The Chumra Stops Here

The Jerusalem Post reports today that a hearing has been held at the High Court of Justice on the segregated busses in Haredi neighborhoods. The Ministry of Transportation has submitted its report on the issue (after a lot of footdragging). The report states that it found that

 “the segregation itself is not legal, but passengers may voluntarily segregate themselves if they so chose.”

This finding is an attempt to give Egged the right to continue having these separate busses. But it will only work if, as the petitioners demand

“that for every segregated bus on the special routes, there should be an integrated one as well. Furthermore, the segregated buses should be clearly marked as such.”

This last demand by the petitioners sums it up for me – and I wholeheartedly agree with them and I hope they win their case. Many people argue that in Haredi neighborhoods the busses should reflect the standards of most of the passengers, who think that men and women are required to sit separately.

I disagree. I think that public transportation is just that – public. One sector of the population cannot dictate their standards to everyone else, even if they represent the majority of passengers in these neighborhoods. Can Egged have lines to predominantly Muslim cities, and demand that every woman cover her face?  Can Egged have lines in predominantly secular neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and prohibit the passengers from saying Tehillim? Of course not.

If one argues that the passengers have the right to choose a bus line that they are comfortable with – then I agree. But, as the petitioners demand, there needs to be an alternative line for those passengers who do not want to ride on a segregated bus, and they need to be clearly marked. This is the only way that a segregated bus becomes a choice, and not coercion.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Chumra Stops Here | JewPI
  2. Risa
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 15:27:14

    Let’s see if it makes a difference!

  3. Jumblerant
    Oct 29, 2009 @ 08:02:48

    Why not allow Democracy to take place here? Let whomsoever wants (ahem..) start their own mini-bus line.

    Separate bus-stops for men and women.

    Religious drivers.

    Those buses used to take kids to school in the mornings could be used (see how fast they put seat-belts in now!!)

    They can charge a price they like.

    They can miss out stops and take people directly to their homes.

    Whatever they want. Its called Capitalism and it allows the People to get what they want.

    Except they won’t be heavily subsidized by the State!

  4. Ben-Yehudah
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:44:13


    I have always suspected that…

    1. Mehadrin buses are not for Haredim but for non-Haredim, davqaniks, and hillonim who don’t know better, regarding livush and seating concepts, like men and women not sitting next to one another.

    2. Jerusalemites, most of whom interact with the non-Haredi world more regularly than say those in Ramath Beth Shemesh Beth [who want and are used to more insulation], are less concerned about these things.

    3. We see these theories play out with the 16 bus which goes through only frum neighborhoods, yet isn’t mehadrin. It doesn’t need to be. Men and women don’t want to sit together. I often see on the 49A and others a middle mixed section for couples and families. When a women or girl “gets stuck” in the front of the 40 or 56 in the morning, no one makes a big deal about it, knowing it’s not her fault.

    4. I think that the buses from the Kotel should provide such services. It’s so nuts during some hours that men and women always end up being squished together in the aisles.

    5. I also believe in setting up private companies, some of which have begun, but have encountered problems from the gov’t and I believe from Egged.

    6. If people don’t like the service on Egged, they can stop using it, but I know that private companies are thrown obstacles. It’s all part of the Erev Rav indoctrination process to de-Judaize Israel. Haredim simply fight back with humras, which under normal circumstances shouldn’t be necessary.

    7. I would love for the 148 from Jerusalem to Ariel to be Mehadrin, due to the discussing behavior of girls from one yishuv in particular, just to get them away from me. But it’ll never happen.

    I write all about it here: Mehadrin Buses.

  5. Ben-David
    Nov 04, 2009 @ 18:47:09

    In Japan there are women-only cars on the trains to avoid groping and other rudeness. But in that case people who don’t want to segregate can just pick another car on the train… not an easy one to figure out.

    I think opening up the bus lines to more competition could solve this – while bringing other benefits.

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