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Sign hung in Jerusalem
Sign hung in Jerusalem 
 
Mehadrin bus line (archives) Photo: Atta Awisat
Mehadrin bus line (archives) Photo: Atta Awisat
 
 

Signs hung overnight against 'kosher' buses

Dozens of young people hang posters on bus stations throughout country in protest of separate seating between men and women with objective of showing what public transport could look like if such bus lines are instated

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 03.03.10, 09:43 / Israel Jewish Scene

Dozens of young people protesting the separation between men and women on public transportation in Jerusalem toured a number of cities Tuesday night where they hung signs in protest of the "mehadrin lines" that stipulate such a separation.

 

The activists, who will hold a protest in the capital in another two weeks, are also calling for Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who has allowed the gender separation to be instated, to step down.

 

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In a nighttime campaign, called "A Stop in Time," the protesters hung posters that sought to demonstrate to the public what public transportation could look like in the future if the mehadrin lines are authorized and expanded. The signs were hung in hundreds of bus stops in Jerusalem, Raanana, Holon, Tel Aviv, Beersheba, and Tiberias.

 

"This is bus stop is mehadrin kosher. Thus, men enter and sit down in the front; women and all the rest – to the back," the posters read. Underneath the headline is an illustration showing that "women, blacks, and minorities" belong in the back along with a "kashrut stamp" showing that the line has been deemed kosher "with the oversight of the transportation minister and subsidized by the State."

 

One of the protest's organizers explained: "Gender-segregated lines exist today in many cities and between many cities, not just in haredi centers. We are protesting against Minister Katz's statements and the blind eye Egged has turned to the despicable phenomenon of women being moved to the back of the bus, sometimes through physical and verbal violence.

 

"The mehadrin lines serve a mixed population that is not only haredi. This segregation is forced on the general public," he explained.

 

The organizer also claimed that new lines are added weekly to what he calls "discrimination lines." According to him, the policy is strictly enforced by haredi passengers as drivers turn a blind eye and sometimes even support their violent acts.

 

"The ministerial committee that was established by High Court request ruled unequivocally that the segregation must be stopped. Despite this, nothing has yet to be done on the matter. On the contrary – the transportation minister has come out more than once in favor of the segregation lines and their necessity."

  

Next weekend, the Forum of Organizations for a Free Jerusalem will hold a rally in from of the prime minister's residence in a call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get involved in the issue. They will also call for Minister Katz's resignation.

 

Taking part in the event will be organizations such as the Israel Religious Action Center, which is spearheading the legal battle against the kosher lines, Jerusalemites, Ela, Hitorerut Yerushalayim, New Spirit Students for Jerusalem, Meretz, Labor Party's Young Guard, and Hiddush for Religious Equality and Freedom.

 

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