Agudas Yisroel Chagrined Over Hillary Clinton’s Remarks Regarding Religious Jews Treatment of Women


taliban-women-jewsVarious media have reported that, at a forum in Washington on Shabbos, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern about the state of Israeli democracy because of, among other things, what she perceived as discriminatory attitudes among religious Jews toward women. Specifically, the Secretary is said to have criticized Israel Defense Force male personnel who, as a matter of religious conviction, exited a ceremony where a woman on stage began to sing – saying it reminded her of the treatment of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Secretary also took to task the Israeli bus system, which sanctions a voluntary system of gender-segregation on some buses – invoking Rosa Parks, whose principled refusal to ride “in the back of the bus” in 1955 is a rightly celebrated milestone in the American civil rights movement.

Agudath Israel says it is deeply chagrined at Secretary Clinton’s reported words and comparison. In their statement, Agudas Yisroel says the following:

“She seems either unaware or unconcerned with the sincerely held and time-honored convictions of traditionally religious Jews.

“Such Jews hew to both the letter and spirit of halacha (Jewish religious law), which places great premium on modesty and circumspection in interpersonal relations between men and women. Halacha does indeed deem it inappropriate for a man to listen to a woman singing. And the segregation of genders on Israeli bus lines that service overwhelmingly halacha-observant communities reflects, and displays sensitivity to, the wishes of both the men and women who make up the vast bulk of the ridership of those lines.

“Sensitivity to discrimination is a good thing. So, though, is sensitivity to the religious sensibilities of a deeply dedicated faith community.”

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. I’m a haredi woman, and I and my friends DO NOT prefer to have to sit in the back with two little kids while our husbands ride in front and can’t help us. We do not have cars and when my husband has to take his elderly mother somewhere on a bus, he wants to sit next to her. Our working Zaidies managed to sit on mixed buses

  2. Thank you Aguda for a principled,and responsible statement. Mrs. Clinton’s comments are simply outrageous.

    We will see a serious backtrack of her words in the short future as the Obama Administration looks to secure Jewish votes.

  3. I can not excuse Clinton’s foot-in-mouth problem. Especially when she attends functions in Islamic countries and wears a hijab. Where is her outrage to the mistreatment of women throughout the Muslim world? I do believe her Jewish son in law should enlighten her further!

  4. We should of seen who she really was before they started bowing down & kissing up to the Clintons! we should of never endorsed Hillary when she annointed herself for Senate in New York!

  5. Freedom of religion works both ways – we haredim should have freedom to be as frum as we want – no one is trying to make all of israel into meah shearim (by government force) but the so-called liberals want to make meah shearim into tel aviv

  6. Dear holy “#1 freak”

    Many other women who are charedi DO appreciate the separate seating, just as much as the men. And i think that was a point of the Aguda that it is more of an inter-gender issue than guys vs. girls

    Kudos to the aguda for standing up for religious principles

    ps. There are many non-mehadrin buses where you can bump up whoever you like

  7. This is a statement from a women whose daughter married “Ayner for Unzerer” on a Shabbos Afternoon near sunset. Reportedly Sheva Brochos were said at the event.

    Kol Eisha as listed in the above-mentioned scenario is most probably prohibited.

    Sitting together on a bus needs discussion of a Rav.

    We know that Poskim i.e. the Igros Moshe ZT’L has responsa dealing with a man sitting in proximity of a woman on a subway train.

    Unfortunately our society has changed since that time and factors irregardless of Halacha annd Menshlichkait have rather overwhelmed the atmosphere of our immediiate surroundings.

  8. I, for one, feel uncomfortable sitting next to a man on a city bus. Therefore, separate seating on a a frum bus eliminates that awkward problem of where to sit.

  9. #4 and all other New Yorkers: The rest of us just hope you learn the lesson that CHARACTER matters more than orchestrated speech from a candidate’s mouth.

  10. To ‘freak’
    There’s no reason why you can’t sit in the middle of the bus. Plenty of couples sit together near the door. No one will kick you off or yell, (at least the normal ones wont) and most people will understand. It’s not against the law.
    However, this is not a reason to have both genders sitting in close proximity when most would rather not, for very commendable reasons.

  11. To #1:

    Men and women can sit together on Mehadrin buses (usually in the middle section) if they are married or closely related (like mother and son) and they do so all the time. There is no reason why your husband and his mother can’t sit together — or you and your husband plus kids — unless it happens to be so crowded that there is no room to do so (which also happens on mixed-seating buses).

    Mehadrin buses are the only buses which allow privacy and comfort for nursing mothers.

    Hillary is a cold-hearted hypocrite. She has chosen to remain married to a man who is an adulterer and a rapist. She also has done nothing to stop Muslim honor killings in America, said nothing when an American judge ruled by Sharia law AGAINST a Muslim woman — and against American law — who sought protection from her violent Muslim husband, nor has Hillary come out against the violence and hate preached in American mosques. (And if she is so concerned about what’s happening on foreign shores, why has she completely ignored the rampant organized crime Muslim men commit against both Muslim and non-Muslim females in England in the name of Islam? Or the unbelievable rise in assault against non-Muslim women in Oslo, also in the name of Jihad?)

    I guess in Hillary’s eyes, men can assault and murder women, but not sitting next to them on a bus or listening to them sing…well, THAT’S crossing the line!

  12. Making an issue of gender separate buses is something I find particularly disturbing.As someone who takes the NYC subway to work and is familiar with the enormous amount of harassment that goes on there I’m baffled as to why the MTA doesn’t make separate subway cars as is done in cities like Tokyo. They could then stop this issue overnight.In any event Clinton singled out Israel rather the other countries that instituted the same separation for similar reasons but on a much larger scale.Why?

    (Closer to home I find the issue of telling the Williamsburg-Boro Park that it may not have women sit in back to be pure religious persecution. The bus is privately funded.They even pay the NYC $20,000 a year for the right to operate there.The seating arrangement is the preference of virtually all riders male and female alike.)

    And they claim that they are the ones who care about women and abuse…