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Woman Maces Orthodox Misogynist
A woman who boarded a bus designated for religious passengers sprayed tear gas at an Orthodox man who demanded she move to the rear section last week in Ashdod.
The incident began on Friday, when an 18-year-old Orthodox man noticed the woman, 60, sitting at the front of the bus on a route on which men and women are segregated for purposes of religious modesty.
The man objected to the woman's seating location, and asked her to move to the back, police said, but she refused to budge.
The exchange quickly escalated into a confrontation, police said.
After being cursed at repeatedly, the woman told him to "shut up," adding, "What do you care where I sit? So what if this is a religious bus? Nothing will happen if I sit at the front," according to her police interrogation transcript.
The woman then sprayed tear gas "to scare the youth who was yelling at me," she told officers.
The bus driver stopped the vehicle, and opened the doors to air out the bus, while the young religious man called the police.
The woman was detained for questioning and released on bail. She is suspected of assault
We need to recognize that the ultra-Orthodox obsession with removing women from public spaces is in fact an act of systemic violence that is often accompanied by pointed violence (cursing, spitting, pushing, beating up, throwing acid and stealing babies, to name a few incidences from the past 2–3 years). This communal compulsion is a threat to women’s physical and emotional well-being, and goes against the basic tenets of democracy, humanity, and even Torah.
Yes, the Torah tells us that all human beings (men AND women) were created in His Divine image and deserve dignity and respect.
What really irritates me, though, is the language used to defend the segregation. I would like to see the media and others stop referring to gender segregation as an act “for purposes of religious modesty”, as the Jerusalem Post did this week, for example. The idea that a woman sitting at the front bus is “immodest” implies that a woman who dares to be seen in public is acting sexually, intentionally trying to arouse the men around her. This issue is not about “modesty,” but about misogyny. Obsessive segregation is an agenda created by men who see all women — young or old, rich or poor, fat or thin, educated or uneducated — as ineligible for a place in the front of the bus by virtue of their sex. This obsession is not religiousness. It is, in fact, an abomination.