Despite adamant statements by various Knesset members against radical religious groups' demand to impose segregation between the sexes in the public sphere in Israel, it seems that the House itself is not completely free of it: Ynet learned Tuesday that women have been practically barred from singing in Knesset ceremonies.
Senior Knesset sources explained that the practice was introduced quite some time ago, saying that there is "an unwritten rule" preventing female singers from performing in plenum ceremonies.
- Thousands protest women's segregation
- Peres calls on public to protest women's exclusion
- Livnat: Women's exclusion is violence
The "rule" aims to meet the sensitivities of religious MKs, as the Knesset Ceremonies Department knows that having female performers in the House would upset them, the sources said.
The Knesset offered the following response: "Ceremonies held in the Plenum Hall rarely include music – such performances are reserved for special occasions such as the presidential inauguration and when the Knesset holds its first annual session.
"Today, the Knesset's Hanukkah lighting ceremony was accompanied by a choir of teenage girls who sang for the pleasure of the MKs, House employees and Knesset guests.
"Generally speaking, in plenum session where religious MKs are present, the Speakers have sometimes chosen to respect certain sensitivities and avoid having female performers. In other cases, mixed choirs were invited. These things are decided according to case-by-case merits."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop