Jerusalem gets dancing for equality

200 women dance in downtown Jerusalem to protest discrimination against women.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
January 17, 2012 20:13
2 minute read.
flashmob in Jerusalem

flashmob in Jerusalem_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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More than 200 women threw off symbolic black head coverings on Tuesday afternoon to protest discrimination against women in public, during a “flashmob” that took place in downtown Jerusalem.

A flashmob is a choreographed dance performed in a public space by participants who seem to melt out of the crowd and start dancing in synchronized steps. Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” boomed out of speakers set up for the Ben-Yehuda Street event, which was organized by The Hebrew University’s student union.

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“We decided to come here and protest against the segregation of women here in Jerusalem, because this is a thing that we feel that both the government and the city of Jerusalem need to deal with,” said Inbar Admon, the director of social activism in the student union.

She cited the recent spate of discrimination against women, including spitting on and harassing young girls in Beit Shemesh, or removing posters featuring female models from Jerusalem streets, as inspiration for the flashmob.

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“What’s happening in the streets, or pictures being taken off the walls of Jerusalem, we’re not allowed to sit wherever we want in the buses, and we feel it’s time to say, ‘Enough of that!’ and to call for action,” she said.



The student union hosted five rehearsals for participants, including one in Tel Aviv for a contingent that came from the country’s Center.

Though the choreography wasn’t perfect, the participants stressed it was an important message to send to the public.

“We’re against discrimination against women. They should have totally equal rights,” said Helen Gottstein, an English and theater teacher from Jerusalem who participated.

“If she wants to dance or sing or eat a felafel in the middle of the street, women have a right to be seen – that’s the bottom line,” she said.

Though the cold, rainy weather may have influenced the number of participants, it did little to dampen the spirit of the women, who cheered after finishing their dance.

“The whole idea of doing a flashmob is great because it’s an anarchistic, artistic way of saying something,” said Yaron Meidan, a lawyer and choreographer who created the steps.

“It’s without a stage, without costumes. I think it’s the most public, common, natural artistic way of doing an artistic work,” he said.

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