Students distribute flyers for NIF grantee Kolech Religious Women's Forum hotline
for women who are abused or intimidated on gender segregated buses.
The ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim district dismantled a street barrier separating men and women after the High Court of Justice ruled last week that the practice was unacceptable.
This is another victory for the NIF family in its struggle against gender segregation in public places.
In 2008, Jerusalem councilor Rachel Azaria was the victim of gender discrimination when she stood for the Jerusalem Council elections in 2008 and the Egged Bus Company refused to run the ads of women candidates to avoid offending the ultra-Orthodox. Following a petition by veteran NIF grantee Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) for Progressive Judaism in Israel (Reform), the High Court ruled that Egged must run the ads.
Azaria is investigating other instances of gender segregation in Jerusalem including cases such as the Clalit Health Fund’s practice of opening gender segregated clinics.
Meanwhile, a six-month Ministry of Transport pilot program in which seating arrangements on gender segregated bus lines are considered “voluntary” is due to end this month with the ministry reporting back to the High Court. IRAC, which petitioned the High Court against the gender segregated bus lines, argues that voluntary arrangements are not viable because women will still be intimidated to sit at the back of the bus.
NIF has given IRAC a special grant to monitor how gender separation works on a "voluntary basis," and collect eyewitness reports to present as evidence to the High Court.
**The original story contained errors that are now corrected.