Rav Shlomo Amar: Separate Busses Not Required By Halacha


rabbi-shlomo-amarOne of Israel’s chief rabbis ventured into the divisive question of gender segregation today, saying separate seating for men and women on buses and similar practices adopted by some Yidden are not required by halacha.

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar spoke after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was quoted by Israeli media as expressing shock over the segregated buses and other practices of radicalized religious activists.

In an interview with the Kol Brama radio station, Rav Amar was critical of these relatively new and controversial practices.

“People who do it do it for their own sakes,” he said of the segregated buses. “Certain people want to delineate a fence, perhaps because they saw a need for it. But it’s not halacha.”

Rav Amar said Clinton’s knowledge of the situation was incomplete.

“If she were to learn from the right people … she would know that the people of Israel respect women and turn them into veritable queens and princesses,” he said.

{CBS News/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. By calling them “mehadrin busses” the proponents of separation are admitting that it is not the Halacha. While they have hte right to do what they want on their own private busses they have no right to impose their chumrot on the general public nor do they have the right to demand that publically subsidized busses be turned over for this.

  2. No one forces women to the back of the bus. We prefer to sit that way.
    If a tzibbur chooses to sit in a way that they feel most comfortable, why should anyone want to deny basic rights of personal choice?
    When busses are overcrowded, which is not infrequent, the need for this fence is obvious to those who want to keep halacha properly.

  3. For those that know. The #2 bus in Jerusalem that runs between the Kosel and Har Nof is not “officially” Mehadrin (and not unoficially Mehadrin for that matter either.)

  4. Of course it’s not required by halacha. That doesn’t make it wrong for primarily chareidi communities have such a standard for themselves.
    The problems arise when zealots go and throw a non-religious woman off the bus for refusing to sit in the women’s section.

  5. For over four decades private separate buses were tried.Every time they were on the verge of being a success,Egged,together with the Powers-that-be scuttled them,while promising Mehadrin.(Then of course, they turn around and say it’s not us, it’s the charedim.)

  6. For over four decades private separate buses were tried.Every time they were on the verge of being a success,Egged,together with the Powers-that-be scuttled them,while promising Mehadrin.(Then they would turn around and say it’s not us it’s the charedim.)

  7. The buses in Israel are most of the time crowded, especially the ones in Jerusalem, those going to the kotel (#1, #2, etc.) and within the city.
    Sitting at the back is great as there’s more privacy, the problem is paying for the fare. There should be a more tznius way to pay for the fare at the back. There should be a female fare collector, without having to go back to the front to the driver, or pay by passing the fare from one person to the next. Should design it right the first time. Yidden has sechel, no?

  8. Segregated travel is not a phenomenon unique to E”Y: See Wikipedia:
    “Women-only passenger cars are railway or subway cars intended for women only. They are offered on some trains in Japan, Egypt, India, Iran, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and Dubai,[1] while passengers in some other countries have demanded their introduction”.

  9. No one is saying that keeping a Chumrah is wrong however it should not be subsidized by the state if it is not a halachik requirement. Forcing the issue especially where money is concerned can be a source of Chilul Hashem as we can be portrayed as stingy (and as we all know being orthodox means being under a microscope so this comparison will come up!) If it is not Halacha we should be tolerant of other views and pay for our own chumrahs out of our own pockets. We must try to please Hashem AND our fellow.


  10. It should be noted that mehadrin busses were started 17 years ago by Rav Moshe Shimon Klein zatza”l, who literally “gave up his life” to make it a reality. He had the endorsement and encouragement of virtually all the Gedolei Hatorah here in Eretz Yisrael. The fact that this is not, in the strict sense, a halachik requirement is not relevant here, as the constant crowding scenario creates a definite need for these busses. Unfortunately; despite the enormous costs entailed in the project, secular and liberal forces skewered the project out of use. Even now, the Rabbanim and organisers of these mehadrin busses stress that they cannot be legally enforces, and that one must politely suggest to the passengers that these standards be kept, in view of the interests of the frum community, and the extensive efforts to procure the mehadrin policy.