Jerusalem – Court Declares Gender Separate Sidewalks In Mea Shearim Illegal

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    Jerusalem – The High Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled against separation between men and women on the sidewalks of Jerusalem’s haredi Mea Shearim neighborhood. The court also disallowed the positioning of “modesty guards” from the neighborhood committee to enforce the separation.

    In addition, the court ruled, women will be allowed to hold a protest march in the neighborhood on Wednesday in protest of the discrimination between men and women. The Jerusalem Police was ordered to allow and guard the procession.

    The court was asked to address the issue after extremists in the area tried to illegally enforce separation between men and women during Sukkot.

    About a fortnight ago, the Eda Haredit faction proposed blocking Mea Shearim’s Mordechai Street to women to prevent men from being near them, but following protest from women’s organizations and police demands, the leaders of the community said the road would not be blocked to women.

    On Monday, two City Council members petitioned the High Court on the issue. Their representative, Attorney Aviad Hacohen, said that despite assurances from the Eda Haredit, screens to separate men from women had been set up and “guards” positioned to enforce the separation.

    The State, in its response Tuesday morning, said there was no place for “pirate” separation in public spaces such as streets, and promised it would prevent this and forbid “guards” from operating in the area. The court accepted the State’s announcement, which supports the petitioners.

    Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria (Tnuat Yerushalmim) said the court’s ruling meant there should be no separation in any public space in the State of Israel. “Any such separation is illegal,” she said, “which means that all sorts of unspoken agreements made with the haredi community will not happen again. This is another stage in the struggle to ensure that public space in Israel is open to men and women alike, just like the struggle against separation on buses.”

    The petition was submitted by ELLA-Israeli Feminist Group, Azaria and Laura Wharton (Meretz), who is also a Jerusalem City Council member. They demanded the police stop the separation immediately throughout Jerusalem and especially in Mea Shearim, protesting police lethargy in acting against it.

    The two petitioners related their own experience when they tried to pass the road in a mixed group. “The women were asked to go to a narrow sidewalk, which hardly had space to pass,” they said. “The men were given the center, with the entire width of the road.”

    When they refused, they said, they were physically and verbally assaulted until they left. At the time, they said, police were present but did nothing.

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    37 COMMENTS

    1. the only way to fight this lunatics is to act like a lunatic too, and say more will come if you do not stop.

      Announcing the first of many

      Annual Mea She’arim beauty contest

      Date- Shimcha Torah night
      Main Event-Bikini contest right after mariv

      all are invited and mixed seating.

      • Grow up. How dowse making a bikini contest help bring people together.

        Most orthodox Jews respect separation by parties and the like as an be seen by winches bais hashieva across America. When done with respect for the torah to both sides – men and women – there is no need for conflict or fighting. When done in a way of hate or disgust fighting will be the inevitable outcome.

    2. Mazel Tov to the courts for seeing daylight.
      I remember as a kid, we had a Haredi as a Rabbi in the Shul. We dcalled him Wyatt Earp. Whenever he came to Shul on Shabbos with his wife, his wide walked 10 paces behind him. When crossing the train tracks one day, after he crossed, a train came by, and he kept on walking while she waited, and he was lost in the distance.
      One day he came to the board, and demanded something crazy, and if they didn’t give it to him he would quit.
      The board told him don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out, and he never came back again.
      It’s about time the women are allowed to be more than cooks, and mistresses!

    3. This is beyond stupid. However, that said, the sidewalks in Mea Shearim are very narrow, just enough for one person at a time, or two people if they are really very skinny. Walking in the street is also not an option, since buses and cars drive by at top speed.

      • papper Says:

        #1. You are a sick person. You may not agree with what is being done, but your suggestions are obscene.

        I know and that is the point

        Most people find the idea of separate sidewalk obscene, degrading, backwards and more.

        My point is, the ultra frum only see everything their way.
        To many secular and orthodox Jews the separate sidewalks are just as obscene as a bikini contest to the Ultra orthodox.

        You cannot only have it your way. If people have to bear what they see as obscene (separate sidewalk) then you should also give in a little and bear something you find obscene.

      • YOELYG Says:

        Go to india or los vagos, its a holy neighborhood, we don’t need this ugly not tznies lady’s

        you do not need the ladies, who will do your laundry.

        How do you know they are ugly, I guess you looked, shame on you. bleach you eyes now to get rid of the tumu

    4. Papper (#5), He is nowhere near as sick as the charedim in meah shearim. And the sickness is bordering on terminal. They all need to stay home, lock the windows and doors, and never ever look at a woman again.

    5. I wouldn’t mind a separation as long as women can 1) walk along every street (i.e. don’t make one street men and one women) and 2) have the same amount of space to walk in as the men, they need it, especially when pushing babies! Oh, and I am a woman!!

    6. reply to 11 YOELYG Says:”Go to india or los vagos, its a holy neighborhood, we don’t need this ugly not tznies lady’s”

      I don’t know where “los vagos” is, but if they they have a school, YOU should go there and learn English.

      It’s not your street, and it’s not your decision, and it’s not your business who walks on the street. If you don’t like it, then YOU hide in your house. Other people don’t have to change their lives so as not to inconvenience you.

    7. This is a very good reminder why secular law in Israel or anywhere is critical to social prosperity. Without the wisdom and the light of secular laws societies fall into dark ages. Legal institutions that are based on religions are very dangerous and lead to backwards societies because they can never be impartial as the main duty is to maintain religious dogmas.
      Israel’s courts are highly respected but the problem is they lack power to enforce. The politicians and the police will not dare to enforce such rulings consistently so life in Mea Sherim will not change at all.

      Sadly Palestinian territory under P.A.’s control has more freedoms and for their women than the Charedim. You won’t find a single neighborhood there that forces their women to wear burqas or walk separate streets or ride in back of a bus.

      • You are right, because in Palestinian terotory no women walks out of the house unless her husband allows her to. And if she ever walks close to a male, she is beaten. Usually she is bot allowed out unless accompanied by a family member.
        As for the rest of the commentators, we are not talking about wide streets. The streets are narrow, with thousands of people bumbing into each other. Beis Din is required to do something. Even Rav Moshe Feinstein, who allows traveling by mass-transist though that it’s squeezed, remarks that it would be better if an alternate method is find.
        And yes, Israel is a Jewish country, and it should be following Jewish Laws, not Secular Laws.

    8. The police were already in place and have forcibly shoved a few chareidi “gender guards” and have torn down their “entry gates”. This court order should settle the issue and any lunatic from meah shearim who dares to try to enforce separation will be grabbed quickly and thrown in jail for simchas torah. At the same time, normal yidden (both men and women) can safely walk through meah shearim without interference.

    9. OK OK guys relax, Court is coming out with a soloution, “Alternate days for men & women. Now if a man walks on a womans day or vice versa he or she gets punished & has to walk one week when it’s the other genders turn. Oh, B’H you can tell it’s chol Ha’moed, everyone has time to write here. Wait??? Is it permitted to type on Chol Ha’moed? OY Vey

    10. #23, if the streets are too crowded, then the charedi bums can stay home. the only thing they do outside is shnorr and stir up trouble. And if they stay home, they dont have to see women. So many of us walk around Manhattan and we somehow survive, even tho there are 1000s of women. I just think these bums have zero self control.

    11. yes good idea #1 a mea searim baeuty contest.bikini wearing yerushalmim.men only.no leg shaving allowed.oiy gevald.were do such thoughts originate.kedusha my friends kedusha.if you smiled there was kedusha……………Sanity is a madness put to good use.
      George Santayana chachma b’goim tamin.

    12. #23: What are you smoking?! Your description of life for women in Palestinian-controlled areas is completely untrue. False. Made up. Please go educate yourself before posting such an ignorant comment. Palestinians, in Israel and outside Israel, are in general the most educated Arabs in the Middle East and most of them in Judea and Samaria are relatively secular.

    13. Why does mea shearim have stricter rules than the Torah? If the Torah thought it was so important to keep men and women so seperate, there would have been stories relating to it…but there are none.

      Just the opposite. There is the story of Yehuda and Tamar….If they kept women and men seperate, how would Yehuda notice Tamar?

      Clearly, these mea shearim people are fanatics. reminds me of the blood thirsty stonings of iranian women in iran. what a chillul Hashem.

    14. Who says a shadchan is the most kosher way to meet a girl? ridiculous.

      The best way to meet is in public places.

      V’HURAYUH, if men and women are always supposed to be seperate, what does a woman need a hair covering for – the man wouldnt be able to the woman anyway!! This proves that men and women are not supposed to be seperate.

      We need R Shlomo Carlebach back to help guide the world in womens rights. Yes, all shuls should allow women to kiss the Torah! There is NOTHING halachically wrong with it.

      Yaakov, Abraham, Yitzchak, etc. They probabaly didnt even have beards. They were great men because of their character and emunah in Hashem – not because they have beards and Hats and try to enforce crazy “modesty” laws, all in the name of G-d.

    15. “#1. You are a sick person. You may not agree with what is being done, but your suggestions are obscene.”

      The Supreme Court has defined obscene as work that appeals predominantly to a prurient interest, or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and that it lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

      His suggestions contains none of these elements. It is therefore not obscene.

    16. As someone in the service business, I cater to many “frum” jews, and many non-frum jews. The non-frum jews routinely pay the fees timely whereas there is less of a percentage for timely payment with the “frum” jews.

      So, who do YOU think is frummer in the eyes of Hashem?

      And NO, mahneh Tayirreh Fyneshmekkers:
      the 360$ check to chaim berlin every 18 months does not excuse the late payment to workers.

    17. Is there a WOMEN ONLY section also? Or are the men the bosses and they set up only an all men section?

      if they were really so “frum”, they would simply cross the street when they saw an immodestly dressed woman. Instead, they make a point to come close to “send the message that the women is immodestly undressed” Yeaaa sureee…..They just want to get a close up view

    18. What’s the big deal? In new square they’ve had seperate sides of the street for years. It makes sense. When all the men are coming home from shul at the same time, I as a woman, would be very uncomfortable to be stuck in the throng, surrounded by men. Personally, when I’m in New square, I just walk on the street with my husband, because the signs are for the sidewalk, and there are no cars on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

    19. reply to #36 confusedmom “what’s the big deal?”

      The big deal is that you can walk with your husband any way you like. That’s the whole point.

      When other people tell you where and how you can and can’t walk, that’s storm trooper behavior.

      The streets don’t belong to them. If I am a non-Jew, or even a non-observant Jew, no charedi “policeman” has a right to tell me where I have to walk or how I have to behave on a PUBLIC street.

      As a frum Jew, I am incredibly offended by this.

      If the residents want to walk separately, that’s their prerogative, and they do it by choice. To force others to conform to their own rules is arrogant, self-righteous, and 100% wrong.

      I wonder if you were a tourist in Rome, or walked by the Vatican, and you were told that to walk through the street you were required to kneel and cross yourself, because that’s what people in their religion believe should be done when you pass a church or other holy place to them. Wouldn’t you be outraged?

      Ultra-Orthodox Jews do not own or run the world yet. They don’t even own, or run, Israel. Until they do, they should be glad that they have religious freedom, and stop denying it to others.

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