Gender Segregation Grows in Israel

Separation is felt most in Jerusalem
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2011 1:25 PM CST
Gender Segregation Grows in Israel
In this Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 photo, a torn poster of a woman is seen in Jerusalem. Images of women have vanished from the streets of Israel's capital.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel boasts a female opposition leader, high-profile women soldiers, and a female former prime minister. But walk the streets of Jerusalem these days and, in some areas, you’ll see gender-segregated sidewalks, buses, health clinics, and supermarkets—and few billboards or ads depicting women. The capital city has become increasingly segregated as ultra-Orthodox rabbis fight back against what they see as secularization, the AP reports. In one of several examples, the AP notes that Jerusalem debuted its long-awaited light rail with a big ad campaign this summer—one devoid of women's faces.

The growing segregation is most obvious in Jerusalem, where the ultra-Orthodox population is growing quickly (it's expected to jump from its current 9% to 15% by 2025) and has a disproportionate amount of political power, but it’s moving into other areas as well. Even the military is considering reassigning female soldiers, as some religious men don’t want to serve alongside them. But Israel's Supreme Court has made moves against the trend, and last month ordered that barriers intended to segregate a sidewalk during a popular religious ceremony be removed. (More Israel stories.)

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