Israel: Thousands protest over religion-based segregation of women
Protests are taking place throughout Israel in the wake of numerous incidents over the past few weeks, which have brought long standing, religious-based social conflicts to the top of the public discourse; Recent incidents include attempted segregation of women on buses, harassment of secular persons by religious extremists in their neighborhoods and the story of the ongoing harassment of a 7 year-old girl by extremists in Beit Shemesh.
Thousands gathered in Beit Shemesh Tuesday for a demonstration protesting the growing demand by radical religious elements to exclude women from public life in Israel.
The rally will feature several female speakers who were victims of haredi violence. Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Rabbi Haim Amsalem also addressed the crowd.
Protesters were hoisting banners reading “Free Israel from religious coercion,” “Stop Israel from becoming Iran,” Segregation is a red line,” and “The majority is silent no more.”
Public outcry against the radical demand to shun women from public events and for segregation between the sexes on busses, sidewalks and even in lines in the supermarket, became especially strident over the weakened when seven-year-old Na’ama Margolis was spat on in a Beit Shemesh street by haredi man who claimed she was not dressed “modestly enough.”