Religious male and female students at Haifa's Technion technical institute protested, Thursday evening, the school's decision to end men-only hours at the campus gym. The separate hours were supposed to begin last Monday evening, to give the religious students a modest workout environment, but a mixed group refused to leave when the men showed up at the posted time. Photographs of the confrontation were sent to the media, resulting in pressure on the university to cancel the men-only hours.
Interviewed by Arutz Sheva's Hebrew service, student Itamar Cohen called the decision a blow to the religious freedom of the students and denied that those that showed up for the men-only hours wanted to expel women from the workout room. He said the religious students will continue their protest, adding that there has been little friction between the religious and the non-religious. Technion management said it will hold discussions on expanding the gym's hours to accomodate the religious men, saying the original decision to grant them separate hours contradicted the notion of equality and denouncing what it called "the marginalization of women in any form".