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ISRAEL: Arrest for Jewish 'slut' slur on bus

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AN ultra-Orthodox Jewish man was arrested in Jerusalem yesterday for allegedly calling a 19-year-old female soldier a "slut" when she refused to move to the back of a public bus.

Men in front. Orthodox Jews force gender separation on buses


It was the first such arrest since the issue of gender separation demands by the ultra religious became a public issue in Israel in recent days.

 

The soldier, Doron Matalon, notified the driver who stopped the bus and called police.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset action would be taken against anyone who harassed women in public. "We'll stop the extremists," he said, attributing such incidents to "lawless fringe groups" and not the ultra-Orthodox community as a whole.

A prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbi yesterday attacked the concept of gender segregation on buses as a distortion of Jewish law. "Any attempt to prevent interaction between the sexes may only give rise to unwanted urges," said Rabbi Eliezer Melamed.

An ultra-Orthodox Knesset member, Haim Amsalam, said the demand for segregated buses had arisen about 20 years ago because the paucity of public transport had led to crowded buses and close physical contact, which many found disturbing.

The more extreme, however, have sought to extend the concept, even demanding in the town of Beit Shemesh that women not use the footpath in front of a synagogue.

Media throughout the Arab world have played the issue prominently on front pages. Al-Hayat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, said religious fanaticism "poses a strategic threat to Israel as it destabilises its relationship with the West".

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/arrest-for-jewish-slut-slur-on-bus/story-e6frg6so-1226232889951