Separate Gender Libraries Under Fire

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Reform Jews and the feminist Israel Women’s Network (IWN) have asked the Justice Ministry to cancel separate hours for men and women at the municipal library in Har Nof. They argued that separate hours contravened a law which illegalizes discrimination in products or services.

The city’s legal advisor, attorney Eli Malka, accepted the contention and instructed the city to cancel separate hours in all the city’s libraries and remove signs advertising such hours. This raised a storm of protest.

After a meeting with MK Moshe Gafni and Councilman Yisroel Kellerman, Malka clarified that his decision was only in reference to the Har Nof library mentioned in the complaint. But he remained opposed to separate hours.

“We were asked whether it was permissible to establish the opening hours of the municipal library in the Har Nof neighborhood, including the lending of books, on separate days and hours for boys and girls, as stated in an ad submitted for our inspection with the logo of the municipality and Culture Ministry,” he said in a statement. “We were also informed by the Library Department that even when boys or girls visit a library to borrow books during hours not allocated to their gender by such signs, they [nonetheless] receive full service and their visits are accommodated without restriction. In these circumstances, we orally instructed the branch to remove the sign that sets separate opening and lending hour for boys and girls.”

“We intend to issue instructions for [separate] reading and study rooms to be allocated for boys and girls in municipal libraries of chareidi neighborhoods,” Malka concluded, implying that he was still opposed to separate hours.

Gafni discussed the issue with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and arranged to hold a meeting about the issue next month which will be attended by Gafni, Shaked and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

“They are simply working overtime to make it impossible for us to live here,” said MK Moshe Gafni said. “Until now, they looked for issues like the draft or interference with the chareidi educational system and tried to change our lives without success. So now they’ve moved on to the issue of gender separation.”

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. MK Gafni – you are going overboard.

    Religious Jews live in Brooklyn, Boro Park, Monsey and Lakewood and NONE of the PUBLIC LIBRARIES have separate hours for different genders. We are surviving, flourishing and not complaining.

    • Most of the libraries that service the frum sector are PRIVATE, not public, hence they can act according to halachah without any idiot intervention. Libraries here are generally very, very small and it’s basically impossible to move around without bumping into the other people there. When the government builds large, well stocked libraries with full hours, THEN they can make demands, and not a minute before. Look before you leap (speak/condemn).

  2. from where do these people get their right to claim the country known as israel? from the torah where HaShem granted it to us? but every right comes along with a responsibility. they have no use for anything else in the torah. so what is this, pick and choose? by their own behavior, they are not making any sense

  3. ‘v’chol hurishu k’regah yovaydu’. ‘yitamu chatuim v’lo chotim’ refers to yidden maminim, not those who with full force want to destroy the torah. see maharshu

  4. Har Nof is a frum neighborhood. The residents want the separate hours. Why are people who don’t live in the area making a fuss over something that doesn’t concern them? Oh, right. We’re talking about the Reform movement. Women’s rights are more important to them than the Torah is. How are we supposed to love our Reform “brothers” if they hate us so much?

    • They are the modern day Hellenists, whose values and worldview are now completely non-jewish .Their organizations have now turned completely against Torah observance and Jews who observe Torah.


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