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Police: Probe women's exclusion from J'lem vote
Capital's police chief demand ballots cast in haredi neighborhood during local council elections be disqualified due to claims women not allowed to vote

Jerusalem Police chief Nisso Shaham has demanded that votes cast at a polling station in Jerusalem's Strauss Street be disqualified due to claims that haredi men prevented women from participating in the elections for local community council head.

 

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The elections were held on Tuesday in four neighborhoods in the capital, including Bucharim, Geula and Mea Shearim. The head of the Geula community council, Rabbi Ya’acov Fertig, who was running for reelection, had insisted that there would be separate lines at the polling stations or separate voting times for men and women in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. The plan infuriated city officials, who promised to send inspectors to oversee the vote.

 


לבני. מאבק של שני המינים (צילום: איציק אדרי)

'We will change Israel.' Livni at rally (Photo: Itzik Edri)

 

On Thursday Shaham ordered an investigation into the events at the polling station on Strauss Street. According to information obtained by police, dozens of haredi men prevented a group of women from voting. In a letter to the director general of the Jerusalem Municipality, the police commander demanded that votes cast at the said polling station be disqualified.

 

Thursday evening saw 250 people, mostly women, protest in Herzliya over the exclusion of women in the public sphere. Some protesters carried signs reading 'From Rambam to Khomeini?'

 

During the rally, Herzliya Mayor Yael German said, "We are here to light a torch against darkness."

 

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said the struggle was important to both genders. "Some of the men who are sitting at home do not realize that this struggle pertains to Israel as a whole. Today, Israel is a country in which women sit at the back of buses, a country where female soldiers are forbidden to sing," she said.

 

Livni said the exclusion of women was part of a radical wave that was sweeping the nation: "If some people think that throwing a cinder block at a brigade commander has nothing to do with the issue at hand they are mistaken. It is all part of a process which harms women and the court in order to grant more authority to certain rabbis – some of whom send (supporters) to burn mosques and call for disobedience – we will not agree to such an Israel and we will change it."

 

Yoav Malka contributed to this report

 

 

 

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