A-G: Criminalize discrimination against women

Weinstein tells ministers buses, cemeteries, and health clinics should no longer be able to enact gender separation.

May 8, 2013 13:54
2 minute read.
Gender separation at Kotel.

gender separation 311. (photo credit: Jeremy Sharon)


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The government should criminalize gender-based discrimination, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein wrote Wednesday.

Weinstein accepted recommendations by a committee he appointed to examine ways to prevent the exclusion of women from public spaces, calling for all ministries to stop the phenomenon quickly and determinedly.

Preventing women from receiving public services in a way equal to men should be a criminal offense, according to Weinstein's recommendations. In addition, he wrote harassment by way of degradation or humiliation of a person due to his race, religion, religious group, nationality, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, point of view, political party, personal status or parenthood, in order to prevent him or her from accessing public services or exercising rights should be a crime.

Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee for the Advancement of Women, said she welcomes the recommendations, even though they came much later than they should have.

"I believe that implementing and enforcing the recommendations will help stop the outbreak of discrimination against women in public spaces," she stated. "We cannot abandon women's rights in Israel, and cannot accept harming their equal status."

According to Weinstein's recommendations, the Religious Services Ministry must make sure no cemeteries separate men and women or prevent women from giving eulogies.

In addition, men and women may not be separated in ceremonies or events sponsored by the government or any of its ministries, in health clinics or on public transportation.

The Transportation Ministry must increase supervision of bus companies to make sure there is no direct or indirect gender separation. Travelers will not be allowed to enter buses from the back door and will have to pay the driver directly.

Signs indicating separate sidewalks for men and women or calling for modest dress must be removed by local authorities, especially when posted in a public place.

The haredi "Kol Barama" radio station will have to stop its policy of not employing female broadcasters within six months.

The 71-page document was distributed to the relevant ministers: Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee for the Advancement of Women, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Yael German and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.

MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) pointed out that he proposed a bill to criminalize discrimination against women, which was rejected by the government.

"I welcome this decision establishing what I have been demanding for several years," Herzog said. "I expect my bill making the exclusion of women a crime to be brought to the Knesset for a vote as soon as possible and receive the support of the government. This is the true test of the status of women in Israel and the battle for Israel's image."

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