gender separation 311.
(photo credit: Jeremy Sharon)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni instructed her office to draft a bill criminalizing
gender-based discrimination, based on recommendations from Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein submitted Wednesday.
“Excluding women from public spaces
is a crime that cannot be accepted,” Livni said. “Women in Israel will not sit
in the back of buses, will participate in ceremonies and their voice will be
heard on the radio and in the army.”
Livni called to put an end to the
phenomenon, which she said has no halachic or moral
Weinstein accepted on Wednesday 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
Preventing women from receiving public services in a way
equal to men should be a criminal offense, according to Weinstein’s
In addition, he wrote that 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
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
“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.
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
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
Kol Barama said in response that women are broadcast every day on
the station, meaning the women who call in to speak on its various shows. A
representative for the station acknowledged, however, that Kol Barama does not
have any female broadcasters.
The Hiddush religious-freedom lobbying
group welcomed Livni’s instructions and Weinstein’s recommendations, calling
them “good news for Israeli society and for Judaism, which is being distorted
and trampled on by the zealots of discrimination.”
The 71-page document
was distributed to the relevant ministers: Livnat, Communications Minister Gilad
Erdan, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Religious Services Minister Naftali
Bennett, Health Minister Yael German and Transportation Minister Israel
MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) pointed out that he proposed a bill to
criminalize discrimination against women that was rejected by the
“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.”
Hiddush religious-freedom lobbying group welcomed the announcement, calling it
“good news for Israeli society and for Judaism which is being distorted and
trampled on by the zealots of discrimination.”
Kol Barama Radio Station
said in response that women are broadcast everyday on the Kol Barama radio
station, in reference to women who call in to speak on Kol Barama’s various
shows. A representative for the station acknowledged however that Kol Barama
does not have any female broadcasters.
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