An IDF officer who boarded a bus in Bnei Brak on Monday claims he and two other soldiers were humiliated by ultra-Orthodox passengers and an Egged bus comany employee, who ordered them to give up their seats for "real Jews," Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
The reserve officer, 26, boarded bus number 981 to Safed on his way to his military base.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop
"The moment I got on the bus, the driver told me that I will have to stand because the seats are reserved," he said. He noted that he was surprised because he found no such information when he looked up the line on Egged's website.
As the officer, who met two other soldiers aboard the bus, sat down in an empty row, people began complaining that he was taking other passengers' seats.
"Why are soldiers, who do not pay, allowed to ride the bus?" the passengers yelled as the officer tried to ignore the complaints.
According to the officer, an Egged inspector then arrived and yelled at him and the other soldiers to "get up and let real Jews sit." They refused.
As the bus set out on its way, a few seats remained empty.
"As someone who served in the army for five years, and continues to serve in the reserve forces, I was appalled and ashamed," the officer said.
Egged said in a statement that the particular bus was part of a pilot program for ultra-Orthodox passengers travelling to holy sites in the north. As part of the program, passengers were allowed to reserve seats.
Egged spokesman Ron Ratner added: "We learned from an inquiry with the driver and the inspector that the officer and the soldiers were warned by the driver that they might have to stand because they did not reserve seats ahead of time. They refused to stand up.
"The company inspector, whose job is to resolve issues between passengers, told the soldiers to move to the back row. When he couldn't convince them to do so, he asked the civilian passengers to move to the back row, and they agreed. At this point a passenger called them 'dear Jews.' Egged has no control over the passengers' remarks, and such a comment did not come from Egged personnel."
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook