Singer Yakov Shwekey. Partial segregation
Photo: Israel Bardugo
The Jerusalem Municipality says the separation between men and women during a performance by haredi singer Yakov Shwekey will be partial.
The announcement was made following complaints received from the public after Ynet reported that the municipality had accepted the singer's request for sex segregation during his performance at an event honoring security forces.
One of the complaints was received from the Reform Movement's Israel Religious Action Center, which threatened to launch legal proceedings should Mayor Nir Barkat refuse to cancel the segregation during the event.
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A municipality official announced Wednesday evening that it would allow "mixed seating and separated seating during Shwekey's performance."
The municipality also stated that "this is not an event saluting the security forces, but an event which will be attended by many soldiers, as the singer invites soldiers to his shows free of charge many times."
The official explained that the municipality's previous response, based on the protocol of the decision made at a municipal committee, was the result of a "scribal error."
The municipality said it had insisted on Shwekey's arrival from the United States despite his conditions because "there is great demand among the national-religious and haredi public for a performance by this singer in Jerusalem. The separation between men and women was not a municipality demand, but a condition presented by the international singer for his performance at the International Congress Center.
"However, in light of the municipality's request, mixed seating and segregated seating will both be allowed during his concert. We are happy that we could meet the residents' high demand while providing an opportunity for many soldiers to enjoy the show free of charge."
Councilmember Yosef (Pepe) Alalo of Meretz, chairman of the city opposition, expressed his rage over the fact that the performance would not be divided into two – haredim on one side, and the general public on the other side.
"This is a great victory for sanity, but it's not a complete victory. I do not accept the decision of double separation. This is still discrimination. Now it's not just about segregation between men and women, but between religious and secular as well."
"I don’t know where Jerusalem can continue to deteriorate to. We can forget about one people in the capital, because now the separation is not just between Palestinians and Jews, but between Jews and Jews."
Rabbi Uri Regev, director of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, said in response that "the Jerusalem Municipality understood that the sane public is disgusted by the sex segregation phenomenon, which is another expression of the growing haredi domination in the city. It did the right thing in deciding not to humiliate the security forces and cancel the sex segregation in this event."
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