Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Women protest haredi discrimination
Dozens march in haredi area in central Jerusalem in protest of separation between men and women on sidewalks in Mea Shearim neighborhood, hold signs reading 'Jerusalem is not Tehran'
Dozens of women and men marched in an ultra-Orthodox area in central Jerusalem on Wednesday, in protest of the discrimination between men and women on the streets of the Mea Shearim neighborhood during the Sukkot holiday.
The police set up barriers near the Shabbat Square, and the protestors retraced their steps and ended the rally. Loud arguments were heard between the protestors and local haredi residents.
At the start of the procession, its organizers stressed that the protest would be held "without any unnecessary provocations" and expressed their hope that they would not encounter violence.
The march was stopped several meters before the Shabbat Square. Large police forces were dispatched to the area, including mounted police, and the demonstration was dispersed shortly afterwards.
One of the organizers, Rona Orovano, chanted on a loudspeaker, "Women were created in the image of God as well." She wore a shirt with the slogan, "This is what a Jerusalem feminist looks like," while the protestors held signs reading, "Jerusalem is not Tehran, the silent majority is awakening."
The procession was attended by secular public figures, including former Knesset Member Mossi Raz (Meretz) and Jerusalem Council Member Laura Wharton.
Rachel Taler, a local resident, shouted at the protestors from her balcony: "This is unprecedented impudence, you animals. This is a very specific place for certain people who want to live this way. They have the right to do whatever they want in their own homes. Why are they coming in here? It's as if they would tell me what to cook in my own kitchen."
'Go protest near the Arabs'
Haim Weinstock, another Mea Shearim resident, said as he passed by the protest: "This is a provocation for the sake of provocation. Why is separation okay in their clubs and not here? It's only three hours a day. I'd like to see them have the courage to protest near the Arabs in east Jerusalem."
Most of the neighborhood's residents were in the synagogues during the procession, while some watched the protestors on the street and from the houses' windows. The chance for clashes was reduced due to the long prayers characterizing the last day of the intermediate period of Sukkot.
The High Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that the segregation on Mea Shearim's streets was illegal and ordered the police to allow the protestors to march inside the neighborhood