Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jewish Sex discrimination turns Violent (video)

Wisdom Quarterly (ANALYSIS); AFP; Cindy E. Rodriguez; Democracy Now; Josh Mintz
Innocent ultra-Orthodox Jewish children light cigarettes during celebrations for Purim in Jerusalem. Purim is a celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters).

Israel's dictatorial Prime Minister Netanyahu has pledged to curb harassment and discrimination after complaints over the sexist behavior of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913-2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement" because on Dec. 1, 1955 she refused to obey white bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger.

Things have not changed universally. A woman in Israel recently caused a great scandal (or empowered a new movement) when she refused to give up her seat to an Orthodox Jewish man.

For refusing to give up her bus seat, she is being compared to US civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who was also told: "Get to the back of the bus!"

Rosenblit was refusing to bow to ultra-Orthodox Jewish customs that require females to be "modest" by, among other things, relinquishing their seat on public buses to men.

(WATCH) Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jewish gender segregation campaign turns violent
Rosa Parks?

Desegregating ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem
Josh Mintz (Haaretz)
Tanya Rosenblit is like Rosa Parks, who -- together with Clifford Durr, Edgar Nixon, and Jackie Robinson -- led to the eventual racial desegregation of the United States.

There is a bar in Tel Aviv called Rosa Parks. It's a nice place, one renowned for its clientele of intellectually engaging young women.

I went there not long ago with a friend of mine who was visiting Tel Aviv from London, who happens to be black. When he saw the name of the bar he jokingly asked the barman,

"So, do I have to sit at the back of the room then?"

He got nothing but a blank look in response: The barman had no idea who the bar was named after, nor did he know her story. That's changed now.

The sexual segregation of buses has become one of the hottest topics in Israeli domestic politics, coming to a head last week with the story of Tanya Rosenblit who refused to move to the back of a bus on the order of a religious Jewish man. Now she's being called "The Israeli Rosa Parks." More

  • Parks was not acting alone but in a coordinated action willing to be arrested and to go to court. And her action was not the first of its kind: Irene Morgan, in 1946, and Sarah Louise Keys, in 1955, had won rulings before the Supreme Court and the Interstate Commerce Commission respectively in the area of interstate bus travel. But unlike these previous individual actions of civil disobedience, Parks' action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Her act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement making her an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch King to national prominence in the civil rights movement.

Even schoolgirls are threatened
BEIT SHEMESH, Israel - Schoolgirls are being harassed by ultra-Orthodox men for "immodesty" on their way to elementary school. One shy 8-year-old found herself on the front line of Israel’s latest religious war.

Naama Margolese (pictured at left) is a ponytailed, bespectacled second-grader who is afraid of walking to her religious Jewish girls school for fear of ultra-Orthodox extremists who have spat on her and called her a whore for dressing “immodestly.” So Rosenblit's action took all the more courage.

She was taking a Jerusalem-bound bus from her native Ashdod recently when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man demanded she move to the back of the bus.

In ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, mingling between sexes is forbidden, and women are relegated to the back of buses when men are present.

Rosenblit refused the order, which led to an argument. The bus driver then pulled the bus over, and the police were called. But Rosenblit maintained her position. The bus carried on to its final destination. The act of defiance has sparked a national discussion in Israel on the issue of gender segregation.

On Monday, the disagreement turned violent when ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh clashed with police. Hundreds of men in the ultra-Orthodox community took part in the unrest. Members of local news crews were reportedly hurt in the clashes, and at least six Beit Shemesh residents were arrested.

An estimated 10,000 people are expected to turn out in the community today to protest the exclusion of women, as well as violence against girls and women by Haredi extremists.

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