Ultra-orthodox men refuse to share cable car with women at Israel tourist site
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
A group of female tourists were refused entry into a cable car last week during their visit to a popular site in northern Israel after ultra-Orthodox men said they would not share the carriage with them, Channel 10 news reported.
The three women and their tour guide Jamey Slater were readying to take the descending cable car from Manara Cliff in the Upper Galilee when the operator said they were unable to enter the vehicle and had to wait for the next car to arrive.
They were informed, after questioning why, that a group of ultra-Orthodox men at the next station stated their refusal to sharing the cable car with women. Some religious men avoid situations which could lead to accidental physical contact with women.
Speaking to Channel 10 news, Slater said the incident “was painful to me as a citizen,” adding that “this cannot be legal, and cannot continue.”
The site’s director Doron Medina said the event was an isolated incident.
“There was a specific group that requested of us, at a time when we were not experiencing heavy crowds, that when they go down in the cable car not to have men adn women together,” Medina said. “They only waited a few minutes for the next car. We explained it very nicely to their guide. We won’t go on doing it, it was an isolated incident.”
However, according to a Channel 10 investigation the site has previously accommodated certain groups at the expense of others.
In an official response, the site said it “tries to be considerate” of special requests by visitors and denied all accusations of discrimination.
The episode is not the first of its kind, in recent weeks ultra-Orthodox men have refused to be seated next to women on flights leading to delays.
Last week, an Austrian Airline plane bound for Vienna was delayed for 40 minutes after a group of 26 Hasidic men declined their seats next to women. Multiple travelers were said to have missed their connecting flights in Austria.
The week before, an El Al flight was stalled for over an hour at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport due further defiance by religious Jewish men.
El Al was criticized for moving female passengers and giving into Haredi demands. The CEO of Israeli technology giant NICE System’s Barak Eilam accused the airline of discriminating against women and said his company would boycott the carrier.
Following the two incidents Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s centrist political party took to Twitter condemning the behaviour of the ultra-Orthodox passengers. “Once again a primitive group of Haredis moved and humiliated women on a flight. If for once they’re removed from the flight without hesitation or recompense, this disgrace will end,” he wrote.
Last year, Renee Rabinowitz, 83, retired lawyer and Holocaust survivor sued the airline for discrimination after being asked to move on a NY-Tel Aviv fight back in December 2015 after an ultra-Orthodox man refused to sit next to her. Subsequently, a court in Jerusalem ruled that the national carrier will no longer be allowed to ask passengers to move seats on the basis of gender as it was not in keeping with Israel’s anti-discrimination laws.
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The cable car should have been provided for the women without question and the men should have been told to wait for an empty car to arrive. Those of us with brains are responsible for making those who can't control themselves in the presence of women stand aside for women.