Environmental Minister Idit Silman's pilot program for gender-segregated bathing in nature reserves during the summer cannot be advanced without new legislation, the Attorney-General's Office said in an opinion on Thursday.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority doesn’t have authorization to restrict access to sites based on gender, and legislation needs to be introduced to allow this, the office said.
Israel Hofsheet, which warned Silman that they would petition against the pilot, welcomed the decision.
“Gender segregation in nature reserves is illegal, immoral, and has no place in Israel in 2023,” said Israel Hofsheet executive director Uri Keidar. “Israeli families cannot start checking every morning if they are allowed to travel together or if that day is not allowed.”
“Gender segregation in nature reserves is illegal, immoral, and has no place in Israel in 2023.”Uri Keidar
Women’s Lobby deputy director Gali Zinger said that there was no place for gender segregation in society.
“We will continue to fight for the public space to remain equal for everyone,” said Zinger.
'AG's decision disconnected from needs of religious citizens'
UTJ MK Yitzhak Pindrus said that the attorney-general’s decision was disconnected from the needs of millions of religious citizens who are interested in separated bathing during vacation periods.
“They will tell us that the ‘gatekeepers’ protect our rights. It turns out that they only protect the rights that suit them,” said Pindrus. “This is another reason why it is urgently necessary to remove from office the person who was not elected by the people and does not know their needs.”
“My law to regulate the issue is on the Knesset table and, in the absence of the planned pilot, we will have to advance it.”MK Moshe Gafni
UTJ MK Moshe Gafni said that equality only applied for some segments of the population, not when it comes to the ultra-orthodox and Arab sectors. Gafni said that the pilot was a compromise so that all members could enjoy the parks, but that the other side wasn't interested in agreements.
“My law to regulate the issue is on the Knesset table and, in the absence of the planned pilot, we will have to advance it,” Gafni said.