When Sergeant Major Raviv Rot arrived at the Hillel Street restaurant Azad in Haifa in February 2010, the hostess refused to allow him to enter because he was wearing his uniform. The incident caused a public outcry, and the facility soon closed when it turned out that it was operating without a license.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop
Rot filed a civil suit against the owners of the restaurant, arguing that they violated the state's anti-discrimination laws.
Cafe closed soon after incident (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Judge Shimon Sher ruled that since there was no distinguishable sign or notice forbidding entrance to uniform wearers, the soldier was, in fact, a victim of discrimination.
"Any incident where equals receive different treatment is defined as illegal discrimination," he wrote.
The judge pointed out the moral questionability of such a policy. "Even if it was said politely, and if they seemed to agree to serve him without uniform, this kind of conduct shows that the bias was due to the fact he was wearing a military uniform," the judge wrote.
"I believe that there is a way to show the public, be it Jewish or Arab, Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other religion, that tolerance is the solution and it isn't a political statement," the judge wrote. "The route that the defendant took escalates the friction… and creates an inequality that I am sure is not wanted by either side."
Sher expressed hope that the court's message of equality is heard by both Arab and Jewish public.
In addition to the compensation, the restaurant owners were also ordered to pay the legal fees, which amount to NIS 2,000 ($583).
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook