PM Bows to Pressure Over Segregated Buses

21 May 2015

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon attempted to begin a three-month trial to segregate Jewish settlers from Palestinians on public buses going between Israel and the West Bank. During this trial period, Jews in the West Bank would ride one set of buses and Palestinians another, and all Palestinians, including those vetted for work permits, would be forced to re-enter the territories through four checkpoints.

The backlash was both harsh and immediate.

Pressure came from all over Israel, from members of Knesset, from the public, from international figures, and of course, from NIF grantees. Yesh Din, one of the leading human rights groups in the territories, wrote, “We will continue to stand guard and will not rest until this subject falls completely from the agenda.”

As public pressure mounted throughout the day, including harsh criticism from President Rivlin and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, it became too much for the new government to bear. Prime Minister Netanyahu quickly shut the trial down. “The proposal is unacceptable to the prime minister,” an official said. “He spoke with the defense minister this morning and it was decided that the proposal will be frozen.” In a matter of hours, Israeli public opinion and civil society succeeded in reversing the government’s injustice.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Ze’ev Barkan