Knesset: 'Excluding Women' Not a Crime

Three Kadima MKs vote for the bill, against coalition. Coalition chairman: they have split personalities.

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Gil Ronen,

MK Nino Abesadze
MK Nino Abesadze
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset rejected Wednesday a bill proposed by MK Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) that would make "exclusion of women" a crime punishable by 5 years in jail or a fine of NIS 300,000.

"Exclusion of women" is a feminist term referring to the separation between men and women in public places and modesty-related prohibitions on both sexes that are practiced by the more strictly orthodox streams in Judaism.

While the coalition voted against the bill, three new members of the coalition from the Kadima party broke ranks and voted in favor of it. The three were MKs Yoel Hasson, Robert Tibayev and Nino Abesadze.

Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) was displeased with the fractious MKs. He taunted them, saying: "It appears that the Knesset Members in Kadima suffer from a split personality and still cannot decide if they are in the coalition, or whether they want to go back to the election season, from which almost all of them will not return to the Knesset."

"I advise them to seek urgent psychological counseling," he said.

Elkin said he was "disappointed" with the leadership of Kadima head Minister Shaul Mofaz and promised that the matter would come up in the coalition management and be dealt with "in the traditional way."