Aug 7, 2018

special services for the religious are discriminatory

The City of Rishon LeTzion has been running a pilot for a while to open libraries for the religious community. At the request of the community's representatives, the city agreed to run this pilot in which they open 4 libraries once a week after hours - meaning, after the library has already closed its regular operating hours for the public. As well, the library removes from the shelves books deemed inappropriate for the religious public for the duration of the opening hours for the religious community.

The pilot has come to an end, due to a lawsuit for discrimination.

Lee Weizman sued the city of Rishon claiming she was discriminated against when she noticed the branch of the library open and decided to return books she had borrowed. She was told she could not do so at that time, though after arguing they accepted the books from her. Another time as well she went to exchange books and was refused service, but after arguing the manager got involved and let her get new books in exchange for the books she was returning.

Weizman complained to the city but her complaint was ignored, so she decided to sue instead. She sued the city for 75,000nis. The counter claim by the city is that in both incidents in which she tried to avail herself of the library's services, she was provided the service, so she was not discriminated against.

The court decided in favor of Weizman, though for far less than what she claimed. The court awarded her 10,000nis. The judge explained that making separate hours for the religious "torani" community in the municipal library is discriminatory and against the law, as it discriminates against the secular community during those hours. Being that this is not a religious service, and nothing in the service provided by the library requires making a distinction between the religious and secular communities. The fact that a religious community might choose to not avail themselves of the service during regular hours for their ideological reasons does not make it discriminatory against them.

The City's response was that the city tried this pilot to allow the religious public to use the library. The library continued to function as normal for the secular and general public during the same hours as always and nothing was changed for them. The pilot has now been canceled.
source: Ynet

Personally I dont know why people feel they cannot go to a library when secular people are there. Nor do I know why some people might feel insulted or upset because of certain books on the shelves that they won't even borrow to read. However, I do think it is a shame that there seemingly cannot be a legal way to provide services to such communities in a way they find acceptable. Different strokes for different folks. The question is where it will lead to. At what point will the court say that this separation of groups is ok and we will not intervene - will shuls and yeshivas and seminaries eventually become a target as well?

Regarding this case, it is interesting that the Dati community in Rishon wanted to separate themselves for the general public in this way. The Dati community generally prides itself on being involved with the general community and not being isolationists.

Also, how is a librarian supposed to determine if someone is part of the Dati community and provide the service, or not? Even if a person comes in dressed not classicly religious, there is a wide range of people within every community, and people have kids who don't conform exactly to the way the parents want. I dont know how the librarian determined Weizman should not be provided the service, most likely by whatever way she was dressed, but it seems this entire exercise was flawed in that anybody not dressed overtly secular (whatever that might mean) should have been able to get away with getting into the library without too much effort, thus rendering the entire exercise pointless to begin with.





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7 comments:

  1. Believe these people who sue for the stupidest things and especially when it has to do with unreligious vs. religious, do it purposely. Their hatred for religious or, in general, Torah, or anything that indicates what might be objectionable to the unbelievers drives them insane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you were representative of a religious person, I'd hate religion, too.

      Delete
  2. see separate but equal is never equal; it's always the women losing their rights to jobs and access so males can benefit. How about males who do not want to mingle be required to live in the dark recesses of society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this has nothing to do with women. this is a separation between religious and not religious

      Delete
  3. Does the RBS A matnas still force the library to be closed for Haredi days?

    Finding ways to provide reasonable accommodation is important. There seems to be some clear lines of when accommodation crosses over to discrimination. Setting up the library in a way that appeals to a certain community is perfectly fine. Denying service to people based on dress or outward appearance of religiosity is not. A good litmus test would be to judge what the reaction would be if the library declared certain times for only allowing secular Jews or people wearing pants and their heads uncovered.

    ReplyDelete
  4. iM NOT SURE OF THAT, personally if the library hours are extended I would want on occasion to avail myself and children of those later hours.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Please explain,

    "Separate but equal is never equal"

    ReplyDelete

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