Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein recommended on Wednesday that the exclusion of women from the public sphere be considered a criminal offence. Weinstein informed a number of ministers of his decision to adopt the recommendations of a report issued by the Justice Ministry on the matter.
Weinstein told the ministers, including Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Health Minister Yael German, that "conduct meant to prevent women from receiving public services under equal conditions should be deemed criminal."
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He also urged the ministers to promote legislation that would outlaw acts of harassment or humiliation against any person due to his or her race, religion, nationality or sexual preference."
Sign requesting women to walk on opposite sidewalk (Photo: Mikel Lipkin)
The Justice Ministry's report, which was drafted by a task force set up a year-and-a-half ago following numerous incidents in which women were excluded from the public sphere, calls to ban gender segregation in State ceremonies, buses, clinics, cemeteries and radio stations.
The report said the "severe phenomenon is characterized by discrimination against women only because they are women. This discrimination undermines the basic principles on which the democratic regime in the State of Israel was founded."
AG Weinstein called on all local municipalities to act immediately in order to abolish gender segregation. The Justice Ministry's task force urged the Religions Affairs Ministry to work toward lifting the ban on women from delivering eulogies.
The report also determined that government offices and public authorities are forbidden from organizing an event in which men and women are separated.
The Justice Ministry also called out against two phenomena in the haredi sector: The posting of signs ordering women to dress modestly or walk on the other side of the street, and the ban on women from being heard on the regional Kol Berama radio station.
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