Naomi Ragen Files Suit: Women Will Not Move To The Back Of The Bus Any Longer

American-born Modern Orthodox author Naomi Ragen has filed suit as part of a group of Israeli women in an attempt to get Israel’s high court ot ban haredi buses that have enforced segregated seating. The so-called "mehadrin busses" force women to sit in the back of the bus. Ynet reports on Ragen’s personal experience with these buses:

…The petition describes a personal experience by Ragen in July 2004 while on a ‘kosher’ bus line, coincidentally the only direct bus line from central Jerusalem to her neighborhood of residence.

At first, the bus was empty and Ragen sat alone in a seat up front. As the bus filled with passengers, haredi men came up to her and demanded harshly that she move to the back of the bus.

Ragen, unaware that it was a haredi bus, responded that she had seen no sign requiring her to sit in a specific location. Furthermore, she said, as a religious woman, she knew that there was no Jewish law forbidding her from sitting wherever she pleased.

From that moment, Ragen said, she was verbally abused. At every bus stop, the incoming haredi male passengers yelled at her. There was even one man who threatened her with physical harm.

"He treated me exactly as if I were a black woman in the United States South 50 years ago," recounted Ragen. "It was very humiliating."

According to the petitioners, the separation becomes even more enraging when the male section of the bus is almost empty, while the female section is overcrowded. At such times, the petitioners said, the men still prevent women from crossing over to "their side".

"Why should a woman with children and a baby carriage be forced to stand when there are plenty of empty seats on the bus?" Ragen asked.

Ragen added that, because there are no signs on the buses, women have no way of knowing whether they are ‘kosher’ or not.…

DovBear recently reported (and Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum confirmed) an attack on a religious Jewish woman by haredi males on an Egged bus, because she refused to give up her seat and move to the rear.

My friend Ellen Silman has a friend who called me yesterday from Jerusalem. He had just taken the 973 bus from Sefat to Jerusalem. At the Afula stop, a haredi rabbi got on an noticed an elderly haredi couple sitting together in the front seat of the bus. He demanded that the wife leave her seat and move to the rear. She and her husband refused. An argument ensued. The elderly man asked to see the rabbi’s ID. At that point the driver confirmed thhe rabbi was, in fact, working for Egged, enforcing seperate seating. The haredi rabbi again ordered the elderly woman to move to the rear of the bus. Her husband retorted. I, too, am a rabbi and I know halakha, and the halakha you are enforcing does not exist! Egged’s haredi rabbi-enforcer responded by ordering the driver not to move the bus until the elderly woman moved to the rear. She moved and so did the bus. Ellen Silman’s friend said he plans on filing a complaint against Egged.

Naomi Ragen says she filed this suit because she wants to prevent Israel from "turning into a Taliban country." I’m afraid she may be too late.

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28 Comments

Filed under Crime, Haredim, Israel

28 responses to “Naomi Ragen Files Suit: Women Will Not Move To The Back Of The Bus Any Longer

  1. Anonymous

    I agree, saddly it is many years to Late.

    It will get worse however, that is the nature of the beast – more restrictions = more rebellion with a final result that will split society into seperate and distinct groups.

    Prepare for more violent and shameful confontations from these Taliban type enforcers.

  2. ZG

    In the States the Charedim become like the Amish and in Israel they become like the Taliban

  3. One of these days,there is going to be REAL bloodshed on the buses,worse than what has happened in the Miriam Shear incident.Some ireligious guy is going to get offended by the demand to move his girlfriend away from him .Then he will either open fire with his Uzi or start beating the crap outta the dumb rabbi who bothered him.

    Then we will see how they act after that.I know that if some Chusid bothers me like that,he is going down.HARD.

  4. D

    “In the States the Charedim become like the Amish and in Israel they become like the Taliban”

    In the words of Muhammad Ali; “Thank G-d my granddaddy got on that boat!”

  5. shmuel

    Based on what we’ve been reading about Charediland in Israel, it feels like it might be too late, true, but then again,if the lawsuit is successful (and Israel is the land of miracles), maybe it will put an end to this craziness. Maybe.

  6. JewishCynic

    A situation aggravated by Israel’s parlimentary system that gives small parties power beyond their numbers. The only hope is for Likud, Labor and other parties to form a gov’t without the orthodox parties and straighten things out. But given Israeli politics that’s unlikely.
    With the birth rate of haredim (and Arabs) and the exudus of chiloni it’ll soon be a moot point. Perhaps Iraq is a model for Israel’s future.

  7. B”H
    Shalom!
    While I can argue either side of theissue on this one let me post this Israeli joke instead to make you all laugh:
    An Ashkenazi Rabbi gets on a bus and the only empty space he sees is next to a cute young woman.
    He doesn’t take the sit.
    She says “Kvoid haRav why don’t you sit down next to me?”
    He says “Umm I’m sorry I can’t.”
    After awhile he comes of the bus.
    A Sefardi Rabbi gets on the same bus comes and sits down next to the same girl.
    She asks “Kvoid haRav why did the Ashkenazi Rav refused to sit next to me while you did?
    He replies : “Hu haRav aval ani haChacham!” (he is a Rabbi but I’m Chacham (wise man but also a honorific for addressing Sefardi rabbis:-)
    http://www.pilegesh.org
    http://www.pilegeshpersonals.com
    NoahidePersonals.com

  8. jinx

    This people are parasite, they live off the government, do not serve in the military and now they are harassing everybody else.

  9. ed

    >This people are parasite, they live off the government, do not serve in the military and now they are harassing everybody else.

    Jinx, tell me, how does it feel that you unleeshed your slander. Good? Great? Will you sleep better tonight after cussin out your fellow jews?

  10. ed

    >This people are parasite, they live off the government, do not serve in the military and now they are harassing everybody else.

    Jinx, tell me, how does it feel that you unleeshed your slander. Good? Great? Will you sleep better tonight after cussin out your fellow jews?

  11. ed

    >This people are parasite, they live off the government, do not serve in the military and now they are harassing everybody else.

    Jinx, tell me, how does it feel that you unleeshed your slander. Good? Great? Will you sleep better tonight after cussin out your fellow jews?

  12. ed

    Ooh, sorry for those repeats.

  13. ed

    >but then again,if the lawsuit is successful (and Israel is the land of miracles), maybe it will put an end to this craziness. Maybe.

    Nonsense. The Charedim will boycott and Egged will cave in just like El Al.

    Like Shmarya says: Gelt is good!

  14. Why are the charedim allowed to run Egged if they don’t even recognize Zionism? Let them create their own bus company. If these folks can use a Zionist bus company, they should recognize the company’s policies, too- not the other way around.

  15. Jerome Soller

    As a man I am recommending a very simple solution. Have the men that want segregated seeting sit in the back of the bus, and the women in the front. Isn’t this obvious?

    Jerome

  16. Lawrence M. Reisman

    Maze Artist asks, “Why are the charedim allowed to run Egged if they don’t even recognize Zionism? Let them create their own bus company.” If my memory is correct, they actually did. However, Egged, not wanting to lose the patronage, agreed to the mehadrin busses to keep the charedi ridership. By all means, let them start their own bus company again, just like they have in New York. Of course, when Egged complains about the loss of ridership, don’t blame the charedim.

  17. YUGUY

    The answer isn’t to tell chareidim to start their own bus companies. Forget the financial loss that Eged would suffer, but if all chareidim had their own busses, the enforcement would be stricter. One wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere that only “chareidi” busses go wearing anything not deemed appropriate. Since the demand to travel to Chareidi neighborhoods on Eged busses would be greatly reduced, non chareidim would be forced to comply with Taliban rules.

    Women on that bus would sit in the back, can’t wear denim (forget about pants or shorts), can’t have internet on their cell phones, cant bring food onto the bus that has a conservative hechsher even if it also has an orthodox one, and cant have a ninth grade or above secular education.

    The Israeli Left supports Taliban Terror, the far Right emulates Taliban Terror, and there is no middle. Like a Bagel.

  18. Bava Kama Sutra

    “Then he will either open fire with his Uzi or start beating the crap outta the dumb rabbi who bothered him.”

    And your problem with it is what ?

  19. Lawrence M. Reisman

    “The answer isn’t to tell chareidim to start their own bus companies. … if all chareidim had their own busses, the enforcement would be stricter… Since the demand to travel to Chareidi neighborhoods on Eged busses would be greatly reduced, non chareidim would be forced to comply with Taliban rules” since “One wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere that only “chareidi” busses go wearing anything not deemed appropriate.”

    If charedim start their own lines, Egged won’t compete. So either you have Charedim being forced to travel under conditions they don’t want, or the rest of the population being forced to travel under conditions they don’t want.
    So the only solution is that one group can’t ride the busses without compromising their beliefs or practices? That’s what YUGUY seems to suggest.

    I don’t think it’s that bad. I think that both Egged and a Charedi line could run busses in the same neighborhood. But then, what do I know?

  20. YUGUY

    Lawrence,
    It is true that Eged could possibly run a line where a Chareidi compnay already travels, but it may not be a financialy sound idea. The Chareidi bus line can significantly reduce the demand for an Eged bus line. Since most of the people travelling to Chareidi neighborhoods are willing, or even eager, to be subject to ‘taliban’ rule, they will have no need for an Eged. The Eged demand dwindles and eventually they would suffer a greater financial expense on a line to a Chareidi area then the revenues that such a venture can produce.

  21. JewishCynic

    Unfortunately Noah’s joke is outdated. instead of
    “She says “Kvoid haRav why don’t you sit down next to me?”
    He says “Umm I’m sorry I can’t.”
    After awhile he comes of the bus.”
    Now it would be: “She says “Kvoid haRav why don’t you sit down next to me?”
    He turns to his followers, they throw the woman off the bus, then he sits down.

    Ed you wrote: “Will you sleep better tonight after cussin out your fellow jews?”
    Jews should be outraged when people wear an ultraorthodox costume and do these atrocious acts in the name of torah observance. No, not all religious jews are like these thugs but as the talmud says “shtika k’hodah” (silence is equivalent to agreement).

  22. Modern Jew

    How come every lazy ass American Jewish teenager I know gets shipped off to Israel where he “finds Moses” and becomes a new strain of parasite?

    There is little question that the Haredi and the Taliban are simply brands of the same mentality-I want nothing to do with either-And by the way before the Kennesset replaces the rapist Katsav (who can’t bring himself to call a Reform Rabbi “Rabbi” but can sexually assualt women) it ought to think long and lard about appointing the rumored charedi leading candidate.

  23. Ahavat bat Sarah

    “Since most of the people travelling to Chareidi neighborhoods are willing, or even eager, to be subject to ‘taliban’ rule, they will have no need for an Eged. The Eged demand dwindles and eventually they would suffer a greater financial expense on a line to a Chareidi area then the revenues that such a venture can produce.”

    I think you might be wrong. What would happen is the cheredi bus would end up being a men’s only bus, and women would still take egged. I don’t think they’d lose that much revenue.

  24. YUGUY

    You think a Chareidi busline wouldnt have enough busses for everyone? Chareidi women would rather drive ‘Frummer than thou’ busses than Eged busses. Also, Rabbis would pasken that Eged is ossur to use because is taking parnussah from the Chareidi company and the Chareidim would have to travel on ‘Frummer than thou’ buslines Inc.

  25. Yochanan Lavie

    Maybe we need a Raizyl Parks.

  26. We have our own Rosa Parks, she is shomer mitzvot and a talented writer. Kol hakavod. If the haredi men want to avoid pushing and shoving between the two genders on crowded buses- let them move to the back of the bus!

  27. Hi, I’m reading your comments with interest. Orli, the lawyer handling the case, would very much like to get in touch with the eye witness who claims an Egged representative got on the bus and forced an elderly woman to leave her husband and move to the back, keeping the bus from moving until she did. Can this person please, please contact me?

    Thanks, and hang in there. We will win, with Hashem’s help.

  28. Lady in Separation

    see Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, Machberes, Jewish Press 04-25-07
    http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/21383/My_Machberes.html

    Kosher Buses In Israel

    While most developed countries have approximately 60 percent of their population using public modes of transportation, in Israel, more than 95 percent of the population uses public transportation. Private school buses are not common in Israel. As a result, yeshiva rebbis and teachers, their students, boys as well as girls, use public transportation along with the general population.

    Discussions regarding buses serving observant communities here in the greater New York City metropolitan area focus on etiquette issues, for example, whether men should stand and give up their seats to ladies when buses are overfilled, or whether men or women should board buses first. In Israel, these fine points are lost since all buses are always crowded. Inadvertently, problems have arisen because of the unavoidable contact of passengers. In addition, especially during the summer months, modes of dress are sometimes offensive to others. These problems come up within observant communities, such as Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak.

    As a result, four years ago, Torah activists established their own bus lines called “Mehadrin” that serve devout communities exclusively. The buses take men or women only, or have the seats evenly divided with separate entrances for men and women at opposite ends of the bus. Initially, mainstream bus lines such as Egged fought its introduction. However the bus companies, upon realizing that there was a huge demand for this kind of service, both inter-city and intra-city, began to provide mehadrin type service. Today, 50 bus routes serving 24 cities have more than 1,800 buses providing mehadrin service daily.

    The success of the mehadrin concept represents the hard work of numerous dedicated Torah activists from many cities in Israel. Recently, Rabbi Menachem Kenig and Rabbi Binyamin Mark came to the United States to solicit financial support to continue and increase the current bus service for the observant communities. More than 100,000 observant Jews use mehadrin transportation daily. However, there are estimates that there are more than 200,000 other observant Jews who still use the regular overcrowded mixed buses. Rabbi Kenig and Rabbi Mark seek to expand the mehadrin service so that every observant Jew has the opportunity to have his or her daily commute free of intermingling with passengers of the opposite gender.

    Rabbi Mark earned endorsements for his efforts from the beth din of the Edah HaCharedis of Yerushalayim and also from Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, author of Shevet Levi; Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, Rosh Kollel Chazon Ish; Rabbi Yisroel Mordechai Twersky, zt”l, Rachmestrivka Rebbe in Yerushalayim; and Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter, Breslover Rav in Yerushalayim.

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