Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and senior State Prosecution officials will meet Thursday to devise legal ways to combat radical religious elements' demand to exclude women from the public sphere in Israel.
The meeting was called at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The panel will explore the possibility of applying various legal and punitive measures to fight the phenomenon, which has escalated to the point where women and girls have been verbally attacked and even spat on.
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State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, Deputy State Prosecutor Yehushua Lamberger, Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel and AG deputies Raz Nizri and Orit Koren are set to take part in the meeting.
The Attorney General's Office said that the issue of women's exclusion is extremely grave and that it must be dealt with to the full extent of the law in order to nip the phenomenon in the bud.
Netanyahu addressed the issue in a Knesset plenum meeting held Wednesday: "We will stop the extremists and we will pursue this issue to the full extent of the law. We will not tolerate anyone spitting on women in the street simply because they don't agree with the way they are dressed," he said.
Still, the prime minister warned against projecting the phenomenon on the ultra-Orthodox community as a whole: "We have to be careful and not generalize here. Any attempt to link an entire sector to the acts of an extreme, lawless fringe group, is utterly irresponsible."
On Tuesday, MK Nachman Shai (Kadima)presented the Knesset with a bill proposing to label women's exclusion a criminal offence.
The bill calls for women's segregation and exclusion to become felonies carrying a mandatory three-year prison sentence.
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