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Bus to Jerusalem stopped after woman refuses to move to back

All Tanya Rosenblit wanted to do was get on a bus to Jerusalem. She didn’t have any plans to turn into the Israeli Rosa Parks, when a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews demanded she move to the back of the bus

Tanya Rosenblit

It was supposed to be just another regular Friday morning for Tanya Rosenblit. Tanya had to get from her hometown Ashdod to Jerusalem for a meeting there. On the way, Rosenblit experienced one of the most intimidating stories of religious coercion I’ve seen lately: She was told by a Haredi man to get to the back of the bus, or nobody was going to go anywhere.

And what do you think Rosenblit did? That’s right – she stayed put. And she took pictures of the whole ordeal and later wrote about it on Facebook. Here’s her story, which I publish a part of with her permission:

A bus ride to Jerusalem taking the wrong turn…

I lived in Israel all my life. I was brought up in a free country and I was taught the value of freedom as a basic right that could never be undermined by anyone. All my life, during my teens, my military service, my university years and then after I always felt as equal among my peers. I was always proud to be a woman and never felt deprived or weakened by men, until today.I had an appointment in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem and looked for easy transportation on a Friday morning. After checking the official Egged site, which is the leading bus company in Israel, I decided to take line 451 from Ashdod (my hometown) to Jerusalem. I chose this line because it stopped a mere five minute walk from my scheduled appointment.

The driver looked at the station where I was standing and didn’t stop. I had to signal him by raising my hand for him to stop. When I entered the bus he looked surprised. He explained that the only ones who go on the bus are Orthodox Jews. I sat behind him in the first row and asked for him to tell me when we get to my station.

At the next stop, Orthodox Jews started mounting the bus. At first, they just stared at me, but said nothing and moved on to sit somewhere in the bus behind us. Only one passenger decided that he preferred standing on the stairs near the driver, although there was plenty of space. I didn’t mind that, and focused on the music in my ears. But then, another one entered the bus, but instead of entering, he prevented the driver from closing the door. He looked at me with despise, and when I took off the earphones, I heard him call me “Shikse”, which means “whore” in Yiddish. He demanded I sit in the back of the bus, because Jewish men couldn’t sit behind women (!!!). I refused.

The driver tried to talk to him, explained that he was late, but the “penguin” wouldn’t budge. Another passenger, also religious and orthodox asked the driver to be refunded because he was gonna miss his meeting. He also said that he didn’t mind what was going on, he just wanted to get to where he was going and that the fact that they decided to stop the bus is a good reason for the driver to give him his money back. For company policy, he didn’t, but that’s a different story.

The driver understood he was not going to move anytime soon, so he called the police. Until that moment, no one tried to talk to me. The only comment I heard was from the initiator of this whole mess ordering me to sit in the back of the bus as a sign of respect. In the meantime, a crowd started forming outside the bus, as a result of his cries. I was starting to get scared, to tell you the truth. There were like 20 of them, all wearing black. Most of them were just curious, but they were definitely on his side.

After a while, the police came. It was one officer who first talked to the driver. The driver explained to him that he didn’t tell me anything and that they wouldn’t budge. Then, the officer had a long conversation with the person who started this whole mess. It seemed quite friendly, and in the end, the policeman came to me and asked me if I was willing to respect them and sit in the back of the bus. I answered that I respected them enough by wearing modest cloths, because I knew I was going to an Orthodox neighborhood, but I wouldn’t be humiliated by those who can’t even respect their own mothers and wives.

The officer stepped down and so did the leader of the little protest that was going on. He stayed in Ashdod, while the rest of the Orthodox Jews, including those who got on the bus later on boarded the bus and quietly went to sit behind me. The person who chose to stand on the stairs at the beginning remained on the stairs sitting and praying throughout the entire bus ride, because he wouldn’t sit behind a woman!!!

The entire delay took about half an hour, but we managed to arrive on time. In the neighborhood, I met some very pleasant people who were very happy and eager to help me when I asked for directions, men and women, Orthodox and religious. When I later decided to take a walk around the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, I was again treated as an equal, as a secular woman, with the utmost respect and sympathy, by men and women of all streams.

The reason I am posting this story is not to declare the Orthodox Jews as pure evil and the oppressors of human rights and liberties. I want to point out that this is a social and educational problem. There are a lot of lovely things about religion, but forcing people to choose religion is wrong. It is wrong to use religion as an excuse to eliminate people’s basic rights: the right for freedom and the right for dignity.

Waiting for Rosenblit to move to the back, preventing driver from moving (photo: Tanya Rosenblit)

A crowd gathers outside (Photo: Tanya Rosenblit)

He won't sit behind a woman (photo: Tanya Rosenblit)

Policeman speaks to "head" of protest (photo: Tanya Rosenblit)

Most passengers just didn't care (photo :Tanya Rosenblit)

Tanya’s story filled me with mixed emotions. First and foremost, I am in awe of her bravery. I don’t think there was any danger of violence, but to stand up to that kind of intimidation shows an inner strength of a very special kind.

And, of course, it filled me with anger. That the policeman actually asked her to move. And that this is what Israel is turning in to. It’s a slow process. But it’s steady.

Tanya wishes to make sure that her cry is not against the ultra-Orthodox as a whole and does not wish to turn this into a religious war of any kind. As she told me today: “The extremists are the problem. In Israel 2011 we are waging a battle for individual rights. We should fight for freedom and tolerance for all.”

I agree with Tanya that these are extremists. But I also believe their numbers are on the rise, and that the current political system has shown no interest whatsoever in changing the tide.

P.S. I just have to add that as much as I don’t like the word “shikse”, I don’t particularly approve of the term “penguin” as well. I can only presume it was written when emotions ran high.

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    1. Bracha

      Aaron!! Thank you for taking the time to tell it like it is.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Proud of her.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Jeff

      @Aaron –

      Wow. Just – wow.

      You have a profound capacity for denial. That level of not-getting-it-ness is a gift.

      Kol HaKavod.

      Reply to Comment
    4. David Skoll

      “Just because she had a legal right to sit where she wanted, doesn’t mean she should have insisted on that right.”

      Absolutely she should have. If you don’t defend your legal rights, you will lose them.

      Reply to Comment
    5. David Skoll

      “By acquiescing to their mores during the course of a bus ride is not such a big thing.”

      Yes, it is. It’s a HUGE thing. By acquiescing, we are saying their feelings are more important than ours. That their values deserve more respect than ours. That we are willing to let them impose their morals on everyone because we don’t want to offend them.

      Well, sorry. That’s not how it works. Many Haredi practices are blatantly offensive and I don’t care about their feelings when I say they need to stop their disgusting behaviour towards women and stop trying to justify sexism by pointing at Torah.

      At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand and say “No. Your demands have no place in a modern democratic nation and WE WILL NOT ACQUIESCE.”

      Reply to Comment
    6. Good for her. it is time for all of us to say that we won’t stand for this type of stupidity!

      Reply to Comment
    7. aristeides

      From the reactions here, it seems that not only are there no gentlemen in Israel, Israelis don’t even know what the word means.

      If the man on the bus had known how to act like a gentleman instead of a boor, this situation would probably never have escalated as it did.

      Reply to Comment
    8. AMIR.BK

      From reading your comments it appears that not only do you not understand why generalizations are bad but you actually relish in your bigotry.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      Yehudit – “a religious situation?”

      No, taking a bus to work is a transportation situation. People get on a bus because they need to go from Point A to Point B.

      If haredim want to be constantly in a religious situation, to pray, to study Torah, then they had better remain in shul or the kollel and not emerge into the world where other people might think their own needs have as much weight as men from this artificial “sheltered world.”

      Reply to Comment
    10. Ed

      Tanya rocks

      Reply to Comment
    11. Daniel ben Immanuel

      I love it!! Well done Tanya!! And about the word “penguins” I also don’t approve, but only because such disrespectful behavior as those “orthodox” men exhibited is an insult to the real birds!!!
      If I were a penguin, I wouldn’t want to be compared to those clowns.
      In an educated civilized world women are respected and given preference over an above male comfort. Rather than treat Ms. Rosenblit so shamefully, they should have accommodated her with kindness and deference. As a civilized man, that’s what I would have done.
      Or do they imagine they could “catch more flies with vinegar than with honey”?

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sasha

      @ Lisa R

      Please don’t make this about (implied Jewish) legalism vs. the “grace” of Christianity or how Jesus and Paul may have acted. Look at how 1 & 2 Corinthians have been used to keep women “in their place” in the church. Sadly, no religion, at least not of the Abrahamic three, has a monopoly on misogyny and patriarchy.

      @ Aaron

      Of course there are times when it is best to defer to the customs or, dare I say, weaknesses of another. This was an excellent time for these Haredi men to put their piety where their practice is and remember that it is a sin to embarrass someone. As others have pointed out on here, there is a difference between following the practices of one’s host while a guest in their home, and expecting public institutions to cater to one’s religious preferences.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Aaron

      @Henry Weinstein: I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition! Also, sorry if I’m coming across as didactic. I’m just giving my own stupid and uninformed opinions, like everyone else.

      @David Skoll: I’m sympathetic to your “use it or lose it” argument for insisting on rights, because relations between secular and haredi are already so poisoned. In a war, you can’t surrender a single hilltop. But I think the time to insist on that is when there’s an imminent danger to those legal rights, which there isn’t now.

      @Jeff: How do I “not get it”? Here’s my understanding: “Tanya Rosenblit has a legal and moral right to sit anywhere she wants on a bus. The bus is public and taxpayer-funded, so it belongs to all of us, not just one group. The haredim have no right to take over a public bus and illegally impose their own religious beliefs on others. Moreover, being asked to sit in the back of the bus is disrespectful and degrading.” Now, how am I misunderstanding your position? What is it that I don’t get?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Devorah

      shikseh does not mean whore. it means a goya in yiddish.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Rachel Canar

      Please make Tanya aware that her story is very much needed by the organizations that have a Supreme Court case to end this type of religious coercion. She really should bring her stories and photos to the Israel Religious Action Center (English website http://www.irac.org)who can guide her and give her the power to use her experience to put a stop to this. She can reach the attorneys at 02-6203323

      Reply to Comment
    16. Steve

      One of the greatest successes of religious people is making it look like they are the only people with values that must be respected. Secular people don’t have values, it is suggested. And even if they did, they do not come from God, so they don’t really count. But non-discrimination is a value. The right to move freely through the public sphere regardless of your sex is a value. Religious people are rarely more annoying than when they expect secular people to forego their values because somehow the religious person’s values count more, presumably because they are based in a (misguided) belief in God and so are truer or more strongly held than a secular person’s values.
      And by the way: I’m not sure that discrimination is allowed even on private bus lines. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.

      Reply to Comment
    17. tania josefa

      shikse does not mean whore, in yiddish, although it certainly is a pejorative term.

      when the police officer asked tanya if she would respect them and move from her seat, she should have asked the police officer if they would respect her and the law. there is a law that defends the right of anyone to sit anywhere on a public bus.

      it happened to me once too. i got on a public bus and sat down near the front and they asked me to movre to the back. i did because it was laqte at night and i was very tired. and my cousin was on the bus and i did not want to involve her. it was very upsetting. i felt humiliated and very sorry for the people who think it is OK to separate men and women in public places. they can do what they want in their homes, but demanding ‘respect’ in public places? they should definitely NOT be shown ‘respect’ in public places when they defy civil law. on the contrary, they should be ignored.

      i would say that women should get together and ride these buses in groups and sit in the front seats.

      Reply to Comment
    18. sara farber

      Kol Hakavod Tanya!

      It is unbearably painful to me when ignorant people distort out beautiful Jewish legacy to justify their fears and bigotry! We are faced with enough hatred from our enemies, lets try not to create more from with in our Jewish world!

      PS, Shiksa means goy, non Jew, not whore.(Not justifying, just translating).

      Reply to Comment
    19. Steve

      Lots of people commenting here think that “it’s OK to do what you want in your own home”, but I think that’s something worth thinking about too if what you want to do in your own home is to oppress women. The extreme instance of letting people do in their own homes whatever they want to do is female genital mutilation (AkA female circumcision). A practice that reflects authentic religious tradition? Or a form of abuse that must be stopped?
      My point being that in a given society there are the strong and the weak, and we shouldn’t let religious “values” justify the continuing dominance of the former over the latter.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Jonathan

      Finally someone with some balls.
      Well done Tanya Rosenblit. How do i find you on FB so i can help gather some support for you.

      Reply to Comment
    21. MIRIAM

      almost all the commenters here are furious at this incident and are calling it an infriction on her rights. i, on the other hand, call on the intelligent readers to look at the other side of the story for a moment.
      tanya needed to get from ashdod to jerusalem.
      she could either choose to travel by the standard line, or the chereidi line.
      the standard line runs from the central bus station in ashdod to the C.B.S in JLM.
      the line did not suite chareidi travellers because the bus stops in both areas are very inconvinient to chareidi communities- so they got together and created routes 450/451 whith stops going through chareidi areas both in JLM and ashdod.
      as they created a line specifically geared to service their own communities they decided that seperate seating buses are more appropriate for them.
      in choosing to travel on line 450 tanya could have simply respected the wishes of the people that created the line , instead of demanding that everyone respect her wishes. if she doesnt like the idea.. than catch a regular bus.
      i am writing this from the point of view of a female resident of ashdod living in a non-chareidi neighbourhood, who travels on the 450 regularly because it convinient for me, and happily sit at the rear of the bus.they are providing me a service and i can respect their peferences instead of expecting everyone to respect mine.
      incidntally having women sit at the back serves a very usefull purpose to nursing mothers(of which there are many on chareidi lines.)it gives the mothers enough privacy to comfartably nurse their babies on the 1 and a half- 2 hour journeywhich would very difficulf for them if there were men sitting around them
      also i dont understand why she thinks she has the right yo make comments like “I wouldn’t be humiliated by those who can’t even respect their own mothers and wives.”
      all that being said i have seen men repectfully asked to go to the front and women respectfully asked to go to the back.usually they agree without a fuss,but for those that do not i have never seen a spectacle such as tanya described.
      i hope i have given the other side of the story clearly and have given some of you food for thought

      Reply to Comment
    22. Beth

      @Yehudit Sarah:

      — the Orthodox man must have made the comment thinking Tanya was a non Jewish —

      Jewish law requires us to give the benefit of the doubt. Was this man doing that when he presumes a woman wasn’t a Jew? Most Jews consider being unrecognized as a Jew deeply insulting and even hurtful.

      What about the mitzvah of not causing another human being unnecessary embarrassment? Ramban teaches that we may not make a public scene to correct someone in public unless they are violating a Torah prohibition. Others are more stringent and insist that even a violation of a Torah prohibition cannot be used to publicly shame someone. Even when there is grounds for public correction, the correction must be limited to correcting the problem. How exactly does “Shiksa” solve any problem? Do you really think this man believed she was violating a Torah prohibition by sitting in the front seat?

      Sadly, your own attempt to be charitable to this man only underscores the problems with his behavior.

      — How does it hinder Tanya? —

      Neither you, nor I, nor the man who protested know the answer to that question.

      Given that she sat in a seat that is reserved for those with health issues caused by age, illness, or disability, when she refused to move, the presumption SHOULD have been that she had an undisclosed reason. Not all health reasons are immediately visible.

      Whether or not that she actually did have a health reason is irrelevant. In public settings we have to go by presumptions because in general, we don’t have a right to demand someone divulge personal information, especially information which may provide them some discomfort. (due to the prohibition against causing public embarrassment).

      This protester’s disregard (and yours) of possible health reasons for her wanting that seat would seem to place minhag above pikuach nefesh. Pickuah nefesh even takes precedence over Shabbat which is clearly a Torah matter. Qal v’chomer pikuah nefesh takes precedence over a minhag.

      I say “would seem” because it is entirely possible that this man was himself in need of a privileged front seat for health reasons and was too embarrassed to admit it. But I find that hard to conclude because normally when people come up with non-personal excuses for a personal need, they don’t hurl derogatory names in addition (there are exceptions for certain kinds of emotional illness and disability – for example a person with Tourette’s syndrome can sometimes utter socially inappropriate words under stress). Furthermore, it does seem to me that he had many other alternatives if he genuinely needed the seat: for example, asking one of the men in the front seats the other side of the bus, taking a second row seat, or waiting for the next bus instead of holding the bus up.

      — these men practice a particular brand of stringency which, if understood properly, is not a putting down of women at all, but a restricting of themselves from being put into a situation of potential temptation. —

      There are MANY ways to manage temptation. In Hilchot Teshuvot, Rambam defines repentance as being in the same situation and not making the same mistake. Thus teshuva is not about avoiding temptation but rather developing the character needed to control one’s behavior in the face of temptation.

      Second, to what extent is anyone obligated to restrict their behavior because of someone else’s struggles with temptation? Chofetz Chaim cautions against singling out someone for public compliments least one stir jealousy in the hearts of others so there is at least some basis for saying that we should consider each other’s temptations.

      But clearly there are limits, both on the kinds of restrictions and the circumstances.

      Chofetz Chaim isn’t restricting the speaker’s liberty of action, only his liberty of speech. Further, there is a general prohibition against causing a third party harm by one’s words. He isn’t adding a new rule but rather elaborating on the possible situations where words can cause harm. Although it may seem like praise will help someone, it can also hurt them if it makes others resentful.

      But consider another situation. Suppose a person is prone to flying into rages and hitting people when another person disagrees with them? Is everyone around that person obligated to agree with that person on all matters lest he or she be tempted to hit a fellow human being? What if the person only has a problem with women or children? Does that mean that men may speak their mind to this man, but women and children are prohibited? What if the provocation is a stubborn animal? Is the animal obligated to not be stubborn least this man violate the commandment not to be cruel to animals. The simple truth is, if we make our own temptation a universal reason for restricting third party behavior, we end up with ridiculous ideas that make a mockery of human will. The conclusion of the famous goring bull discussion in Baba Kama is that just as the owner of a pet wild animal is fully responsible for the behavior of that animal, each human being is the owner of his own human animal and therefore responsible for restricting his own liberty if he cannot manage temptation.

      Because there is no absolute right to use my own temptation as a ground for restricting the behavior of others, one can’t just claim “he’s tempted and she must accommodate”. One must explain why the normal assumption that we are each responsible for managing our own temptations does not apply.

      — “Oh, you know what, you’re right! We’re wrong.” So what do you gain? —

      Being right for the sake of being right is never good. Wanting to be right to look right or to shame another is arrogance. However, if one’s motive in opposing another is to promote a better understanding of human responsibility and deeper respect for human beings created b’zelem elokim, then one gains a measure of tikkun olam.

      Before you leap up and say “well, this woman was just doing it out of pride”, please consider all of our obligation to give the other the benefit of the doubt. You do not know this woman’s heart, nor do I. However, we can both, I’m sure, imagine someone motivated out of an intuitive, if not educated, love of Torah and justice. If it is possible to imagine, shouldn’t we consider imagining it?

      — Additionally, if they wish to conduct the afternoon (or evening)prayers which is their obligation —

      The obligation is not unconditional nor is it fixed at an exact point in time. This bus ride was short enough for him to have said Shacharit before the ride and Minchah after it. Pikuah nefesh trumps it whether the issue is danger to oneself or a third party.

      In any case, it is clearly not forbidden even to haredi men to daven in the presence of women, before or behind, to the right or left, if it is not a fixed place of prayer. It happens all the time on El Al flights between Israel and New York.

      The bus in not considered a preferred place to pray, let alone a fixed place of prayer, because of the danger in standing on a moving bus, the difficulties maintaining kavenah, and the potential need to interrupt prayers from time to time in order to be respectful of the safety of other passengers.

      I’m going to stop here, because I think I’ve made my point that there are quite a number of very Jewish and even halachic issues with this man’s behavior and your defense of it. Please note that I haven’t even mentioned once any arguments related to gender putdowns.

      Reply to Comment
    23. AYLA

      @Amir–thank you. Also, @Mitchell–your voice is important on this site and thread. And anyone I’ve missed who isn’t standing on a soap box: thank you, too. Mostly, @Tanya (and @Ami, for giving her this platform): for making it clear that she did not intend to start a civil war against the religious, since rights for everyone are, indeed, for EveryOne.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Rachel

      I fully agree that she should have stuck to her guns and stayed where she was! I would not ever sit net to a Haredi gentleman because that would offend him but this nonsense about the buses ridiculous! Haredim travel quite happily by plane on El Al and they do not insist then they cannot sit behind women because they know they would not get away with it! Remember shabbat lifts? A Rabbi said they were not kosher as the motor had to work harder when someone got in, even if they didnt press the buttons. Then someone else pointed out fridges are the same and the argument about the shabbat lifts melted away like the morning mist because not using fridges would be too inconvenient in Israel in summer! By all means have rules but dont bend them to suit yourselves!

      Reply to Comment
    25. Rachel

      Beth your answer was amazing and very interesting, thank you

      Reply to Comment
    26. chaim

      as a Torah observant man i would have asked nicely
      but if the person refused just sit and mind my own
      business BTW the police have right to arrest the guy, as it says on the bus.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Eleanor

      The business of the Orthodox asking for “respect” is infuriating to me. I am an almost 70 y/o Jewish American woman who thinks the ultra Orthodox are as sick as the crazy Muslims and Israel bowing to these people sure would not make a family member of mine want to leave the U.S.A. for Israel. Truly I am ashamed that we are both Jewish. In America, a shiksa is a Gentile woman, not a whore. That these people live and die thinking they are holy is truly nauseating. And still you all want to very carefully say that you are not picking on the ultra Orthodox. G-d forbid they get offended. Perhaps their behavior offends me, you, us, the rest of the Jewish world??? Is it not time they leave the dark ages and treat women properly? Let’s start by educating the women — that will end the abuse, when their women tell the men where they can go.

      Reply to Comment
    28. aristeides

      No, Miriam, “they” did not get together and create the bus line. The public bus company did.

      If “they” had gotten together to buy their own busses and hire their own drivers, they could set whatever rules they wanted. But they, it seems, are accustomed to taking what belongs to the public and confiscating it for their own needs, excluding the rest of the public from the full enjoyment of the service they pay for.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Jeff

      @Miriam: “i am writing this from the point of view of a female resident of ashdod living in a non-chareidi neighbourhood, who travels on the 450 regularly because it convinient for me, and happily sit at the rear of the bus.they are providing me a service and i can respect their peferences instead of expecting everyone to respect mine.”

      Who are “they”? “They” are NOT the Haredim. “They” are the people at Egged, which is a publicly funded cooperative organization. I agree completely with Aristedes: “But they, it seems, are accustomed to taking what belongs to the public and confiscating it for their own needs, excluding the rest of the public from the full enjoyment of the service they pay for.”

      Reply to Comment
    30. As they (the male haredis) do not serve in Israel’s army, they have no right to ask anything of anyone. Yes, I know there are a few who do and they do have rights to ask someone nicely and with the relevant explanation as to why they think like they think. It is not a Torah issue at all, it is just that they have dirty minds are are allegedly sex crazy. I have seen them in Europe visiting houses of ill repute on many occassions and they wish to inject their twisted minds onto good God fearing real “Orthodox” souls, even if some of you do not pray from a book every day and you drive on Shabbat, the fact that you respect other peoples feeling like that lady by dressing in the appropriate manner, shows that you are the real “Orthodox” Jews of Israel. The next fact is that by serving in the Jewish army of Israel or by doing National service for the Jewish State, shows how “orthodoxy” really is. Those that do not give, deserve nothing, money, respect or tolerance.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Tamar Schmidt

      Israel as a democratic state should finally seperate state and religion. It can not be present at the time that women are discriminated in Buses and can not sit where they want, because women have the same rights as man on the bus with normal ticket. I am upset that a police officer as the representant of the Israeli state behaved that way. All women should organize together to enforce the rights of women.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Sarah

      The separation of state and religion is not the issue–the marginalization of women in certain communities is the issue. Make Israel totally secular and this behavior will continue still, so “separation” gains us nothing. I’m frum but if someone asked me to move because he doesn’t like to see or sit behind women, I’d tell him to take a blooming taxi. Or buy blinders. It’s YOUR problem, guy, not mine.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Billie Ben Asher

      עצומה בעניין הדרת נשים(English below) בחו..

      Reply to Comment
    34. aristeides

      The state/religion relationship is at the heart of the matter, because it’s the complaisance of the police that allows this demeaning treatment of women in the public arena. As long as the haredi assumption of impunity is confirmed by the inaction of the law, it will continue. Throw their butts in jail for disturbing the public order and they may think otherwise.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Dee

      Please know most Orthodox think these ppl are nuts too!

      Reply to Comment
    36. Ron Bockman

      Sorry, The story is embellished to make it interesting. It’s not interesting. She was not just going about her business. This Russian woman may be a little off in the head or she wanted to make some unwelcome point. It was our observant brothers who were just going about their business only to be disrupted ignorant woman.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Jeff

      @Ron Bockman: “It was our observant brothers who were just going about their business only to be disrupted ignorant woman.”

      Someone here is ignorant.

      Reply to Comment
    38. aristeides

      Ron Bockman – the haredi man was NOT just going about his business. People who are going about their business sit down in the bus so it can complete its route on schedule.

      Men who stand in the open door of the bus so it can’t move are not only not going about their business, they are keeping all their “observant brothers” from going about their business as well. As these men, who despite being observant didn’t disrupt the bus ride, stated.

      Everyone on the bus, including Tanya, was just going about their business until this boor showed up and kept them from it.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Marie Williams

      It has been the best read I had in a long time, How utterly hysterical this whole issue is to an outsider.
      As visitors to Israel from Australia. We had an opportunity to ride a bus. My sister and I were ordered from our seats and obediently moved. Unfortunately we could not understand Hebrew or why we caused a commotion. Now we know. Obviously it is more common than one would expect. Aren’t humans strange and complex creatures.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Eve3lyn Jotkoff

      For Jews who have been opressed and suffered from so many different countries throughout the years, it is totally out of line for a group of Jews to act no better than the ones that want to anialate them. What will they do if the Arabs win and take over Israel?
      What will they do without the army, the police, the hospitals, firemen if they get rid of all the Jews who they disapprove of and claim they are not Jewish?

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    41. Mariana

      @Tamar. Israel, a democratic state? A state that let´s orthodox do whatever they want? A democratic state that is a occupying state? Democratic when there are second and first class citizens? Come off it! Israel is as democratic as the Arab countries it demonizes.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Jeff

      To those of you who are defending the Haredim, who think Tanya should have complied – the Chief Rabbis have issued a statement:


      The Haredim have no right to require anyone to move, for any reason (other than age or disability), at any time. End of story.

      Reply to Comment
    43. alessandra

      don’t know if this count as news for 972
      (as it happened in Italy) but maybe can lift your eyebrow and let you smile for a moment.

      An Haredi was stopped on the train to the Rome airport because the train controller thought he was a kamikaze terrorist.
      How was this possible, you may think?
      because he wore tefillin (and the train controller was so ignorant to think it was a box with wire and could be a bomb). So he called the police and they wait for the man off the train at the airport.

      this happened in Italy…. just to show how big and wide human ignorance and fear of the other is… from both sides..

      Reply to Comment
    44. Shmuel Goldstein

      Your description of the word shikse (whore)is inaccurate to say the least. See wikipedia for more information.
      Shiksa (Yiddish: שיקסע, Polish: siksa) or shikse, is a Yiddish and Polish word that has moved into English usage, mostly in North American Jewish culture, as a term for a non-Jewish woman, initially and sometimes still pejorative but now often used satirically. Shiksa usually refers to an attractive (stereotypically blonde) gentile woman or girl who might be a temptation to Jewish men or boys, e.g., for dating, intermarriage, etc. For some Jewish people (especially more religious types), the term may be used pejoratively (e.g. implying loose morals), but among others, it is more often used self-mockingly and satirically,[citation needed] to poke fun at the supposed view among Jews that non-Jewish women are more attractive than Jewish women.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Aaron

      Jeff, no, that doesn’t settle it. There are two separate questions: Should the haredim have asked her to move? Should she have moved when asked?

      The chief rabbi addressed the first but not the second (as far as I know). As I’ve said, the current law is fine with me. My main point is that the woman should have moved, despite her legal rights.

      Besides, rabbis’ opinions don’t settle anything for me. I’m secular.

      Reply to Comment
    46. morris

      This lady is right, we as Jews are more than happy to live in a democratic state. Israel is proud of its freedom of speach and freedom of movement.

      With regards to the frumers, they should respect other peoples wishes. It is the state of Israel for the right reasons and we hope and pray for many years to come it will contine to grow from strength to strength, if the frumers had their way it would be a religious state which like most religious states the lack of democracy is very apparent.

      We are all Jews, there is enough people out there that do like us, lets try and have harmony amongst ourselves.

      Reply to Comment
    47. David

      I find something suspect in this story. I live in Ashdod and know the neighborhood reasonably well. If she took that bus knowing the neighborhood she was in was religious; then why look for trouble. Another thing, she makes it as though the bus casually picked her up along the route, and 5 minutes form her house. That means she lives in a religious area?

      Most people did not care picture? Soldiers travel often and are tired and sleep; that does not mean that they did not care. Tanya you were looking for a story and created one.

      By the way; where did you learn English so well? Most people who live in Ashdod, speak English, but do not write English well. I know this for a fact, I am but a handful of Americans living in Ashdod. Something is not right here, and I could pick a fight and create a story anytime I wish too.

      I am not a Haradi, but a know the rules of each neighborhood when I travel. I watch my step after traveling to over 24 countries and living in an Islamic one for a 1 1/2. I can tell you this Tanya, you would not have escaped a beating with police approval in just about any country in the Middle East other than Israel. You are a fortunate you live in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Mitchell Cohen

      “Besides, rabbis’ opinions don’t settle anything for me. I’m secular.” [End of Aaron] So you don’t accept Rabbis’ opinions and you don’t accept the secular rule of law (which states that Tanya had a right to sit ANYWHERE she wanted on that bus). What/who do you accept?

      @David, I don’t know when the last time you were on a bus in Jerusalem, but those buses are non-segregated, can sometimes be filled to the rim where there is barely any standing room, and a VERY high percentage of the passengers are Haredim of both sexes. What is so different about Ashdod?

      Reply to Comment
    49. Jeff

      @Aaron: “My main point is that the woman should have moved, despite her legal rights.”

      Of course, the fact that nearly everyone else here thinks you’re wrong matters to you not at all.

      You’re utterly dense.

      “Besides, rabbis’ opinions don’t settle anything for me. I’m secular.”

      As Mitchell said, you don’t accept the rabbis and you don’t accept the law. Apparently, all you accept is your own opinion, which is deeply flawed.

      You’re wrong. You’re simply wrong, and there’s and end to it.

      Reply to Comment
    50. Dan

      It is now evident that Tanya is an activist (Based on her Facebook page that has been removed). It was not reported as such. Further, the Haredi men claim that they did not say anything to her until she purposefully put out an elbow to one of the Haredim’s. In light of her being an activist, and not stating it from the start, the Haredi men’s version seems credible. Also, they claimed that she listened to loud music etc.

      Now, I personally don’t know where to stand on this general issue. On the one hand, these buses start and go to religious neighborhoods and not the central bus station. Further, some people (including me) rely on them, and there is no substitute for them between some cities. I don’t think Egged would make a bus line for seculars in these instances (which I would take) as there are not enough patrons.

      On the other hand, people must have the right to sit wherever they want in a publicly funded place.

      Reply to Comment
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