The majority of the Israeli public believes that voluntary separation between men and women on public transportation in or between ultra-Orthodox areas is a legitimate thing, according to a Ynet-Gesher poll commissioned on the backdrop of the exclusion of women phenomenon.
The survey was conducted by the Panels institute through the Panel4All Internet panel among 508 respondents – a representative sample of the adult Jewish population in Israel
(maximal sampling error: 4.4%).
Fifty-one percent of participants responded affirmatively to the question, "Are 'kosher' bus lines
for haredim legitimate?" Eighteen percent of them offered no reservations, 26% said "only in haredi neighborhoods, and 7% said "only if the women agree to sit in the back."
On the other hand, 47% view the phenomenon as forbidden discrimination against women, and 2% have no opinion on the matter.
An analysis according to religious definitions found a majority ruling out segregated buses in any case only among seculars (57%), but this was the common answer also among traditional Jews (41%).
The haredim are the only ones who almost fully support segregation without any reservations (83%), although this was the leading option also among religious Jews (41%).
Another analysis shows that most men are more tolerant of the bus segregation, viewing it as a legitimate thing under certain conditions (56%), while most women rule it out in any case (52%).
The survey's respondents were also asked about the way to handle acts of violence
by haredi extremists.
Thirty-seven percent said the ultra-Orthodox society does not wish to deal with them, 33% said it was incapable of dealing with them, 4% believe it is dealing with them properly, and 26% said the Israel Police was responsible to deal with them rather than the haredim. The rest (3%) had no opinion on the matter.
An analysis of the findings shows that most haredim (62.5%) view the police as responsible for dealing with the extremists.
The most common answers in other sectors were that the haredi society avoids dealing with its extremists (44% of seculars) and that it is incapable of dealing with them (34% and 42% of traditional and religious Jews, respectively).
"We in Gesher recognize the haredi public's critical need to deal with the extremists," says Gesher Executive Director Ilan Geal-Dor. "We are calling on the community leaders to speak up clearly against any type of violence.
"At the same time, we must launch channels of dialogue and get to know each other better in order to reach an understanding."