Women required to sit in back of theater at 'family friendly' Israeli play

Rosh Ha'ayin residents said separate seating was done in the past, but it was left and right and not front and back.

 Seats in a theater. (photo credit: PXFUEL)
Seats in a theater.
(photo credit: PXFUEL)

A children's play with separate seating for men and women that was funded by Rosh Ha'ayin's municipality will be staged later in May in the city's culture center, according to a report by Walla.

The play, called The Wisest of Men, is advertised as a play for "the whole family on the website, but the seating chart specifies that rows 1-10 are meant for men, and rows 11-19 are for women. Only 39 seats in total were set apart for families to sit together.

According to residents of the central Israeli city, separate seating has been done in the past, but usually, the men and women were seated on different sides as opposed to men in the front and women in the back.

"The problem here is mainly the way they chose to discriminate and the fact that women don't understand the problem," wrote one resident on Facebook.

"What's the problem with seating women and children in front and men in the back?" wrote another resident. "It would have been less jarring. That or separating the hall to the sides. Besides, the event isn't defined for the religious community otherwise there wouldn't be mixed sections. If this was an event only for religious people, I would understand, but with the current way the hall is separated, something here is very very jarring."

A theater stage (credit: MOHAMMAD JANGDA/FLICKR)A theater stage (credit: MOHAMMAD JANGDA/FLICKR)

"The seating arrangements were made in a way that gives a gender response to the whole population based on its preferences," said Rosh Ha'ayin municipality in response. "This isn't an event that is entirely separate, it's a division of the hall in a way that allows the entire population to attend based on preferences that don't deprive one part of society over another."

Run-ins with haredi public life 

On Tuesday, a haredi newspaper published an ad telling girls not to play outside on Shabbat.

"Girls, on Shabbat, leave the streets empty of games so that we can get to the synagogues and play only in corners, car parks and gardens," was written in the ad.

Yisrael Beitenu MK Yulia Malinovsky tweeted the ad with a demand for Israel Police to investigate it.

"Only warped minds could write these things."

MK Yulia Malinovsky

"This is pedophilia, discrimination and hatred of women," she wrote. "Only warped minds could write these things. This is the line this government is leading - a line of exclusion of women from the public."

She also shared an N12 report about the Bnei Brak branch of Shufersal's Be pharmacy chain covering the faces of women on products like hair dye.

In response, Be said that this move was only made in the Bnei Brak branch because it mainly caters to haredi people.