Jun 21, 2020

Separate Hiking Days might be coming to a nature trail near you

What religious male traveler/hiker in Israel is not familiar with the experience of driving out and hiking on a hot day to a river or stream or natural pool of water in the middle of nature looking forward to jumping in to cool off for a bit and enjoy the cold water, only to get there and discover the pond or stream already being enjoyed by other people including women, often wearing bathing suits, if their presence alone isn't enough, and realizing they cant go in the water or hang out there to enjoy?  And what religious female hiker isn't familiar with the same experience from the other side - getting to the stream or pond and finding men there splashing around in their swimming trunks and realizing that she cannot go in to enjoy the water?

Sometimes the hikers are able to find a natural solution of moving a bit upstream or downstream where it might be quieter, but sometimes that is not a solution, especially with a pond.

The organization B'Tzalmo, a human rights organization that fights for rights based on Jewish values (briefly, if I understood it correctly), has submitted a request to the Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber that would, if accepted, reorganize popular nature hikes in Israel and offer separate schedules for women's and men's hours or days, depending on the trail.

According to Israel Hayom, the petition was submitted as a result of the petition to the Supreme Court regarding the ongoing case of the Kiryat Arba municipal swimming pool that is kept in operation only with separate hours for men and women but some want family time to be allocated for the pool as well that would have men and women together. The court has ruled in that case that the pool must offer family time as well if residents want it. The Mayor of Kiryat Arba shut the pool down rather than offer mixed swimming times. Now residents from both sides want it to be reopened - some requesting it be opened for separate swimming and others insisting that if reopened there should also be family time.

As a result of this, B'Tzalmo has petitioned the Deputy AG that some nature trails, such as Nahal Yehudiya in the Golan, require swimming in large pools as part of the trail - the pool cannot be avoided, should someone want to for personal reasons of tzniyus to avoid mixed swimming. Because of that, B'Tzalmo says, many religious people avoid trails such as these so as not to end up in a difficult situation.

The arrangement for separate hours or days, depending on the trail, could be designated for specific days of the year, while the rest of the year it could be open to all, according to the request. they compare it to the beaches where it was determined that separate beaches could be opened without being considered discrimination.

Interesting. let's see what happens. It doesn't really help family tiyulim, but it would help all-male and all-female groups of hikers...

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1 comment:

  1. There is a BIG difference between allocating days for something BUILT by the public with public money, and for NATURE (i.e. blocking off NATURE to half the public for certain days).
    As an avid hiker, this is terrible. If they want to have separate hours or days for the natural POOLS, then I have no problem (but many others COULD have a legitimate problem). But to close off entire trails [which are often parts of much longer trails], and to force hikers to plan AROUND this, is not fair.
    And if they argue that this is not enough, then that's THEIR problem - they don't have the right to impose their personal views of pools on the entire tzibur of trail-hikers.
    I say this as someone who does NOT go mixed swimming.


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