Jerusalem deputy mayor: ‘Battle underway over Jewish character of state’

“Forces are constantly trying to nibble away at its Jewish character,” Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor said on Wednesday.

By World Israel News Staff

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Chagit Moshe added her voice on Wednesday to other, mainly religious, protests against a Sunday decision by the Nazareth District Court to cancel a concert for an Orthodox audience which required separate seating for men and women.

“A war is underway over the Jewish character of the State as there are forces constantly trying to nibble away at its Jewish character,” Moshe said. “It is the right of the public to hold events and ceremonies while maintaining their way of life, including gender separation.”

As an act of defiance, “The Jerusalem Municipality will hold a series of events in the coming weeks in full gender segregation,” Moshe said.

Moshe, who heads the Jewish Home party in Jerusalem, added her voice to that of Shas, an Orthodox Sephardic party, which petitioned the court on Monday to allow the concert to take place.

The concert was cancelled after the Nazareth court accepted a petition from the Israel Women’s Network (IWN), a group focusing on women’s rights. The court agreed that the event contradicted the principle of gender equality.

Among some but not all Orthodox circles, separation between men and women is enforced on the grounds of modesty.

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However, Nazareth Court Justice Jonathan Abraham ruled that it was a form of segregation. “Any ushers, security guards, or any other authorities at the event are prohibited from carrying out any segregation based on gender,” he said.

When the artist who was to perform, hasidic vocalist Motti Steinmetz, learned of the decision, he canceled the event. It had been scheduled for Wednesday in the city of Afula.

The Israel Women’s Lobby, encouraged by the ruling, petitioned the courts for two other events to be banned, one a performance “for men only” in Haifa and another event in the the city of Bat Yam.