The ongoing anti-chareidi media campaign appears to have provided a fighting spirit for those opposed to the mehadrin bus lines. The Yisrael Chofshit (Free) organization is taking advantage of the current political climate, one that has painted the chareidi tzibur in a very poor light, planning to target mehadrin buses.
Using the internet and email to spread the word, organizers are calling on the general public to join in achieving the noble goal of standing up for women’s rights and to bring an end to the discrimination against women on segregated seating bus lines.
If their plan is actualized, thousands of people on Sunday, 6 Teves, will board mehadrin buses and create new facts on the ground – hoping to bring an abrupt end to segregated gender seating. This will be taking place in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Ramat Gan and Rechovot. In an ‘act of protest’, they will get onto mehadrin bus lines in the areas mentioned, and men and women will sit at one-another’s side on the bus.
According to the publicity circulating for the planned event, it also enjoys the support of the New Israel Fund, The Center for Jewish Pluralism, Awakening in Jerusalem, The Conservative Movement, Na’amat and others.
Organizers are angry with the government, explaining that the government subsidizes mehadrin lines and as such, encourages and gives monetary backing to discrimination against women.
A number of members of Knesset have announced plans to join in, including Eitan Cabel (Labor), Rachel Adatto (Kadima), Shlomo Molla (Kadima) and Zahava Gal-On (Meretz).
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)