More than 2,000 ultra-Orthodox protestors demonstrated Thursday in Jerusalem, demanding that the Egged bus company introduce more segregated buses in the capital.
Late Thursday evening the protestors threw stones at four buses and a number of private vehicles in Meah Shearim neighborhood in the capital. No injuries were reported, but the vehicles sustained damage. Two garbage cans were also torched.
Earlier the haredim gathered at the site of the 2003 suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus. Organizers said that the Orthodox public feels there is a connection between the problem of "immodesty" on buses and the attack.
Orthodox hit streets en masse (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
The rally, which was held under the slogan "Traveling the right way," featured the reading of psalms and prayers in memory of the attack victims. Organizers distributed leaflets addressing the importance of the struggle for segregation aboard buses in more neighborhoods in the capital, while rabbis and Orthodox public officials delivered speeches.
The demonstration was also attended by two Egged drivers wearing their uniforms. The two told Yent they support the struggle, but added that it was the Transportation Ministry which was blocking the introduction of more segregated buses, while waiting for the High Court to rule on the matter.
'Nobody should decide for us'At the beginning of the rally, dozens of secular and religious protestors also demonstrated at the site, carrying signs reading "Don't turn Israel into Iran" and "Give us unsegregated transportation." At one point, police ordered the secular-religious group to stay away from the area and held two female protestors for questioning.
Secular protestor removed from site (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)Municipal official Rachel Azaria, who protested against the segregated bus lines, told Ynet: As a religious woman, I came to make sure that the public space remains pleasant for everyone. As one who grew up in Jerusalem and has no intention of leaving it, I care about what this city is like."
"The Orthodox are very good at pressing Egged and when it introduces new segregated lines, the service in the regular lines is undermined," she said. "I don't force anyone to sit next to me on the bus, and everyone can decide on their own segregation and who they wish to sit next to. Yet nobody should decide for us how to travel on buses."