Superbus transportation company will pay NIS 13,000 (some $3,200) in compensations to Ariella Marsden, a 15-year-old high school student who was asked by a bus driver to move to the back of the bus in order to allow two haredi men to sit in the front.
During her testimony, Marsden described the chain of events, saying she boarded the bus on the way back from school with two of her friends and sat in the front. Shortly afterwards, two haredi men boarded the bus and stood in the front, even tough there were vacant seats in the back. According to Marsden, the driver then asked her and her friends to move to the back of the bus, and they complied. However, by that time there were no empty seats and the three were forced to stand for the duration of the ride.
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The Beit Shemesh Small Claims Court ruled that the driver is responsible for the incident because he was the one who approached the plaintiff and her friends.
In response to the verdict, Marsden told Ynet: "This was a very insulting incident that flustered me at the time. I feel that I have gone through a change and from now on I will sit wherever I want, without letting anyone interrupt me.
"I don’t plan on fighting over every incident of women's exclusion. I have said enough. I will only fight for the important things," she added.
Attorney Orly Erez- Lahovski from the Israel Religious Action Center said "the verdict is another step in the battle against the exclusion of women in the public transportation system, and sends a message to drivers and company owners that discrimination is not only illegal, but will also be costly."
In the past year, Beit Shemesh has become the center of the fight against the exclusion of women from the public sphere. In January, city resident Natalie Mashiah was assaulted by extremist haredim after she hung flyers near a haredi residential area. Shortly beforehand, eight-year-old Na'ama Margolis caught headlines after she was cursed and spat on by passersby who thought she wasn’t dressed modestly enough. In December, the city held a large protest against the exclusion of women.
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