The Shmooze

Couple Branded Troublemakers for Sitting Together on Israeli Bus

By Nathan Jeffay

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Couple Rides Bus. Hardly the subject for a news article in a national newspaper, but welcome to the bizarre world of Israel’s Haredi media.

You may recall that there’s controversy in Israel about gender-segregated bus lines in Israel – or in Hebrew mehadrin lines. Earlier this month, the High Court ruled that they are legal, but that segregation must be voluntary – nobody can force passengers to stick to the convention of men at the front and women at the back.

Now these are public lines, and as I reported back in June from aboard a 322, secular passengers use them. However, today’s edition of Hamodia (no link as it’s a leading proponent of the internet-isn’t-kosher lobby) reports the following highly suspicious incident.

A couple that was “identifiably secular” (an interesting statement, were they wearing “We Desecrate Sabbath” or “We Eat Pork” t-shirts?) boarded, sat together, and when informed it was a segregated bus assured {as-per the court ruling) that it was their right to sit where they wanted.

From this incendiary exchange, passengers came to the conclusion that they were obviously dealing with agent provocateurs. “Realizing with whom they were dealing the [young man who informed them it was a segregated bus] made sure to warn all passengers as they boarded the bus not to say anything to this couple, as their intent was to cause trouble.”

All of this was published under the alarmist headline: “Beware Provocateurs on Mehadrin Lines.”


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