Travel News|

Jew Charged for Harassment on Bus

Bus in JerusalemThis week, a male ultra-Orthodox Jew was detained in Jerusalem for calling a 19-year-old female soldier a “whore” on a bus after she refused to move to the rear of the public vehicle. This is the first such arrest since the gender separation issue demanded by the ultra-religious was revealed to the public in Israel recently.

Doron Matalon, the female soldier, notified the bus driver, who then halted the service and contacted the police. Shlomo Fuchs, 44, was charged for insulting the soldier many times. During a police hearing, the court was told that discrimination against women puts democratic society in danger. The suspect was granted a 20,000 shekels bail (€4,000), but he wasn’t able to pay and was remanded in police custody until his case is heard.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that authorities will take action against anybody who harasses a woman in a public place. They will stop extremists who are simply “lawless fringe groups” and not the whole ultra-Orthodox community, he added. The incident follows a prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Eliezer Melamed, attacking the concept of gender segregation on buses as Jewish law being distorted. He said that any attempt to avoid interaction between the sexes may only increase unwanted urges.

Haim Amsalam, an ultra-Orthodox Knesset member, tells reporters that the demand for segregation on buses arose about two decades ago due to the lack of public transport leading to crowded buses and close physical contact between riders, which was disturbing to many people. However, extremists have sought to extend the segregation concept, demanding that women in the town of Beit Shemesh not be permitted to use the pavement in from of synagogues.

Arab world media sources have been splashing the issue on their front pages. London Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat says the issue “poses a strategic threat” to the country because it makes the nation’s relationship with the West unstable. The vital ultra-Orthodox swing vote has caused the sector to be pampered by all Israeli governments. Prime minister Netanyahu seems to share the viewed impact on Israel’s Western relations. He said the determination to fight this is part of what makes the country a liberal Western democracy.

Meanwhile, this week, several thousand protesters gathered in Beit Shemesh to criticise the imposition of local ultra-Orthodox Jews on the issue of gender separation in public and harassment of young women who are deemed as dressing “immodest”. Police were on hand, but local rabbis called on their members to prevent provocation. Tzipi Livni, the opposition leader, says the attempt of extremists to impose their views on the majority composes a battle for the character of Israel. President Shimon Peres has referred to the religious extremism as fighting for the nation’s soul and the state’s essence.




  • Share this post:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
In the Press
  • The Sunday Post Martin Lewis of Early booking using comparison sites including can slash up to 70%
  • The Daily Mail For the best deals, use price comparison websites such as
  • The Daily Telegraph Check out car hire comparison sites such as to see the prices on offer at dozens of car hire companies.

Cookies on

Copyright 2003 ASAP Ventures Ltd

All rights reserved

Registered in England and Wales

Company number 4278063

Registered office address

1 The Square, Lightwater, Surrey, GU18 5SS