Monday, January 26, 2015

Israeli Court Orders City To Remove Signs Telling Women To Dress Modestly

In Israel yesterday, the Magistrate's Court in the city of Beit Shemesh ordered the  municipality to remove signs that had been put up by haredi (ultra-Orthodox) synagogues and organizations instructing women to dress modestly in the areas of the city where the signs are posted, and not to stand outside certain synagogues. According to the Jerusalem Post, the ruling came in a lawsuit brought by four modern Orthodox women after women suffered repeated harassment and attacks by haredi youths.  Judge David Gidoni wrote:
The signs were designed to restrict women from using public spaces simply because they were women... and constitute a severe injury to the rights of women to equality and respect....  The signs create the expectation that they should be adhered and are likely to create the expectation or understanding that the area where the sign is placed belongs, in effect, to one specific population group in which its norms are applicable.
The court also awarded each plaintiff damages equivalent to $3700 (US). Responding to the court order, the city said that it had repeatedly taken down the signs, only to see them replaced, and that taking them down had led to riots.  The city added that the court did not understand the "complicated reality" of relations between different population groups in the city. [Thanks to Vos iz Neias for the lead.]