Two weeks ago a 27-year-old IDF
soldier was all set to take part in a friend's birthday party at the Wi-Fi nightclub in Tel Aviv, but his plans went awry when he was refused entry to the club because of his yarmulke, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Wednesday.
"I showed them my soldier's ID at the entrance but was shocked when the bouncer told me I can't go in with my yarmulke.
I was appalled that something like that could happen in Israel,"
the soldier said.
Footage filmed by one of the soldier's friends on a mobile device documenting the events has reached Yedioth Ahronoth. It shows the night club promoter explaining that the soldier will only be allowed into the club if he removes his yarmulke.
"What do you mean? I've never removed it," said the soldier. To which the promoter responds with: "I'm with you, but I'm just a small cog in the machine."
The soldier then said: "I want to know what this is, what kind of discrimination is this? The promoter then notes that "this is not my directive." At this point the soldier's friends intervene, unsuccessfully.
The club security guard then arrives on the scene and yells: "You can go get the police…Right now, you're a threat. Go away; I don't want to see you. The soldier then tells the guard that he no longer wishes to go to the club, if they discriminate in such a manner.
Then, another club promoter arrives on the scene and explains: "We have procedures, we have managers, this is a club. This is a business. These are its directives. There is no discrimination. Put the kippah in your pocket when you come in and then inside do whatever you want."
A third club promoter then interferes as well, adding: "You can't come in with a yarmulke or with hats. It's a police directive. Period. You don't like it? Go home." The soldier and his friends then leave.
The embittered soldier has decided to sue the club. He has hired attorney Amikam Harlap, who noted that "this is an inciting case. It is a scandalous incident that cannot just be ignored and which has crossed red lines.
"Everyone talks a lot about the exclusion
of women, and here we have a case of exclusion of religious men. The firm feels that we have to take on this case to the end out of a sense of public duty."
The club's legal representative has said in response that "we are unaware of the incident. We have never asked a person to remove their kippah. It is against the club's policy. If it did in fact happen then it is an extremely grave situation and will be handled as such."