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Jan 25, 2015

City of Bet Shemesh responds to court decision

The City of Bet Shemesh has now released a response to the court decision earlier today. To remind you, the Court decided against the City of Bet Shemesh and in favor of the four women who sued the city for not putting enough effort into enforcing the law and removing illegal tzniyus signs.

Iryat Bet Shemesh's response:
תגובת העירייה להחלטת בית המשפט בעתירת המרכז הרפורמי להסרת השלטים:
העירייה הסירה את השלטים הפרטיים כמה וכמה פעמים, אך אלו נתלו מחדש בתוך דקות ספורות ואף גרמו למהומות ולחיכוכים בין המגזרים השונים המתגוררים בעיר.
אין בכוחו של הפיקוח העירוני להתמודד עם סוגיה מורכבת כזו, גם מבחינה מבצעית, לכן פנינו למשטרת ישראל שתיכנס לעובי הקורה ותאכוף את החוק.
לצערנו, בית המשפט לא השכיל להבין את המציאות המורכבת בבית שמש עמה אנו מתמודדים ולא קיבל את טענת העירייה כי החשש לשלום הציבור והפגיעה במרקם היחסים העדינים בין האוכלוסיות השונות והמנוגדות התגוררות בבית שמש, גבר על הצורך המיידי בהסרה חוזרת ונשנית של השלטים.
בעניין זה שגה בית המשפט ואירועי מערכות הבחירות האחרונות לימדו כי עמדת העירייה בדין יסודה. בית המשפט לא היה ער למחלוקות ולפרצי האלימות אשר היו מנת חלקה של בית שמש, והיכולת להביא דברים אלו אל אולם בית המשפט היא קשה ומורכבת. גם בירושלים ובערים נוספות מוצבים שלטים דומים ואף אחד לא תובע את העירייה.
יחד עם זאת, לאחר שהרוחות בעיר נרגעו, תכבד העירייה את פסק הדין, בתיאום והדברות של כל האוכלוסיות ותפעל בשילוב כוחות עם משטרת ישראל כדי להביא לאכיפת החוק והסדר.

my translation:
The Municipality has removed the private signs a number of times, yet they were hanged again within minutes, and even caused rioting and friction between different sectors living in the city.

It is not within the power of the city oversight to deal with this complicated issue, also from an operational standpoint, so we turned to the police to deal with the situation and enforce the law.

To our sorrow, the courts were not wise enough to understand the complex reality of Bet Shemesh that we have to deal with, and it did not accept the city's argument that it the concern about public peace and damaging the sensitive relations between sectors living in Bet Shemesh takes precedence over the immediate and repeated removal of the signs.

In this matter the court is mistaken and the recent elections has taught us that the Iryah's position is set in law. The court is not aware of the disputes and the outbreaks of violence that were a part of the portion of Bet Shemesh, and bringing these issues to the court is difficult and complex. In Jerusalem and other cities as well there are similar signs and nobody there sued those cities.

Together with this, after people will have calmed down, the Iryah will honor the court decision, in coordination with and through dialogue between all the different sectors, and it will work together with the police to bring about enforcement of the law and order.

I am not sure "nobody else sued" is much of an argument. There is always a first. and now that someone sued (in Bet Shemesh), maybe people will sue elsewhere. A better argument, which does not actually exist, would have been that someone else sued and lost. But that did not happen.

The court is not aware of the violence and complexity in Bet Shemesh? Is anyone in the country not aware of it? For a long period of time it made the headlines regularly. I doubt there is anyone in the country who has not heard of it. and this court case was in the local Bet Shemesh court, not somewhere far away.

The Iryah should find a way to enforce the law. Maybe it requires fining the people who put the signs up. Maybe it requires other methods, but clearly just removing the signs does not work.

If the removed signs were replaced within minutes, as the Iryah says, it makes me wonder - did the Iryah just take down the signs and hand them back to the owners? How did they have replacement signs up so quickly, within minutes? It takes time to print new signs.

It is a complex issue. I don't know that leaving up the signs as a way of dealing with a complicated situation with sensitivity is the right method, or even considered sensitive, but it is definitely a complex situation. I would not expect it to be resolved within minutes, days or even weeks. Such a situation probably will take a lot of work and time and effort before it is resolved in a satisfactory way. Letting a bully continue terrorizing victims because the issue is complex can never be described as sensitivity..

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  1. I don't understand what they mean that the elections proved that the city is now in the right.

    It's also funny because at the court case itself both sides (the lawyer for the women and the lawyer for the city) were told by the judge that he is not ruling on the illegality of the signs because they are illegal, and the judge insisted that both sides agree to that statement before proceedings began - and they both agreed that yes the signs are illegal.

  2. Let some secular folks put up a sign requesting women wear tanktops and shorts on hot days and see how long the city lets them stay up.

  3. The opening line says it all:
    תגובת העירייה להחלטת בית המשפט בעתירת המרכז הרפורמי להסרת השלטים:
    In other words, it's them vs. us, since we all know those Reform are just out to get us...


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