Petition to Protest Gender Segregation of Women

In recent months we evidence a trend buildup of gender segregation, which practically means the exclusion of women from public space in Israel - in city streets, the army, education system and even a national ceremony
(Tamar Frenkel)

In recent months, Israel has been facing higher accounts of gender segregation, which in practice translates to the exclusion of women from public spaces – whether in city streets, the army, in our educational system and even during national ceremonies. This blatant deterioration occurring before our eyes is cause for great anxiety. Events which before couldn’t even be imagined are now a present reality. Who is to say where this will all lead next?
The exclusion of women has made its way into a variety of public spaces: on public buses, Mea Shearim sidewalks, separate Rav-Card issuing stations in Jerusalem, separate HMO branches and a newly established Magen David Adom station reserved for male volunteers only. Not surprisingly, this segregation is not only confined to  ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods but has spread throughout the city, as seen through the removal of women’s faces from advertisements, signs and billboards in Jerusalem.
 
The army has also experienced a series of unfortunate events pointing to the increased exclusion of women from public space. Some examples include the transfer of women officers into new units due to the arrival of religious soldiers into their former unit, the refusal by male soldiers to condone fellow women soldiers singing during ceremonies (upon which they threatened to leave), derogatory remarks directed towards women soldiers, and finally the segregation of celebratory events during Hakafot-Shniyot at the conclusion of Simchat Torah..
 
The voices calling for separation are also infiltrating into the religious educational system. In practice, this means the exclusion of women from public space. This includes, for example, the prevention of young girls from reading aloud or playing instruments during ceremonies.
An extreme example of women's exclusion recently occurred at an awards ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Health in honor of outstanding researchers. Among the winners were two women scientists. Per the organizers’ request, a male representative was delegated to accept the prize on behalf of the women. Their names were not even announced, so their identity as women may remain secret.
 
Time and time again, it has become apparent that the true outcome of gender segregation is actually an exclusion of girls and women from public spaces.
 
Separation designed to exclude women are often supported in the name of upholding Jewish law (Halacha), but much of it is based on unilateral and biased interpretation of the law which ignores human dignity, and the proclamation which states "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace".
 
We call on all government institutions - the Knesset, government ministries, and judiciary – to stand firmly against this, to put an end to the exclusion of women, and to serve as a role model for them.  We call on the citizens of Israel to make themselves aware of this phenomenon and to protest against it so decision makers will understand the price in submitting to the norms which extremist groups attempt to enforce in the general public sphere.
 
It is out of deep concern for the nature of public space and the place of women within it that we, the signatories, condemn  the false interpretation of "And God created man in His own image" in the treatment of women, in the perception of women solely as objects and tools for sexual seduction.

Add your signature to the petition here





   

Address:Beit Hillel, Har Hzofim Campus, Jerusalem , P.O.B. 10502 Jerusalem 91104 ISRAEL, phone: 972-26720321 fax: 972-26730595. email: kolech@kolech.com

,   ,  , ,