Sunday, June 24, 2018

Israeli Trial Court Permits Sex-Segregated Event In City Square

In Israel today, a Tel Aviv trial court overruled the city's ban on a sex-segregated event scheduled for tomorrow in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. The city had prohibited the event on the ground that sex segregation in the public sphere violates anti-discrimination requirements. Apparently the substantive legal issue turns on whether the event is religious (and thus has an exemption from anti-discrimination requirements) or is cultural. The court criticized the city for waiting too long to cancel the event.  Sponsored by the Messianist branch of the Chabad movement, the rally called "Messiah in the Square" is to "greet the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Messiah." (Background.)  According to Haaretz:
The Chabad representative who presented the petition told the court that the planned barrier between men and women in the square would be 50 meters long, but separation would be voluntary and men had the option of sitting with women, as well. The judge said the barrier was for people who identified with the association and that passersby could move freely through the square.
“I don’t understand why the event should not be held the way they [Chabad] want,” [Judge] Vardi said.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai responded Sunday to the decision by saying, “We will make sure that in the future there will be no [gender-] separated events in the city.”