Sep 4, 2017

Men want to run in the Jerusalem Women's Run

On September 11 there is a night run scheduled in Jerusalem only for women under the name JW Run (maybe it stands for Jerusalem Women Run). The run will be routed through the streets of Jerusalem neighborhoods finishing at the First Station complex with both 5 and 10km distance routes and an entire "happening" around the race.

Dr. Michael Ben Ari, Bentzi Gupstein and Advocate Itamar Ben Gvir have petitioned a lawyer, Dina Zilber, to work against this event. They say that while they themselves all support gender-specific events and sports and they each work out in gender-separate gyms and fitness centers, the lawyer herself, Dina Zilber, ruled to cancel an all-male selichos event last year that had been planned and scheduled to take place in Kikar Rabin. They quoted Zilver who ruled that a Municipality is obligated to prevent any event that is discriminatory in the public sphere and that Iryat Tel Aviv was obligated to cancel the event in Kikar Rabin due to it being discriminatory against women as the prevention of women from singing at a public event is discriminatory and hurtful to women.

They claim in their petition that being discriminatory against men should be treated with the same severity as discrimination against women. Iryat Yerushalayim must cancel this event that discriminates against men in the public sphere.

The 3 say that if their request will be ignored, they will petition the courts on the matter.
source: Kipa

This always bothered me about the fight against discrimination. With no separation of Shul and State in Israel, there is no clear line of when something is discriminatory and when it is not. If you fight against discrimination and think public events should not, or need not, be gender specific or gender-separate, eventually that can easily lead to banning the mechitza in shul, to use an extreme example. If it is illegal for the State to fund events and organizations that make discriminatory events, how can they support shuls or yeshivas or girls schools or anything that is gender-specific that has to do with the religious community.

This petition by Ben-Gvir is a good example of that. I have no problem with a separate race for women, even if I don't see the need. Also, there are mens retreats and womens retreats that happen all the time, shiurim and events for men or for women only that are often sponsored by Municipal cultural offices, and the like. Those are all at risk. I am not sure where the line should be drawn, but I see nothing wrong with events for men only or for women only - and it is up to me and everyone else to decide whether or not to participate. When is it called discrimination and when is it not is very unclear.

And with Ben Gvir's petition - does he want them to allow men to run in the race or does he want the race canceled? I know he just wants to make a point and not actually get men  to run in it or get it cancelled. Meaning, if Dina Zilber picks up the baton and fights City Hall to get the event changed, will Ben Gvir run in the race?


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  1. I am sure the race is not meant to be seriously competitive, but there's a reason that (even) at the national and international levels (think Olympics), men and women compete separately. I think these men are trying to make a point, and they've chosen their example rather poorly.

    1. what's poor about the example? there's a reason why men and women pray separately, but this lawyer found that unacceptable, so how can she justify excluding men in this case? the real answer is that it's not about equality, it's about not liking men. therefor the lawyer in question is opposed to excluding women for any reason, but has no problem with excluding men. the purpose of this challenge is to force this lawyer to admit that that is her real agenda.

    2. It's a poor example because men and women compete separately in virtually every physical sport, in all sports organizations, leagues and events, across the world. And there's reason for that which has nothing to do with a lack of egalitarianism.

    3. with organized runs and races things are different. they are not competitive in that way. People are competing against themselves. 99.9% of the people have no expectation to end up in first place or third place and take home a trophy. It is not men competing against women as it would be in a mixed sport like tennis.

  2. NYC had a problem a couple years ago with a municipal pool having two or three separate hours for (satmar) women. The counter argument was there are many gyms and pools with separate hours (one big gym / pool chain is female only). And when some Hispanic women found out, they started to come, no objection from the satmar women. The city still cut back the hours, still threatening to cut off the program altogether.


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