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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.