men into physical contact with scantily clothed women. This is unacceptable and incongruent with a haredi lifestyle."
However, Rabbi Ratzon Arussi, chairman of the chief rabbinate's council on marital affairs and rabbi of Kiryat Ono, said that the Mehadrin buses sometimes create more halachic problems then they solve.
"Halachically speaking, it is preferable for a man to sit next to his wife than to have other women pushing past him to get to the back of the bus. Being with his wife keeps the husband's attention focused.
"Seating men up front causes additional problems. For instance, pregnant women or women with heavy bags are forced to walk all the way to the back of the bus.
"It is obvious that men who initiated the Mehadrin lines did not think about women or about the halachic problems created.
"Therefore, I recommend that a committee of rabbis discusses the issue and hears women's testimonies. This way a rational decision will be reached."
Egged has been operating mehadrin lines for two years, according to Ron Ratner, Eged's spokesman, although Rosenstein says some lines, like the Bnei Brak - Ashdod or Jerusalem - Ashdod lines have been running for as long as six or seven years. According to Ratner, Egged has 15 intercity mehadrin lines and seven in Jerusalem. Dan operates lines inside Bnei Brak.
Egged does not interfere in the seating arrangements on its buses. In a statement, Ratner wrote that, "these lines, which connect between concentrations of haredi populations or inside haredi neighborhoods, answer special needs. Passengers choose the seating arrangements without intervention by Eged. The sole role of the man behind the steering wheel is to drive responsibly and safely."
In addition to the regular mehadrin lines, there are also what are known as "Glatt Mehadrin" that operate inside haredi city centers. On the "glatt" lines women enter the bus from the side door. Women with bus passes punch their own holes. Women who pay in cash have to somehow transfer the money to the driver at the front of the bus. Little children are often used. When there is no other choice the woman herself walks to the front to pay, says Rosenstein.
The intercity mehadrin lines price are often cheaper than comparable lines. In answer to a question posed by MK Hemi Doron (Shinui), who calls the segregation of the sexes on the mehadrin lines "apartheid", Egged explains the rationale behind the lower prices enjoyed by the haredi population.
"Residents [in this case] of Ramat Shlomo [a haredi neighborhood In Jerusalem] are composed almost exclusively of low income families blessed with children that have no other way of getting to and from Bnei Brak.
"Also, the low price is one of the strategies used in an ongoing battle launched by the Transportation Ministry against unlicensed transport companies [known as khappers] who operate illegally. Egged's price cut is aimed at putting these "khappers" out of business."
In response to questions posed by The Jerusalem Post, Ratner explained in a letter that, proportionately, the haredi population uses public transportation much more than the general population. Government policy encourages creating solutions for the haredi population. Egged, and other public transportation companies, such as Dan, who offer special lines for the haredi population, are following this government policy to the letter."
MK Doron thinks Egged's and Dan's policy is discriminatory. In a letter to Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, Doron writes, "Egged is a public company that is supposed to provide egalitarian services to all of its customers. But line 982 does not serve all segments of the population." Doron says he plans to appeal to the Supreme Court to halt state funding to Egged if Egged does not change its policy.
But Ronit thinks the mehadrin buses cater to a real need.
"I think it is good to have mehadrin lines if they want them and think it is necessary," says Ronit. "But I also think there should be reasonable tolerance in special cases like mine. The way those haredi men and women behaved ended up drawing more attention to my presence up front.
"They could have ignored me or recognized that by letting me sit up front they were doing a mitzva."
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Menashe Caplan, Rehovot, Israel:
The 982 story is a local sad story.
The Rehovot 318 saga was an aggressive, organized haredi attack against the religious-Zionist community. The haredim - without consulting with anyone - brought Egged (easily) to change the route of the bus canceling the Rehovot-Bar Ilan University
stop in both directions. The line was one of the most successful Egged lines serving both the Bar Ilan University staff and students and Bnei Brak passengers. The change was made known overnight January 31 - and on February 1 the new "kosher clean" line began.
So here we are: Discrimination in action with a glatt mehadrin hechsher
Does anyone care?
I hope that the Jerusalem Post
will continue to investigate the haredi takeover, and make public the Egged-haredi love story.
I must emphasize that the non-haredis were willing to go a long way to come to a respectable solution. We are not interested in fights. We tried to talk but were turned down time after time. We were not worthy to be consulted from the very beginning, and are now ignored. Disgusting.
The haredi mob won in the meantime, but G-d willing, not in the long run.
Sarah Lipman, Jerusalem, Israel:
I was not happy to hear of the woman's unfortunate experience on the bus in dealing with her motion sickness. If the story had ended with the quote from the Aguda rabbi (who laughed at the passenger's prayer asking that G-d grant her the sense to move to the back), then the article would have been just right: a reasonably balanced case, although obviously the whole article was only written because of a slant again the mehadrin
But the quote below from Rabbi Arussi really bothered me. I don't know anything about Rabbi Arussi, and he may have been misquoted or given wrong information, but his statement very clearly seems to say that he is judging what he knows not.
He passes judgment on what happens on "haredi" buses: pregnant women have to walk farther, or men will be force themselves away from women as they pass... Kiryat Ono probably doesn't have mehadrin
buses. As your article goes on to explain, MOST mehadrin buses (which run within the city) have women enter the back door - not as second-class citizens (although I admit that, as an American, sitting in the back of the bus has a certain negative connotation) - but precisely to avoid all of the problems suggested. Women don't walk past the men. The men can look forward, and not have to see other people's wives. There is no need for pushing or mingling. And the pregnant women have no problem: they can sit right down. Not only that, but the women have the most convenient access to the stroller zone back there, since more women travel with babies than men.
So what on earth was he talking about? Even if, as he claims, women have to walk to the back on inter-city buses (I'm not sure that is true, not having been on one), on non-mehadrin buses, the exact same situation will always occur, too - the mehadrin aspect will not add to the problem, even if it does not resolve it.
I am most disappointed.
Arik Silverman, Milwaukee, USA: An interesting story coming just when America remembers Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of the bus.
Ze'ev, Jerusalem: My wife and I took this line shortly after she had given birth. She was wearing a short-sleeve tee shirt and jeans, and carrying our infant son. The driver told her to cover up before she got on. We were surprised, because we know another woman who has boarded in tee shirts and has not been told to cover up. Luckily, my wife had a long-sleeve shirt with her, but wearing it she was extremely hot and uncomfortable. When we started to talk to fellow passengers about why it was fair for a public bus to have a dress code, the passengers said that the haredi community paid for the bus so they could set any standards they wished. From this article, I understand that the haredi community riding these buses are misinformed. Perhaps better communications would help avoid such confrontations.
Howie Seligmann, New York, NY:My question is, did the Mehadrin bus concept exist in Poland? What did the haredim do there?
Gudio Courtois, Jerusalem: Rosa Parks please come back - the haredi women of Israel need you.
David Shapiro, Jerusalem: I would like to point out that not only haredi men prefer the mehadrin bus lines, but haredi women as well. My daughter will pass up many busses and wait for the mehadrin line so that she can on the bus without attracting undesired attention.
If the mehadrin lines are discriminatory towards secular passengers, then perhaps the standard lines are discriminatory towards the haredi passengers who will choose to take expensive taxis or dangerous "khappers" rather than ride under conditions which are against their conscience.
As for husbands who wish to help their wives of sit with them for any reason, I think that no one would object if the husband were to accompany his wife in the back of the bus.
On most lines (although the Safed-Jerusalem line is indeed an exception) perfectly good alternative lines are available for whoever cannot or chooses not to travel mehadrin.
On the other hand, I have seen women sit down in the men's section of mehadrin busses when they obviously were not aware of the special mehadrin arrangements on that line, and the haredi passengers were uncomfortable informing them about it, and the driver refused to get involved.
A possible solution to all these problems would be if a notice were prominently displayed stating both this is a mehadrin bus and women are expected to sit in the back, but also that exceptions should be made for anyone who cannot abide for health reasons. The notice should be signed by a representative of Egged and respected haredi rabbis.
Cliff Frankel, NY, USA:I respect all religious needs, even on the issue of men not sitting next to women on buses. As the saying goes, "It's a free country".
But in this case and another case mentioned in the reader feedback, the woman was either ill or pregnant. Why couldn't the men sit in the back separated from the women in these two unique cases-and the unfortunate woman in front - a clever solution. Doesn't being very Religious/Orthodox imply you should be very moral too? The Big Guy sees all, no? If you can invest all of your time inspecting an Etrog for a tiny scratch, how can you behave in such a selfish and immoral manner. Do they think the Big Guy in the sky is incapable of seeing such hideous behavior? There are no words.
Dovid Goldstein, Safed, Israel:Haredi? These people are not haredim. Perhaps they are "balei-teshuva's" - meaning people who were formed by non-Jewish culture who have decided to become part of the Torah observant community; but this kind of behavior shows that they have not yet learned the ikkar (essence) of being Torah observant. They have mistaken the toffel for the ikkar, like the "hassid shtuss" the gemarra reproaches, when he doesn't save a drowning woman because, "The torah forbids contact with a woman."
Or he is just a plain fascist, what my teachers called, derisively, "G-d's cossack". This evil, selfish fool, with his foot blocking the bus from continuing needs to be drastically re-educated before he brings down on us all the Divine Wrath. No wonder our neighbors hate us. Perhaps this is Amaleks latest disguise, a way to bring about our destruction while simultaneously disgracing the name of Hashem, and pushing people further away from the torah. Chevra: The sharks are circling; let's not drip blood into the water.
Josh, Brooklyn, USA:There is no religious requirement to take these Mehadrin buses - period. In New York, haredim (and there are quite a few) MUST take public transportation to get back and forth to work. In a predominantly secular society, this means that they will inevitably ride on the same trains, and in close proximity to women. Does this make them any less holy, or worthy from a religious perspective - absolutely not.
One thing that this story demonstrates is that there has to be a lot more thinking involved in the application of [religious] laws to specific situations. This is what the entire 'learning' process is supposed to be for. I am 100% sure that Moshe Feinstein was better equipped to interpret the religious law for the modern age than anyone on these Egged buses. After all, he was one of the most influential halachic authorities of the last century. I am sure he weighed his decision on mixed transportation with great care and wisdom that took into account all the practical and religious needs of Jews in the modern world. He also used another very important character trait - compassion.
The situation described in the article shows how an Egged policy and the customer base it caters to have, in effect, extended additional prohibitions around Feinstein's ruling. This cannot be good. Rabbi Arrussi's point that these buses create more halachic problems than they solve is well taken. The statement of "if it is possible to sanctify ourselves, why not," is not an argument- the concept of sanctity is not to be applied blindly and without thought to practical considerations and known laws. This is why we have well thought out laws and interpretations - to create objective standards that should be adhered to. The machmir approach is not always correct, especially in this situation where it seemingly contradicts an explicit ruling by a prior gadol. On a more practical level, this story provides two prime examples for 'why not'.
Someone who is an authority on these matters should speak up to let the masses know they are not following the torah when such acts are allowed to happen.
Nena Reingold, Indianapolis, USA:
A Jewish "Rosa Parks" in 2005? And that in the supposedly only democratic country in the Middle East having Women Rights!
Ladies! With all due respect for religion, don't take this "sitting down!"
Mark Bell, Wellesley, MA: I think the time has come for secular Jews to allow observant Jews to run their lives as they see fit.
Roni Aharonson's message explains why the battle between us goes both ways. How dare you, or Herzl, make a comment like that?
I need to agree with the comment in the article, that if the situation was explained to any observant Jew, they would understand and allow her to sit in the front, or just let the men go to the back.
I am left with one of two choices, either the story did not happen as it is written (that goes for Gila's story as well), or the people were not observant Jews. It would be the opposite of the Holy Torah to act that way, and just because someone has a kippa and peyot that does not make him a G-D fearing man!!
Don't judge a book by its cover. I read the media every day and secular people, kill, stab, rape etc. That does not mean that secular people are bad, it means that every box of apples has a few rotten ones.
Kate D, London, UK: Wouldn't a gentleman ensure that ladies can sit at the front, without having to squeeze all the way down the bus aisle?
Stephen Katz, Allentown, PA: One haredi prayed out loud: "Lord, Almighty, give that woman the reason to do the right thing and sit in the back of the bus." I would have been more impressed if he had prayed "Lord, Almighty, heal that woman of her motion sickness so that she may sit in the back of the bus." I can only guess that he had little faith that the Lord could change her health instead of her mind.
Nathalie Klein: The specific story is a disgrace to a democratic country. So is the identical story that took place on Egged bus line 318. The deal between haredi groups and Egged to run buses with separate seating is a good example of how fundamentalism can take advantage of liberalism while abhorring liberalism. This is what is called "a free ride".
Except this free ride on liberal and democratic principles, which allow specific groups to claim specific services, is to the profit of the guys sitting in the front only.
Egged should reconsider its commitment with running separate bus lines and realize their service is empowering segregation of the worst kind.
Steven Ruddell, Kiriat Yearim, Israel: I find the newsworthiness of this story to be rock-bottom. The only people who seem to profit from stories like these are those looking for excuses to espouse anti-Semitism, like the Shinui MK quoted herein.
Read the story: Ronit agrees with Mehadrin Buses. Haredim agree with Mehadrin buses. Egged agrees with Mehadrin buses, so where's the beef? Do you really want this paper to devolve into an English-speaking Haaretz?
Jacob Blues, New York City, US: It's shameful that this woman had to suffer because of the inconsideration of others.
There are plenty of Hasids in New York City that manage to traverse the city on its busses and subway system every single day without such mishugas (crazies). And as for daily contact, those making a living on 47th street have never appeared to have a problem with female customers making a purchase of Jewelry.
Indeed, as your other readers have noted, the discrimination based on gender is no different than discrimination based on skin color.
I believe that Golda Meir had the right response when told that Israeli women should adhere to a curfew following a rash of assaults on women back in the 1970's. Her reply was that since it was the men who were committing the assaults, then it was they who should be under curfew.
Chaya Gilburt, Brazil: Keeping men and women separate in day-to-day activities for purity's sake means that one is never forced to exercise restraint and control over one's impulses, thoughts, and actions. Thus, this purity is false. It exists only as long as there is a physical barrier between the sexes. We are not truly a pure people, if the only way we can control our impulses is to live in a celibate world. This is not the Torah way. We are not monks and nuns. We are human beings, who must act in a mature fashion always.
The mehitzah (seperation) must be in our minds, not attached physically to our backs.
Furthermore, since women clearly have special needs, especially when they are pregnant, they ought to be allowed to sit in the front as a rule, and the men should sit always in the back.
The men's reactions were appalling--surprisingly cold and inconsiderate. There must be better musar (morals) taught to correct this. There must be an educational campaign to explain the truth about kindness, pikuah nefesh, and consideration for others, no matter whether they are men or women.
Darian: This situation is exactly like that of Rosa Parks. Whereas southern white Americans acted in a discriminatory manner to black Americans, in this case, men acted in a discriminatory manner to a woman. This is utterly unacceptable in a true democracy, yet it is the sort of thing we have come to accept as inevitable in the theocratic Israeli state. The haredim need to accept that if they want their own rights to be respected, they must respect the rights of others. Otherwise, we risk descending the slippery slope towards a catastrophe in religious-secular relations.
Marni Rosen, Jerusalem: As an Orthodox woman (married to a haredi rabbi no less) I don't see what is wrong with separate buses. Let all the men who want to ride in their separate buses if it bothers them to see women and let everyone else ride on regular buses with their spouses and families. Once my husband and I were leaving Tzfat and we sat down together near the front of the bus as I also don't like sitting near the back. Then a hassid got on and told the driver not to start until I and another woman moved to the back. We tried arguing with the poor driver, then reluctantly moved toward the middle of the bus, but my husband and I insisted on sitting together!
Ira Piltz, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel: While I see why certain residents prefer Mehadrin buses (I am an Orthodox Jew and understand the Halacha) what I fail to see in a situation like this is an understanding of kavod ha'brot. I don't think this woman was trying to make a political point and for many of the Haredi passengers, G-d fearing men and women who have made a decision to live a certain lifestyle, there also needs to be an emphasis on derech eretz.
That being said, I think that sensitivity to another person is paramount and most Orthodox Jews realize that and conduct themselves accordingly. I wonder how much of this story is inflated sensationalism--on both sides of the argument.
S. Savin, Canada:Michoel Lomagno, NYC, USA:I can understand the needs of both parties to the situation but after living in Eretz Yisrael for two years while in Yeshiva, I have been witness to many haredim who feel they have a sense of entitlement all in the name of halacha. They think they live, or I should say, they want to live in a theocracy.
However, they don't. Israel is a pluralistic society and since Egged is a public company, it should serve "ALL" the people, not some. If the haredim are worried about their eyes and thoughts, I suggest they start their own bus company that will keep them pure. Since the Rabbis have poskuned (ruled) that one is allowed to sit with a female on public transport, it's time to move on.
Yaakov, Mevaseret Zion, Israel: The whole argument of separate seating is not really any of my business, as I am not haredi. I'll let them decide that (although I do feel a little uncomfortable when a woman sits next to me on the bus). Putting that aside, I think people should be concerned with the needs of others, as opposed to their just own.
Rachel, Tel Aviv, Israel: Frankly, I likewise suffer form motion sickness. If I were Ronit, I would have sat at the back of the bus until I felt sick. I would have then hurled all over the first haredi man who had insulted me by invoking God. If they are that religious, where in Torah does it say one can ride a bus? Yeah, I thought so.
Rivkah Friedmann, Switzerland: Why not divide the haredi bus in a different way? Like in the States: On the left side are women, on the right side the men.
Where there is aw ill there is a way.
Varda Epstein, Efrat, Israel: Shlomo Rosenstein states, "Public transportation is the only place where haredi men come in contact with women."
I can testify that this is completely untrue. Try waiting in line at Hacker's in Sanhedria to buy meat erev Yom Tov. Talk about sardines in a can! Believe me, no one is worrying about the fact that they are packed, body to body, men and women, while waiting their turn.
My experience is that in a polite society, people tend to give each other a bit of space, whereas in Israel, pushing into each other is de rigueur, whether it's waiting in line at the bank, the super, boarding a bus, or even just passing each other on the street. People are always knocking into me on the streets of Jerusalem and my husband always comments that in Israel, one only knows he exists when he comes into physical contact with another person.
Dov Epstein, Efrat, Israel: I propose the next step...creating a new city, Kiryat Glatt-chalak-Mehadrin, where only the men can be; they'll learn, and banks, stores, and government offices will employ men, and no contact with women will be necessary. Then they can go home to their respective cities and the bosom, er, no, pectorals, of their own homes.
Takan, Eilat: If the Haredim don't feel good around women in public transport, let them buy a car or arrange their own transport. Only Muslims would have treated this poor girl the same way, only because she is a woman. Religious Jews should start considering women as equals and not fear them as sexual objects. A woman becomes a sexual object only if you look at her that way. You can look at a portrait of a naked woman and appreciate the artistic part without forcibly feel the need to jerk off on that. Are all Chassidim sex maniacs that they have to be "protected" from women?
D. Zucker: Since the ride is smoother in front of the bus, let the men sit in back, with a curtain between the sexes. All the seats in front of the rear wheels are less prone to bouncing. The men can get on, pay, get off and re-enter via the back door. They will not need any contact with the women.
Ari, South Africa: I am always so surprisingly pained when I read articles of this nature. "Surprisingly" because one would think that by now I would be used to such intolerances. But perhaps that is the point, maybe I don't ever want to be used to such bickering. As I read this article almost every paragraph highlighted another intolerance.
Firstly, I believe Ronit should have had the sensitivity to sit at the back despite the discomfort it caused her (or perhaps get off and take another bus). Once she was already on one would think that hareidim, "Yidden" renowned for their "connectedness" would appreciate the circumstance and be more accepting of a fellow Jew in pain. The intolerance of the anti-religious is represented by MK Doron, in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny "what a maroon."
"Apartheid"? Really? Maybe we should fire off some letters to a few other public institutions, lets ban separate toilets for men and women because they too are repressive apartheid tools! Unbelievable, There you all stand a tiny island of love in a sea of hatred and intolerance, billions of Arabs all looking to destroy you, working feverishly to complete their nukes (and remember it will only take one!) and all we can find to worry about is who sits up front!? Please, guys, a little more tolerance and a little less "Sinat Chinam."
Roni Aharonson, Tel-Aviv
"We will not let any theocratic impulse of religious people to raise its head. We will know to keep them in their synagogues. They must not intervene in matters of state."
- Theodor Herzl -
Could the return to the basics be a solution in the Jewish state?
Gila Gilboa, Rehovot, Israel: A similar incident happened on the #318 midnight bus from Bnei Brak to Rehovot. A pregnant woman sat in the front of the sparsely-populated bus and after the woman explained her motion sickness and wouldn't move to the back, one young haredi man stopped the bus in the middle of Kvish Geha. He wouldn't allow the bus to continue by standing with one foot on the ground and one foot on the first step of the bus. The poor woman finally got off the bus and ran away. The driver is allowed to let off passengers only at bus stops, and so they started looking for the woman who was hiding under some low trees. She was so humiliated, and hurt, she wouldn't return to the bus and called her husband in Rehovot to come and collect her. The driver wouldn't abandon her until her husband came. The bus finally arrived in Rehovot at about 2:00 AM. As an observant, religious woman, I find this appalling. I don't understand how the haredi people make up their own halacha and are willing to humiliate others. Why is Egged submitting to this inhuman act of forcing women to sit in the back?
David Meijers, Jerusalem: The main problem is not the Mehadrin buses. The main problem is that Egged drivers drive without any conscience that they are transporting people. I never had much problems with motion sickness until I moved to Eretz Yisrael a year ago. Two stops in an Egged bus and one has to throw up. If Egged would teach its drivers to pick up and brake gently and not try to take every corner as if they are racing a Fomula 1 car the motion sickness problem will be solved for at least 75% of the people who suffer from it.
Gilad: It's just stupid, isn't it? Rabbis praying to god to get a woman to move to the back of the bus. I don't pretend to compare the Rosa Parks story to this, but the stupidity behind the acceptance of the policy is the same. It makes no sense to split a family boarding the bus in to front and back. Egged should cease offering buses that are suppose to offer discriminatory policies based on ill logic rather than religion. As mentioned in the article it makes more sense to be seated next to ones wife (for one of many examples) than the current situation. No wonder Jerusalem is going down the drain and running out of young people and entrepreneurs.
Reuven Leman, Jerusalem, Israel: How ironic that this story ran just when so many of us are remembering Rosa Parks, may she rest in peace... does Israel now have our own Rosa Parks?
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