Seg­re­gated pub­lic buses ruled il­le­gal

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER JERUSALEM

A SPE­CIAL com­mit­tee has ruled that gen­der-seg­re­gated pub­lic buses are il­le­gal, but at the same time will al­low the strictly Or­tho­dox com­mu­nity to or­gan­ise seg­re­gated pri­vate trans­port.

The largest trans­port co-op­er­a­tive, Egged, has about 55 bus lines on which men and women are made to sit sep­a­rately as a re­sult of strictly Or­tho­dox pres­sure. Pe­ti­tions against this to the Supreme Court re­sulted in a com­mit­tee ap­pointed by the Trans­port Min­istry.

This week, fol­low­ing more than a year of de­lib­er­a­tion, the com­mit­tee ruled that seg­re­ga­tion is “un­con­sti­tu­tional and de­grad­ing”. It rec­om­mended that pub­lic bus com­pa­nies “di­rect driv­ers not to im­pose any kind of seg- re­ga­tion or dis­crim­i­na­tion against pas­sen­gers and...do ev­ery­thing in their power to pre­vent any kind of co­er­cion or vi­o­lence be­tween the pas­sen­gers.”

The com­mit­tee also rec­om­mended that th­ese con­di­tions be part of all pub­lic trans­port li­censes and that “no pub­lic buses be la­belled in any way as ‘mehadrin’ or hav­ing any spe­cial ar­range­ments of that kind”.

The re­port was greeted with sat­is­fac­tion by fem­i­nist and civil-rights groups who cam­paigned against the seg­re­ga­tion. But the strictly Or­tho­dox lobby which sup­ported the buses in court noted that the re­port still al­lowed them to run pri­vate seg­re­gated bus lines as long as they are op­er­ated con­sen­su­ally and without any vi­o­lence or co­er­cion to­wards pas­sen­gers.

One of 55 gen­der-seg­re­gated buses run by Egged. Women sit at the back

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