Dozens of prominent Israeli public figures and intellectuals have recently signed a petition calling on Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to come out against the segregation between men and women on public transportation lines ("mehadrin lines").
The Transportation Ministry is scheduled to deliver its position on the matter next month.
The petition, signed by Israel Prize laureates A. B. Yehoshua, Haim Guri and Natan Zach, defined the "kosher buses" a "degrading and humiliating arrangement that hurts men and women in the State of Israel."
"Lately we have been witnessing serious manifestations of discrimination and degradation of women on public transportation lines, which have been defined as special lines for the ultra-Orthodox population.
"On these lines (which are called 'mehadrin lines') women are forced to sit at the crowded back and various limitations are placed on the way they dress. Women who dare defy these demands are subjected to humiliation, verbal and even physical abuse from the other passengers," the petition stated.
"Segregation between men and women is an extremist practice and extremist practices should not be allowed in the public sphere in the democratic State of Israel."
According to the petition: "This discrimination against women opens the door to discrimination against other sectors in the future and is absolutely unacceptable. We urge the transportation minister to put an end to the appalling phenomenon of discriminatory lines in the service of public transportation in Israel, and abolish the segregation practiced on these lines."