Israeli High Court Rules Against Separate Men’s and Women’s Sidewalks in Meah Shearim

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meah-shearimThe Israeli High Court of Justice today ruled against separation between men and women on the sidewalks of Meah Shearim. The court also disallowed the positioning of “modesty¬†guards” from the neighborhood committee to enforce the separation.

In addition, the court ruled, women will be allowed to hold a protest march in the neighborhood tomorrow in protest of the discrimination between men and women. Yerushalayim Police was ordered to allow and guard the procession.

It had been proposed to block Mea Shearim’s Rechov Mordechai to women for Yom Tov, but following protest from women’s organizations and police demands, leaders of the community said the road would not be blocked to women.

On Monday, two City Council members petitioned the High Court on the issue. Their representative, Attorney Aviad Hacohen, said that screens to separate men from women had been set up and “guards” positioned to enforce the separation.

The State, in its response this morning, said there was no place for “pirate” separation in public spaces such as streets, and promised it would prevent this and forbid “guards” from operating in the area. The court accepted the State’s announcement, which supports the petitioners.

Yerushalayim City Council member Rachel Azaria (Tnuat Yerushalmim) said the court’s ruling meant there should be no separation in any public space in the State of Israel. “Any such separation is illegal,” she said, “which means that all sorts of unspoken agreements made with the charedi community will not happen again. This is another stage in the struggle to ensure that public space in Israel is open to men and women alike, just like the struggle against separation on buses.”

The petition was submitted by ELLA-Israeli Feminist Group, Azaria and Laura Wharton (Meretz), who is also a Yerushalayim City Council member. They demanded the police stop the separation immediately throughout Yerushalayim and especially in Meah Shearim, protesting police lethargy in acting against it.

The two petitioners related their own experience when they tried to pass the road in a mixed group. “The women were asked to go to a narrow sidewalk, which hardly had space to pass,” they said. “The men were given the center, with the entire width of the road.”

{Ynet/Matzav.com Israel}

45 COMMENTS

  1. You can conduct your life anyway you like. Don’t impose your gedarim on the mass public. By the way those “zionist authorities” risk their lives everyday (with the protection of Hashem)so that you have the ability to live in Eretz HaKodesh.

  2. Mr. Ben Torah,

    Are you aware that the streets are public property? Are you aware that neither you nor the chareydim that live in the neighborhood have have jurisdiction over public streets?
    Guess What!!! The Zionists have all the jurisdiction. If you decide you want to access those streets you must abide by the law. Didn’t they teach you about Dina Di Malchuta Dina?

  3. I am maskim that there should be seperation its healthier, considering mea sharims narrow walking spaces, but why are women discriminated against and given less walking room, is’nt this futile considering that most women have a carriage with them and so they need more walking space, and consider women that are pregnant are we gonna discriminate against them too, and witness their chance of falling? How strange?

  4. This seculerizing of the state has spread to Mea Shearim. The gov’t is dictating us how to live our lives, and this is exactly why frum yidden aren’t zionists. The frum women who walk these streets also realize that there is a need for seperations because of tznius reasons. Only because of the movements like women’s rights groups do frum yidden have to suffer, and this is keeping us in golus longer.

  5. The courts are 100% right. The people of Meah Shearim do NOT own the neighborhood and as such CANNOT force others to walk on specific sides of the street. Of course the various Botei Din can issue a psak that their kehillos should follow and if all the Botei Din can agree to issue such a pask, that will encompass the vast majority of frum Jewry. But thats all that can be done.

  6. Ben torah, You seem to have missed the story, it is the “modesty gaurds” who think they can interfere with everybody else.
    It is a sad day when most frum yidden feel more aligned with the Israeli supreme court than with Charedim. How much longer until their version of yidishkeit is barely recognizable?

  7. I’m usually against the polices and state, but in this case I have to agree with them. I waa on Meah Shearim yesterday, what a disgrace not letting women go through (modest woman that is)!!!!

  8. ben torah, youve missed the story, in this case it is the “modesty gaurds” who dare think they can interfere in how we conduct our lives

  9. here come more hafaganos…when will the think headed government learn to live and let live…if you dont like what happenes in mea shearim dont go there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. if this is really taking place in Meah Shearim the chareidim ought to prevent it by lying down in the steet – thousands of Chareidim covering the street peavefully could never all be removed by the police.

  11. Where is there a Mekor for separate streets in chazal. This smells like burkha. I dont’t think the beis hamikdosh even had a separate “ladies entrance”!

  12. Are we going to be seeing another Emanuael-like demonstration over this?

    The last demonstration was pretty exciting. Lets have another one!

  13. Why would they care what goes on in this small street? The ones that have a problem with separating men & women don’t belong on this street so stay out of the neighborhood & let the people there conduct themselves the way they always have.

  14. Although I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the chareidim in meah shearim, however, I think some of this is a bit absurd.
    Not allowing women to walk down certain major streets?! If you do that, then make a street that men can’t walk down too. Or better yet make a mechitzah down the middle… but at the very least, the women should have a mechitzah DOWN THE MIDDLE and down the side giving them a lemon squeeze to maneuver through.

  15. Considering that the petition was initiated by people who generally don’t set foot in Meah Shearim – certainly not in order to go to any Simchas Beis HaShoeivah in the neighborhood – this is very clearly only in order to make a political point. The vast majority of those who make their way through Meah Shearim at this time of year appreciate the separation. And the reason that the women are given the narrow part of the street is that the number of men out on the streets at those hours vastly outnumbers the women.

  16. One of the things that we say vidui for on Yom Kippur is being in a place where men and women mingle. I am in full support of the seperation and find it much more comfortable when I don’t have to worry about bumping up against the opposite gender, HOWEVER, I have been in several situations where it was not exactly clear where to walk and the “modesty guards” have become very aggressive, shouting and flapping arms at me. This is not a kiddush Hashem and not in keeping with the dignity and respect that should be shown towards women. By the way, since the men have the chiuv in shmiras ha-ayin, shouldnt the people directing women be female? Probably they would behave more gently and respectfully toward the women.

  17. To ALL OF YOU WHO WISH TO DICTATE WHO SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT WALK ON CERTAIN STREETS:

    IT IS NOT YOUR STREETS TO DICTATE!!!!!!
    WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE???????????

  18. Live and let live is NOT a Torah ideal. If they were right to make this separation (see shulchan aruch end hilchos yom tov) the supreme court is once again proving its irrelevaance in a Jewish society. The secular do not have a right to be secular. They are also commanded to stop men and women mingling in the streets, just like they have to daven and wear tefillin (in ey they are pottur on chol hamoed) and keep every minhag yisroel (including kreplach Hoshano Rabo).

  19. Dear Bas Torah,

    A. Last I heard that one of the most basic tennets of Yahadus is that people have Bechira Chofshis. Who are you to impose onthat if the Ribbono Shel Olam chose to grant it to us.

    B. Dina DiMalchuta Dina is is not irrelevance it is the Halachah and the Law of the State.

  20. Dina Dmalchusa Dina, is NOT applicable in Eretz Yisroel according to the Ran.

    The Israeli High Court is the most anti-semitic high court in the civilized world.

  21. DEAR YAAKOV,

    THE FACT THAT YOU CAN ONLY QUOTE THE RAN PROVES THE FACT THAT DINA DIMALCHUTA DINA APPLIES.

    MAYBE IT IS NOT THE ISRAELI HIGH COURT THAT IS ANTISIMETIC. MAYBE IT IS THE PETTITIONERS WHO HAVE A PAROCHIAL VIEW OF JUDAISM THAT ARE ANTI SEMITIC TO THE REST OF WORLD JEWRY. WHEN YOU DON’T GET YOUR WAY YOU CAN’T CRY ANTISEMITIC THE WAY OTHER MINORITIES CRY RACISM. SOMETIMES YOU MAY JUST BE CRYING WOLF.

  22. Sheldon,

    Calm down with the CAPS.

    I can cite a whole litany of poskim that say Dina D’Malchusa is INAPPLICABLE in Eretz Yisroel. But the RAN in Mesechtes Nedarim shall suffice.

    No my friend. The Gedolim Shlita are right, and the Israeli high court wrong.

  23. Dear Yaakov,

    A. I am not your friend. I don’t know you.

    B. Before you stated that the Israeli High Court is ANTI SEMITIC. Now you just say that they are WRONG!!!!. Have you you had a change of heart?
    Do you think you may have put your foot in your mouth with your over blown statement? Do you think you should apologize for your statement?

    C. By the way, which Gedolim paskened LeHalochoh that men and women need to be on seperate streets: and that it requires
    “police ” to enforce this ruling?

    Has any Gadol alive today ever paskened that the government and municipalities of the State of Israel do not have jurisdiction over the behavior and right of way of the streets and public thoroughfares? I THINK NOT!!!!

    So Yaakov your argument whether it’s the Ran (who is not a BAAL DAVAR in this issue )or any ofyour Litany is totally irrelevant. And Yes.
    Dina Di Malchuta Dina does apply.

  24. He is correct – dina dmalchusa is not applicable in Eretz Hakodesh.

    It is also true that the Israeli Supreme Court is comprised of a bunch of anti-Torah goons.

  25. Mr. Minchas Yerusahlayim,

    Your very statement is disrespectful to Torah and Torah values. You also did not address my comments. You just like calling and branding people with deragatory epithets.

  26. Shelly — That is HaRav HaMinchas Yerushalayim. Please display the proper respect and decorum for our Chachomim. Your deragatory epithets are uncalled for.

  27. To Mr. Yaakov and Mr. Minchas Yerushalayim,

    You keep telling us about the Ran in Nedarim and your whole litany of others who feel that
    Dina dimalchuta dina does not apply in Eretz Yisrael.

    Well,
    A. Rav Ovadia Yosef -Tshuvot Yechave Daat (5:64)
    B Avnei Miluim(28:2)
    C. TSHUVOT CHATAM SOFER (YOREH DEAH 314)
    D. RASHBA- NEDARIM (28a)
    E. RAMBAM HILCHOT GEZEILAH VA’AVEYDA 5:11 AND IN HIS COMMENTARY TO THE MISHNA IN NEDARIM 3:4
    F.RASHBA THSUVOT 2:134
    G. MEIRI- NEDARIM 28A
    H. THE TUR -CHOSHEN MISHPAT 369
    I. SHULCHAN ARUCH- CHOSHEN MISPAT 369:6
    J. RAV KOOK- TSHUVOT MISHPAT KOHEN 144:14
    K. THE ZOHAR PARSHAT VAYEISHEV
    L.RAV SHLOMO ZALMAN AUERBACH 9TSHUVOT MINCHAT
    SHLOMO 1:87
    M.RAV ELIEZER WALDENBERG (TSHUVOT4:28)
    N. TSHUVOT CHATAM SOFER -CHOSHEN MISHPAT 44

    ALL OF THESE POSKIM STANDBY THE VALIDITY OF THE STATUTE OF DINA DIMALCHUTA DINA IN ERETZ YISRAEL.

    SO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LITANY.

    It is shameful and disgraceful to disregard the Halacha of Dina DiMalchuta Dina in Israel or in any other place jurisdiction. In the words of Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe Choshen Mishpat 2:29
    “Besides the prohibitions of theft, there are other terrible sins such as lying, deception, and Chillul Hashem and disgracing Torah and those who study it.”

    So Mr. Yaakov and Mr. Minchas Yerushalayim,
    you are not only disgraceful in what you propose; but you corrupt the very Torah you claim to uphold. You are indeed hypocites of the highest order.

  28. DEAR YERUCHEM,

    I HAVE NOT USED ANY DEROGATORY NAMES OR LABELS.
    I HAVE STUCK TO THE FACTS AND THE ISSUES.YOU SIR WISH TO HIDE BEHIND YOUR CONCEPT OF KAVOD HACHOCHOMIM.

    I HAVE NO IDEA IF YAAKOV OR MINCHAS YERUSHALAYIM
    HAVE SMICHA OR NOT AS NEITHER USED THE TITLE ON THEIR POST NAMES.

    IF THEY ARE NOT RABBONIM, I CAN FORGIVE THEIR STATEMENTS AS AMARATZUT.

    IF THEY ARE RABBONIM, THEN THEY ARE INDEED GUILTY OF PERVERTING HALACHAH AND MAY HAVE THE STATUS OF ZAKEN MAMREH. EVERY REPUTABLE POSEK FROM RAV OVADIA YOSEF, TO THE CHATAM SOFER, TO, RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN, TO THE TUR, SHULCHAN ARUCH,
    RAV SHLOMO ZALMAN AUERBACH, RAV WALDENBERG (THE TZIZ ELIEZER, THE RASHBA, THE ZOHAR,ETC. ALL SEEM TO PASKEN LEHALACHAH NOT LIKE THE RAN. THEY ALL PASKEN THAT DINA DIMALCHUTA DINA OPERATES IN ERETZ YISRAEL AS WELL AS ANY OTHER JURISDICTION. NOT ONLY THAT BUT IT EVEN HAS THE STATUS OF A DIN DIORAYTA.

  29. I’m just joining this discussion, but I took a quick glance at the sources cited by Sheldon. Sheldon completely misrepresented what these sources (Chasam Sofer, etc.) say. They say nothing like that Dina D’Malchusa is applicable in Eretz Yisroel.

    Take a look in these seforim yourself, rabbosai, rather than accepting Sheldon’s unreliable incorrect misrepresenting word.

    The Ran’s statement that Dina Dmalchusa is inapplicable in Eretz Yisroel is standard psak by the Gedolim and Chareidi Rabbonim in Eretz Yisroel.

  30. Dear E Efsher,

    Is Rav Ovadia Yosef considered a Charaidi Rov?
    Is he not a valid Posek?
    He uses the psak of the Chasam Sofer as the basis for his own Psak as well as basis that Dina Dimalchusa Dina is a DiOraysa.
    Must we discuss more?
    Is the Tziz Eliezer a Valid Posek?
    How about Rav Shlom Zalman Auerbach? Is he not a CHareydi Posek?
    Please the only thing you are accomplishing is making yourself more and more dishonest if you don’t believe that the law of the land must be upheld.
    Let’s take it 1 step further. What about the moral lesson. Again which moder day posek paskened that we need to have separate streets and that the jurisdiction of the local authorities whether they be in Israel or any other place. Your thinking is as “KRUM”and distateful as much as it is dishonest.

  31. Mr. Minchas Yerushlayim,

    You are not telling the truth. More importantly,
    you have not offered any proof of anything that I have challenged you with. You only like to call people names. What is your underlying paradigm? Is it that you want a heter to be dishonest? What is your ulterior motive?

  32. Look who piped up Mr. Ben Torah, where have I called anybody anything. I have been
    called “distorting Poskim ” without any physical
    proof. I have been called “distorting sources”, without any proof. The members of the Israeli Supreme Court have been called anti Torah Goons, and anti Semitic. Yet to date neither you, nor Minchas Yerushhalayim, nor Yaakov have answered any of thequestions that I posited.

    I am disappointed. I thought all of you were smarter and could engage in an inteligent discussion. I was wrong.

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