Retired judge calls for women's civil disobedience

Eliyahu Matza says women should respond to attempts to exclude them from the public sector by engaging in civil disobedience.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 22, 2011 13:08
1 minute read.
Woman on a mehadrin bus

woman on a mehadrin bus_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Former Supreme Court judge Eliyahu Matza on Thursday called on women to begin a campaign of civil disobedience against increasing attempts to subjugate them in the public sphere.

In an with interview Army Radio, the former High Court Vice President said, "Social justice is not only about the price of cottage cheese or interest rates on a mortgage. There are values that must be fought for, and women's exclusion is out of the question."

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Over the past weeks, incidents calling women's rights into question have included physical and verbal attacks on women refusing to sit in the back of public buses, attempts to segregate sides of the street by gender, and the exclusion of women from ceremonies.

Vered Swid, director-general of the National Authority for the Advancement of Women, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was very clear in his policy towards elements among the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community to sideline women, including forcing them to sit at the back of public buses.

“On this issue he is very clear. This isn’t something that needs to be discussed or debated. No one should force a woman to sit at the back of the bus,” said Swid, who plans to work in the coming weeks with local authorities, bus companies and woman’s organizations to rid society of this phenomenon.

In addition to women's exclusion, Matza attacked what he perceived as an increasing phenomenon of "anti-democratic legislation" in the Knesset.

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"A significant proportion of our parliament thinks that there is no equality... In their view, there are citizens of class A and class B and we must legislate laws for each of them specifically."

The phenomenon, he said, indicates a steep decline in the political system and should be fought. "It's a short road from here to tyranny."

"I am very troubled that the coalition is convinced it can pas anything it wants because it's the majority, and this concern is not limited to judges, but to every citizen of Israel," he said.

Ruth Elgash contributed to this report

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