A lot has been made in the US about Tanya Rosenblitt, a young Israeli who refused to sit in the back of a public bus as demanded by some Ultraorthodox men. It is a harpe un a shande, a disgrace, that the bus driver took their side and a police officer tried to placate them by attempting to convince her to comply, instead of reading them the riot act. But she stood her ground.
not only about women's rights, this is about the very essence of the
State of Israel. Is it going to be a modern democracy with equal rights
and civil laws, or a theocracy ruled by maniacs? Rosenblitt has been
labeled the Israeli Rosa Parks and her sensible defiance has sparked
other secular Israelis to demand a stop to the Orthodox lunacy. I don't
know what has taken Israeli secular society (the majority, still) so
long to fight the encroachment of insane religious dogma into daily
life. The problem with religious fanatics is that they don't listen to
reason. So as far as I'm concerned, they need to start listening to the
law of the land, and that law has to be secular.
If they want
segregated buses, they should own them privately and behave like Stone
Age troglodytes all they want on their own buses and their own dime.
They cannot expect to behave like that on state buses. They cannot
coerce others to behave like them. They cannot continue holding Israeli
society hostage with their unreasonable demands. Israel is a modern
society which should be governed by secular laws. It's about time that
Israel institutes civil marriage and divorce. As long as this doesn't
happen, it will be still mired in the Middle Ages, all its modern
As for those who worry that if
Israel secularizes all its laws it will cease being a Jewish state, I
guess they prefer Israel to be a Stone Age theocracy
rather than a modern democracy with secular laws for all. Let the
religious nutcases run rampant and soon there may be no Jewish state
Unfortunately, Orthodox Jews do not use family planning,
so they may end up calling the shots. But as long as they are not a
majority, they need to respect democratic rule. Enough with their
special treatment, which is an insult to those Israelis who do pay
taxes, serve in the Army and contribute to the progress of the country.
Enough with their parasitical abuse of the state and their contempt for
their fellow citizens. I'm happy to see Tanya's stance galvanized others
into a movement to ensure that Israel is defined as a modern state with
equal rights and responsibilities for all its citizens.
Christmas Day, as we waited to go to a movie in Union Square,
everything was closed, but music was coming out of speakers. Turns out
young Hassids were celebrating Hannukah. They were dancing to some
modern sounding music in Hebrew, in what seemed to me a bit of enforced
merriment. Six measly young males pretending to have more fun than what
they could possibly be having. I think there was a little cluster of
orthodox women standing around watching them. Because God forbid men and
women should sing and dance together. This ridiculous, offensive,
abusive form of segregation by the Orthodox is called, in a fit of
Orwellian euphemism, tzniut; modesty. But this is not about
modesty, this is about the control of women. Why do women have to be
modest and not men? What does that say about women: that if they don't
dress like circus tents they are what? Immodest, whores, the devil? Why
do women put up with this contemptuous crap?