Jan 22, 2012

Make Exclusion of Women Illegal

MK Yitzchak Herzog (LABOR) has proposed a law to put an end to the phenomenon of the exclusion of women form the public sphere.  The thing is that I don't know how it will work.

Herzog's law, if it were to pass, would bear a 5 year prison sentence and [up to?] a 300,000 NIS fine for anybody who effects or orders the exclusion of women from the public sphere.

I don't know how they expect to enforce this. Are they going to look at every advertisement and if any ad has only a male model on it they will fine the advertising agency or the company behind it? Will every ad be required to bear the image of two models, both male and female? That will increase costs of production, and will cause prices to rise, to cover the fees of the additional model.

The Ynet article says nothing about it, but according to INN's report another issue left unclear at this point is that the law might only be applied to religious Jews and not to Muslims. I am not sure why they feel the need to fight against the exclusion of women only by religious Jews and not by Muslims. If it is a societal problem, it should be banned from society completely, with the same enforcement and application throughout.


  1. Rafi,

    you can't compare a private ad agency using a male model to the law which is 'exclusion from the public sphere.'

    Meaning, if you are excluding women from using the public streets and sidewalks and busses that is the public sphere. If you have a publicly funded organization which excludes women, that would be public sphere.

    For the sake of intellectual honesty, please stop using examples of what occurs in the private sector to the rules governing the public sphere. No one is saying you can't have a mechitza in a shul. Just don't turn the sidewalk into a shul.

    As for the Arab community. I agree, the rules and equal rights should be even across all sectors and demographics. However, the Arabs in Israel are already governed by a completely different set of rules, so it's probably not reasonable for this to be the one where there equality among Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews.
    I wish it were otherwise but it is not.

  2. so what would be illegal? as much of the discussion that has been on the segregated buses has also been on the fact that ads and posters around Jerusalem have not been including images of women.
    that is private, and has been as much of the discussion as the buses and municipal publications.

  3. I don't know how they expect to enforce this.

    The United Kingdom government seems to have this matter fairly well sewn up.

    It has a Race Relations Board and an Advertising Standards Agency (both of which are pretty much self-descriptive),and a whole raft of anti-discrimination legislation - with teeth.

    When it comes to combating discrimination in the field of employment the Brits are second to none. Israeli legislators have only to use Google to research these matters.

    Or they could get themselves invited to one of Ambassador Gould's receptions!

  4. "Meaning, if you are excluding women from using the public streets and sidewalks and busses that is the public sphere. If you have a publicly funded organization which excludes women, that would be public sphere."

    "No one is saying you can't have a mechitza in a shul. Just don't turn the sidewalk into a shul."

    The Shul is funded by the city, and the government. How is the shul not a public sphere? Why would this law exclude a mechitza in a shul, but not a mechitza on the street outside the shul?

    How would this work for bathrooms?

  5. I agree that the public should try to influence private industry to be more inclusive. But they are a private buisiness trying to make money and appealing to their local demographic. Hopefully, Laws governing the public will help influence the private sector to be more inclusive.

    How would a law like this work?

    Doubtful that it is directed towards any one individual. However, like the mafia, when a don nods his head and someone dies, the government goes after the don.

    So too here, when the mob leader of one of these extremist organizations creates a system and orders his goons to fight for women exclusion in the public sphere, the government can go after the head of that organization.

    Like when they put up a sukkah in mea sheariim and had women on one side of the road and separate entrances, who paid for those signs? who created that infrastructure. The government can go after the heads of that organization.

  6. Anon,

    please don't be silly.

    Bathrooms are not exclusion. Its a stupid silly argument.

    As for shuls... they should not be funded by the government. Not shuls, not mosques, not temples.

    Why should the government fund private religious institutions? Unless of course they abide by government law. But there is a law that schools need to teach a core curriculum and many orthodox schools don't listen to that either.

    Its so disgusting that with one hand organizations are taking as much money as they can and with the other they are disobeying every law that they want to and often publicly proclaim their disgust with Israel.

    No wonder the harediim are in the state they are in, selfishness, ego and a total lack of hakorat hatov is ingrained in the system. Great lesson for the kids eh? Take take take because you're better than everyone else.

  7. wasn't the Race Relations Board the group that ruled that someone who underwent a conservative conversion had to be recognized as jewish by an orthodox school ?

  8. @ Ben Waxman:

    Got it in one!

    But that's the price of democracy and equality. The question is whether Israel is even ready to think about it - yet.

  9. nu people, if a law is proposed which is unclear, impossible to enforce, than there is generally one explanation: election year politics and trying to improves one's place in the primaries. don't sweat this one.

  10. the price of democracy and equality? more like the price of having a government that thinks it has to solve everything.

    so possibly the lesson to learn is that the british board is not the one which we want to replicate.

  11. Ben,

    and why should the orthodox control who is jewish?

    Both in Israel and worldwide, orthodox jews are a minority.

    Further, given the orthodox style of Judaism, more and more jews from the majority side (non-orthodox) see orthodox jews as a split off cult which is quickly loosing their jewishness, like kerrites or jews for jesus. Especially when you look at the divinity which is bestowed upon rabbis, the extreme rules on minutia, the loss of the essence of what is judaism, the majority of jews see this as the orthodox becoming some sort of semi-jewish relation. In a few generations the orthodox might be declared non jewish altogether... by rule, right now it is only a growing public opinion.

  12. yet demographically the orthodox continue to grow.

    In a "few" years, when the orthodox will be the majority, will it matter what the non-orthodox think?

  13. the orthodox won't be a majority in a few years... not one study shows that. What the studies show is that orthodoxy is growing and will become a larger minority with more political power.

    However, with time I believe this trend will reverse. More and more movements are working to save people from being trapped in this quasi-judaism. Hopefully, as the majority of jews begin utilizing our skills we can offer people alternatives.

    I know that I have been involved in saving at least 6 people. These people become either outright secular or moved significantly away from orthodoxy.

    Although I am open to the idea that if Aish and lubavitch and other kiruv organizations stop their work, I will stop mine.

  14. Anon,

    I also meant to ask, hypothetically, if the orthodox were to become a majority, would Israel remain a democracy? How would you see that play out?

  15. I do not know. I think it would, but who knows. that was not my point. I was just pointing out that you said the majority does not really care what the Orthodox do, but soon that will not be the case. And even if they do not become the majority, even if only a very significant minority, the Non-Orthodox majority will not be able to just ignore them. They do not really ignore the Orthodox now, how would they when the Orthodox are much greater in number than they are now?

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. well i guess that if you are willing to have some board rewrite the shulhan aruch, than ok

  18. "the orthodox won't be a majority in a few years... not one study shows that."

    Really? Are you absolutely sure?

    Did you look into the relative birth rates between ethnic/religious groups in Israel?

    If not, don't you think you should before publishing such a sweeping statement?

    Aside from hard, cold and dispassionate facts (who needs those anyway when one is trying to force a point?),just try walking through Meah She'arim, or perhaps even RBS one שבת.

    Check the numbers of the flocks of children (בלי עין הרע) walking with their parents.

    If that is not to your taste, or of it does not suit your השקפה פוליטית, perhaps you should investigate the birth rate among the Arab population. It might even give you real nightmares!

    Best wishes.

  19. "Anon,

    please don't be silly.

    Bathrooms are not exclusion. Its a stupid silly argument."

    You clearly don't live in Israel.

    Many buildings currently have co-ed bathrooms. What makes you think that bathrooms aren't exclusion?

    Bathrooms most certainly ARE exclusion!


    "Why should the government fund private religious institutions? "

    Again, you clearly don't live in Israel... However. They are not funding private religious insituttions, they are funding Public religious institutions. Why? Because Israel is a Jewish State. And Religion is important to the public.

    Get with the program.

    As for the orthodox Majority, again, people clearly do not live in Israel who are commenting on this. So why do you care?

    In Israel, you are either Chiloni, Orthodox, or the 1% who are neither. Not all Orthodox Jews are observant, but the shul they do not go to is Orthodox.

    60% of the Jews in Israel wants an Orthodox rabbi for their wedding/burial.

  20. Anon,

    I never said the majority ignores the minority orthodox jews. I pointed out that orthodox are a minority and should not be in control of who is jewish, esp. as the orthodox are quickly shedding their own judaism.

    And even though it is besides the point, if we are discussing the idea of an orthodox majority it is worth considering whether that majority would want to live in a democracy or a theocracy.

    Rafi posted a while back about MK Tibi proposing anti-israel laws in the keneset, is proposing Israel become a theocracy any less anti-israel than what Tibi does? Are the orthodox not only shedding their judaism but also, in the process, becoming a fifth column? as Tibi was described.

    Darth, yes I am sure. Every study shows the orthodox becoming a larger majority, but no study shows that orthodox will become a majority in the next 50 years.

  21. anon,

    1st. I live in hod hasharon.

    2nd. There is a difference between a unisex bathroom and a bathroom that is dual sex at the same time. (duh)

    3rd. The fact that the govt funds private religious institutions doesn't mean they should. I know they do. I argue that they should not.

    4th.Seeing as how the definition of who is a jew, and all these other issues affect global jewry, it would be foolish to think that only Israeli jews, which I am, should be in on the conversation.

    5th. The fact that 60% of jews want a jewish burial has nothing to do with the fact that it should not be forced religion. Why should I need an orthodox wedding or funeral or any of the many cases of religious coercion and forced religion? We didn't like it when the romans, greeks, christians and muslims forced jews to live by their religion but you want to force yours on me?

    Its like crying about the holocaust but refusing to recognize anyone else's suffering. I like how the french recognize the armenian holocaust but Israel won't.

  22. "2nd. There is a difference between a unisex bathroom and a bathroom that is dual sex at the same time. (duh)"

    And what is that exactly? 5 stalls, one room. Both sexes wash their hands at the same sink and enter the same door. This is not uncommon in Israel. Personally, I quite like it. Transgender people will not feel uncomfortable, and it saves on costs for the building.

    A Shul or beit Kenesset is not Private, it is Public. It is there for anybody and everybody in the community.

    Why would bathrooms and Shuls be exempt from this law?

  23. really anon, your focus on bathrooms is borderline disturbing.

    We are discussing actual situations that occur in reality. So arguing about your hypoethitcal and describiing a perfectly equal bathroom is silly.

    Although I guess you have to focus on a silly hypothetical or it would mean dealing with the real issues of sexism and racism that are right in front of you.

    As for shuls, if they are privately funded they can do what they want, they are public in the sense that they are for the community but they are private businesses.

    Which is why shuls/religious schools should not be funded by the government.

  24. "We are discussing actual situations that occur in reality. So arguing about your hypoethitcal and describiing a perfectly equal bathroom is silly."

    It's not hypothetical, its in the building I work in!

    And it's in many other buildings which I have visited as well.

    A Beit Kenesest is NOT A private thing. They are not Private in any sense of the word. They do not work for a profit, they are open for anybody to enter, and they are there for the community to pray together. There is NOTHING private about it. A beit Kenneset is a house for gathering. It is the place where Gd's presence comes down to join with a minyan and sanctify the community. It is where the community gets together to celebrate our unity.

    It is the exact opposite of private!

  25. Way - but the fact is, whether it should be this way or not, that Batei Knesset are funded partially by the government. they are given exemptions from property taxes. often the ploto of land they are built on is given by the government, along with all sorts of other forms of funding along the way. While the bulk might be privately funded, there is a significant amount that the government chips in.

  26. Great anon. I'm happy you have equality in your bathroom. Let's translate that to the streets and other places around israel... don't keep all that equality to yourself.

    As for a beit keneset, it is not public. I'm sorry you don't understand the difference between public and private. Public are things funded by the government and under govt auspices, like public schools and public buses and streets and all sorts of issues. Yes, many shuls and schools get funding from the govt, that does not make them public. I wish it would and am working towards that end, but right now there is no separation of church and state in israel and so racist and discriminatory private institutions do get public funds... like a for profit business which may receive govt grants for specific programs.

    But sinceI you guys agree with me on every point I raised previously except the bathroom and beit kenneset; you guys win. I want equal rights in bathrooms and shuls as well.

    oh wait, how about we deal with the obvious stuff first, like the law proposed, and go after the head honcho of an organization who sends his goons to create separate sidewalks for men and women or separate seating on busses.

  27. way - you can't call for separation of church and state on one hand and than state that a government board can decide who is jewish on the other. that is what separation means - the state does not get involved in these questions, period. and if a school has certain criteria as to who gets in based on religious law, the state doesn't have the right to say "boo". the british board's decision could never happen in the US because of the first amendment.

  28. " Public are things funded by the government and under govt auspices, like public schools and public buses and streets and all sorts of issues. Yes, many shuls and schools get funding from the govt, that does not make them public."

    And Shuls in Israel are run by the local city funded, government approved religious council. They are public things.

    You seem to not understand what private and public means. The only thing "private" about a shul, is the seats that people purchase.

    I don't agree with anything else you said, but some things are not worth arguing about. The fact that you think that a shul is a private space , is however, worth it. Removing this American concept of shuls is important. You may not still be in Galut, but the galut is certainly still inside of you.

  29. Ben

    I don't want the govt to decide who is jewish. I want a separation of church and state. But if they are going to decide, which they do, they should follow the majority of jews which means non-orthodox. I don't understand how 10-20% of a group gets to decide the rules for the other 80-85%.


    like I said before, you are right. I agree with you. Shuls that are publicly funded should also have equality. And like I said before, we can work on that after we deal with the more egregious issues of racism, sexism and discrimination.

    Although, while it might be that I am too american, I still don't see shuls and busses as having the same level and category of public.

    But what a lesson eh? I can't wait to see what happens to israel in 20 years when the orthodox are at 35% or more.

  30. But if they are going to decide, which they do, they should follow the majority of jews

    well when the majority of jews move here than they can decide what arrangement they want, about this and other issues. until then the majority of jews will have to remain satisfied with kvetching about how the orthodox are such bastards.

  31. Ben,

    What are you talking about?

    The majority of jews in Israel are not orthodox.

  32. more importantly, the vast majority of jews in israel are not reform or conservative. it is a cliche, but the shul that they don't go to is dati. or they are sefardim with some connection to the mesoret.

    israeli jews may not want the dati'im with sole control over things like marriage. that doesn't mean that they accept the definition of "whose a jew" used by reform or conservative jews.

    saying "I pointed out that orthodox are a minority and should not be in control of who is jewish" is a polemic and nothing more. the only reason that "they are in charge of the definition" is because the majority agreed to it.

    nothing happens without political muscle to make it happen. even political parties like yisrael beiteinu, which supposedly champions the rights of the non-dati, aren't demanding this change. so if the non-orthos of the world really want this change, they need to get off blogs and convince huge numbers of american non-orthodox jews to move here and vote meretz or whatever party will do it.

  33. the only reason that "they are in charge of the definition" is because the majority agreed to it.

    What did they agree to and when?

    Thats like saying you were for the gaza disengagement because it was ordered by the legally elected government and therefore you agreed to it.

    Besides, I didn't say orthodox jews are not jewish, I said they are loosing their jewishness. Luckily for them, most non-orthodox just don't care.

    It's not that we agree to let you guys be in charge of jewish affairs, its that you guys really want to be and we have more important issues in our lives, so we lost the fight. In a similar vein to muslims being defined by extremists even though the vast overwhelming majority of muslims are not.... they are just too busy or disengaged or don't feel it's worth the effort.

    So you're right, what will ultimately happen is that the religious will grow and grow and eventually more secular israelis will simply leave.

    And that is how israel will fall.

  34. Darth - funny that you just told us about the ASA and now London is having its own issue over an advertisement.. http://www.lbc.co.uk/naked-calvin-klein-ad-offends-orthodox-jews-49883

    the ASA ruled an ad with women in lingerie is ok and should not be offensive to anyone, after an ultra orthodox jew protested the ad on the side of buses.

  35. i don't predictions of how israel will seriously, whether they come from israelis or palestinians. all are stupid

  36. that's right. God will protect israel.

    You're right. You win. Only the orthodox can decide who is a jew. Women should not be seen in public. Only the secular should fight in the army...after all, they're not religious so they are only good for cannon fodder, the secular community should be taxed at a higher rate to provide subsidies for orthodox gans and housing and schools that don't teach math or science.

    And then, when more and more seculars leave and Israel can finally become a theocracy then god will show his true might.

    Yup, so so silly to imagine that Israel, the massive economic and global powerhouse that it is, will fall.

  37. did it take you a long time to put up those scarecrow arguments? i said nothing about god, about women disappearing, about the orthodox not being jewish, and yet you put all that stuff in your replies to me.

  38. Ben, they are not straw arguments. The blog post and whole discussion has been about women and their treatment and laws protecting them.

    We then moved on to discussing the cause and not the symptom, such as the political policies and religous arguments which have bred this civil discord.

    These issues, especially in a small country like Israel, if they are not fixed now... or rather if we are fighting about them now, what will it be like in the future, as the demographics shift. And I believe that these issues can destroy a country like Israel.

    You said you think that argument is stupid so I basically re listed these issues and some other current issues, from the orthodox side of the argument so you could see if the idea of Israel falling is still stupid.

    So to bring it all back around, I guess Rafi is right, this new law proposed is silly because it is attacking a symptom and not the cause.

  39. when you talk with someone, you talk with that person and zeh hu. bringing in what ever someone else said is a straw argument, a tzitzul of the person you're speaking with. should i bring in every stupid thing some hiloni said? of course not.


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