Women Sues Israel Railway After Alleged Carriage Transfer Due To Shacharit Prayer

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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — A passenger on Israel railways is suing the railway company for 66,000 NIS (20,000$) after she claimed to have been “highly insulted” when she was asked to move to another carriage while other male passengers conducted a public prayer service.

The case occurred about a year ago. Maya Melitz was sitting in a relatively empty carriage when ten men began praying the Shacharit service.

After a quarter of an hour, a railway official asked her if she would agree to move to the other carriage, since she was the only female present. Melitz claimed in a Ynet interview that she “froze on the spot and was shocked by the request itself.” In the end she refused to move, claiming that the carriage “is not an orthodox synagogue.” Melitz added that “my shock changed to a feeling of deep insult that my presence as a female disturbs others from praying and the only solution on the part of the official was to transfer me elsewhere. A moment earlier I had enjoyed listening to the prayers and occupied myself with my own affairs and the next moment the official tells me that my mere presence offends someone else.”

Melitz presented a lawsuit against the railway authorities via the Women’s Lobby and the Reform Center For Religion And State, claiming discrimination against her as a woman.

Israel Railways responded by stressing that in contrast to Melitz’s claims, she was not asked to leave the carriage. Melitz initiated the conversation with the service personnel, claiming that the prayer taking place in her carriage disturbed her and the official answered that the worshipers have a right to pray and there was no reason to transfer them. He suggested that if she wanted she could move to another carriage.

The railway company concluded that “We are dismayed that the passenger chose to present a baseless lawsuit a year after the event, after she already complained to the railway authorities and received our response.”

 

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