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      Archive: 12/20/2011
      14:07
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      News Brief

        12/20/2011, Kislev 24, 5772

      MK Eichler: Gender-Separate Seating Not Coerced


      The Knesset faction of the hareidi-religious United Torah Judaism party sent a sharply-worded letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Tuesday, following their comments on Sunday regarding gender-based separate seating on "mehadrin" buses. Netanyahu expressed his opposition to the moving of a female bus passenger, adding, "We cannot allow marginal groups to dismantle our common denominator."

      In the letter, Faction Chairman Yisrael Eichler wrote that the separation was agreed upon voluntarily by passengers, bus companies, the ministry and the courts. He added the party's opposition to women being forced to sit in close quarters with members of the opposite sex on non-mehadrin buses or to move on mehadrin buses. Rabbi Eichler noted that the woman who eventually moved to the back of the bus in a highly-publicized case came to the bus station equipped with a camera and insisted on riding the mehadrin bus, although there was a regular bus available to travel the same route and get her to her destination in half the time. The letter concludes with an expression of surprise that the prime minister would make such comments without apparently checking the facts, expressing hope that he would issue a retraction.