Chareidim Battle Egged In Yerushalayim Bus Conflict


eggedFrom a Ynet report: Residents of the chareidi neighborhoods in Yerushalayim are going to war against Egged, the popular Israeli bus company. Dozens of people demonstrated yesterday afternoon in the Geulah and Meah Shaarim neighborhoods, blocking traffic to Egged buses. The protestors are taking action against the bus company after a complaint was submitted by the Transportation Ministry against the operation of private “kosher” lines within the public transportation framework without a license. According to police reports, chareidim threw stones at an Egged bus traveling through the neighborhood. No injuries were reported, but damage was caused to the bus’ windshield. Police forces were summoned to the location to maintain the peace. However, it was reported that bus traffic to Meah Shearim will be terminated until order is restored.

The chareidi committee, Va’ad Mehadrin Le’Eretz HaKodesh, inaugurated on Tuesday a line of private buses that run from chareidi neighborhoods to the Kosel following Egged’s refusal to run Bus 2 on a similar route even though, according to the committee, the line transports 20,000 chareidi passengers a day.

┬áThose behind the new bus lines promised that additional “kosher” lines would be inaugurated soon, hoping that pressure put on Egged will have an effect.

The cost of running these bus lines will be shouldered by some 1,000 newlywed yeshiva students, each of whom would donate $100. Thus far, half the necessary funds have been collected.

Posters hung throughout the city called out to the chareidi public on the issue: “The Egged Company systematically tramples the soul of the chareidi public and destroys its holiness by coercing mixed licentious travel on a daily basis. Every rabbinical or entrepreneurial attempt at dialogue with them has been consistently rejected by them… The licentious travel of the Egged Company is enemy No. 1 to Judaism.”

Menachem Konig, one of the Va’ad Mehadrin entrepreneurs, told Ynet, “Everyone knows that the chareidi community is very strict about separation (between men and women), and the only place where anti-religious coercion is commonplace is on buses. The crowdedness there doesn’t exist in any other place – some 100 people in 27 square yards. Men and women are squished together like sardines.”

Konig emphasized that he does not expect Egged to have a separation between the genders on their buses, but simply to allow women who wish to sit separately to get on using the back door.

“We don’t want police or an army that will force separation between men and women,” he said. “We aren’t looking for action on the bus, but simply to get to wherever we are going.”

According to him, there are 40 internal bus lines, 12 of which are defined as “chareidi.” Only half of the so-called chareidi lines, however, are run by the Va’ad Mehadrin.

“Egged runs all of them only after significant pressure from us. This is how one line after the other was established. We have been begging for 16 years for a Bus 2 and nothing has happened. Maybe this step will help,” explained Konig.

“I am not saying that Egged’s refusal is out of malevolence. The company needs to take care of itself and we need to take care of ourselves,” claimed Konig.

A Va’ad Mehadrin representative also accused chareidi elements for the situation, saying that coercion of separate seating on married couples and non-religious passengers has resulted in the High Court’s opposition to such initiatives.

Egged spokesman Ran Rattner reported to Ynet in response to the affair: “It is inconceivable that in a law-abiding state, the regulator will allow an extreme hooligan group to run pirate transportation in the light of day. I am certain that the Transportation Ministry will nip this phenomenon in the bud.”

Egged further reported that the Va’ad Mehadrin issue is being examined by the High Court of Justice.

{Ynet/Yair Israel}


  1. If it is wrong and despicable for an extreme chemistry professor to destroy a mehadrin eruv on shabbos (BTW there is a municipal eruv that has never been touched/torn/ripped), is it wrong for extreme chaderim to destroy/injure/hurt public property and persons to further their religious needs? How about burning & defacing billboards and bus shelters? Burning tires and garbage cans to stop police from entering areas on shabbos? Throwing rocks at cars?
    Where has this extreme behavior originated from and why has it not been stopped? Finally an honest assesment of the problem must be addressed.

  2. What would Martin Luther King Jr. say about this? In New York would they pressure the MTA to make segregated bus and subway lines? Where is the “ACHDUT”? They need to know that these actions should not be tolerated. Their great wealth of Torah and Halacha is worthless if they don’t recognize the emphasis of Derech Eretz.