Underground Prisoners Museum (archives)
Photo: Itzik Shwiki
Workers of the Jerusalem Municipality were surprised this week to receive a letter informing them that the City Council informing them that the City Council was organizing a tour of the Underground Prisoners Museum – for women only.
The letter, sent by the human resources department, stated that the tour would focus on "activity examining women's part in the struggle for the State's establishment and the extent of their participation in the IDF today… We'll tour the Russian Compound and study the activities of the underground's female fighters, visit an exhibition about the women's prison in Bethlehem and get to know the stories of female fighters."
Many angry female workers were enraged by the segregation. They were joined by Deputy Mayor Joseph (Pepe) Alalo, who is in charge of the culture portfolio.
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"I could not believe that in the era of Nir Barkat, of all mayors, we see a case of segregation between women and men when it comes to a museum tour," Alalo said. "Am I, as a man interested in enriching my knowledge about women's part in the struggle for the State's establishment, banned from taking part in the tour? Where is the equality?"
Zion Dahan, chairman of the workers' committee, referred to the incident as "a disgrace to the municipality," saying that "I would never lend a hand to such a thing."
'We must honor haredi women's request'The museum, which was renovated about 10 years ago, focuses on the dungeon in which underground members who were sentenced to death were held before being transferred to the gallows at the Akko prison, and on the gallows room in which Lehi members Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barazani were executed. The museum also includes a room dedicated to the female Jewish prisoners and underground fighters who were jailed in a separate women's prison in Bethlehem.
The office of Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism) said in response, "There is a demand for a separate tour for haredi women, and the municipality must honor their request, even at the Underground Prisoners Museum."
A municipality official said in response, "The details are wrong. The instruction department, together with the museum, is preparing for different tours of the place in the coming year. As part of the plan, there will be a tour called 'Fighting for Equality', which will be dedicated to the undergrounds' struggle for the State's establishment and the women's part in it."