May 18, 2009

Mehadrin bus decision

The [haredi] newspaper HaMevaser is reporting, as quoted on BHOL, that Justice Elyakim Rubinstein has decided to reject the petition of the "Reform" against Egged mehadrin bus lines.

The decision to reject the appeal is based on the Ministry of Transportation saying that these arrangements are really informal - nobody (officially) tells anybody where to sit, and people by their own choice decide to sit with men in front and women in the back. Rubinestein accepted this claim and therefore decided to reject the petition.

I think Rubinstein made a decent decision. If a community wants to live a certain lifestyle, no matter how much I disagree with it, they should be able to. They want buses like that, let them have buses like that. I don't want them to force me to live according to their lifestyle, but I have no problem with them living according to their lifestyle. They should be allowed to, just like anybody else is.

The problem is, and I do not know if Justice Rubinstein addressed this in his decision (it does not say so in the brief article) is what to do when it is not seating according to the people's will - meaning if someone sits in the wrong seat what happens? Rubinstein accepted the claim that it is not official and is not enforced by the ministry. So if a woman were to sit in the front, technically nobody should be able to tell her to move - it is a willful decision to sit in the back and not official arrangements. So, if this is left vague, it will leave a lot of room for fighting - they will claim it is mehadrin and push women to the back even against their will, and the women (and their husbands sitting with them) will say it is only an unofficial arrangement and they cannot be forced to move.

Leaving this vague based on such a claim by the MOT is leaving it open for future friction.

In a similar note, Egged made a smart move by altering the arrangements on another bus line. The bus from Maale Adumim to Jerusalem used to make local stops in Jerusalem dropping off passengers, and would also allow passengers to get on the bus and ride locally.

This led to some trouble, as the bus made a number of stops on Bar Ilan street - a haredi stronghold. It seems they would get on the bus and start telling passengers, from the RZ community of Maale Adumim who had been on the bus in their seats form the beginning of the ride, to move to the back or that they should dress more covered up etc. This caused friction, and Egged and the MOT received a number of complaints about it.

The decision was to not allow passengers to get on in Jerusalem and treat the route like a local route. This means those haredi passengers would no longer be using this bus and causing friction with the original passengers.

It is situations like this that we will see more and more of now that Justice Rubinstein made his decision. I have no problem with them having separate buses in their community and on their routes. If that is how they want to live, who am I to tell them otherwise? But when they start telling other people, that is where the problems begin.


  1. Here's the decision-

    He didn't discuss any of the issues, simply rejected the petition.

  2. Sorry- didn't post properly

  3. not G.

    The "let them live how they want to" is an argument based on a fallacy, namely that that is the way "they" want to live. The vast majority of haredi people are being cajoled into this ridiculous and baseless arrangement by a relatively small group of vocal bullies.

    Further to this is the question of whether the state can condone behavior it considers abusive just because the victim of the behavior has given his/her permission to be abused. Even if it is being done in the name of religious freedom (a liberal concept that the perpetrators do not subscribe to for others).

  4. For whatever reason the link isn't posting- here's the entire text of the decision:


    לאחר עיון בבקשה לצו ביניים ובתגובות, ובמיוחד בתגובת המשיב 1 המלווה בתצהיר מר יהודה אלבז, מנהל אגף בכיר במשרד התחבורה, איני רואה מקום לצו הביניים המבוקש. אני יוצא מההנחה שההסדרים הנוהגים עתה על פי החלטת מר אלבז מ-9.12.08 יקוימו גם בהמשך (לפי הודעת המשיב 1 מ-11.12.08).

    ניתנה היום, כ' באייר התשס"ט (14.5.09).

    ש ו פ ט

  5. Jeremy - thank you. and his not dealing with those issues will just lead to future problems

    Rafi - as I said, as long as they are not pushing it on others. If there is a homogenous community, they should be able to do it. In Mea Shearim it seems like it might be ok (as long as it is just a Mea Shearim based route.
    Maybe some other places as well.
    In other places, there should at least be reasonable alternatives if such buses will be in place.

  6. not G.

    Rafi my argument is that the state should oppose it even in "homogeneous" areas because it is allowing extremists to abuse weaker people who are forced to give in their civil liberties.

    The only way to prevent "future difficulties" is to hit the extremists, not support them. Giving in just increases their appetite.

  7. the thing is he did not say mehadrin buses are ok. He said that basically the Ministry of Transportation claims there are no such thing. They do not operate them officially. They do not choose where people should sit, and if people should choose to sit like that, that is their choice.

    If the bus is not run like that by MOT, what can Supreme Court do? Somebody would have to sue the "haredim" to get them to not enforce such an arranegement.

    It leaves it open to too many problems and everybody will say it is not us - it is unofficial.

  8. bagatz seems busy with the haredim-,7340,L-3717436,00.html

  9. that fight I have not understood, which is why I stayed away from it. While I see no reason to invalidate the geirus, I think it is a bad situation for the supreme court to get involved in halachic decisions and telling the beis din what they can and cannot do.

  10. wow. I completely disagree with you Rafi. So I guess your argument would hold true if it were say, Muslim Fundamentalists? I think not. If there was a bus full of burqa clad ladies and a 'regular' lady got on the bus, you would demand that she cover up?

    You are so used to accepting the Chareidi argument as justified (even if you yourself do not abide by it), that you are 'ok' with it. It is NOT ok to carve out a little niche where you impose your extremist ideas on others. It is NEVER ok.

    I should be able to ride ANY bus at ANY time within a western democratic state and not have to worry about this.

    Why do we bend over backwards for these people? This is not to be respected. Sticking a 'religious freedom' sticker on this issue does not make it ok. I will never respect this.

    This is NOT Judaism.

  11. mrsrbs - IMHO any culture should have the right to keep and maintain whatever "tradition" they believe to be an integral part of their culture.
    the fact that I think this is all made up and fake does not mean they believe that. if they believe that it is a necessary part of their culture, than they should be allowed to maintain their culture. Yes, Arabs should be allowed to maintain their culture as well.

    That is, as long as they do not impose their lifestyle on me, or anyone else who is not interested.

    As long as I can take a bus and sit near my wife, it does not bother me that someone else wants to take a bus and not sit next to his wife.

    However, the court is basing the ruling on the MOT statement that their is no such thing as a mehadrin bus, but people are choosing to sit where they want. That means there are no rules. you just have to be willing to stand up to people telling you to move back and separate. All you have to say is that this is nto a mehadrin bus and you choose to sit in front.

  12. I am disappointed to the ostrich head in the sand leadership taken by the court.

    Mehadrin buses are either legal or illegal. If they are legal than say so. The court is saying people could sit wherever they want. If that is the case Egged has an obligation to protect their customers from any harassment both verbal and physical.

    Although this keeps being potrayed as a serious issue, I am still waiting for the Rabbanim to step up and assur riding on mixed buses.


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