Court: ‘Immodesty’ Insults are Sexual Harassment
A hareidi man from Jerusalem who insulted a female soldier for “immodest” behavior has been convicted of sexual harassment.
Shlomo Fuchs of Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem, was charged with sexual harassment and with inappropriate behavior in a public place over a verbal attack on a young woman on a Jerusalem city bus.
The incident took place in 2011 on a “mehadrin” bus line, where the predominantly hareidi passengers were seated with men in the front of the bus and women in the back. The female soldier, Doron Matalon, was at the front of the bus.
Fuchs told Matalon that she should move to the women’s section in the back of the bus. Matalon refused, telling him that women were allowed to sit in any part of the bus.
Fuchs then yelled at her, “Prutza! You have no honor! You’re standing among yeshiva students!” The term “prutza” literally means “whore,” but is used in the hareidi community as a general insult for immodest behavior.
He was charged with sexual harassment under a clause in the law which includes “a demeaning or humiliating remark made toward a person because of his sex or sexuality” as a form of harassment. Fuchs has argued that the charges against him were exaggerated, and has accused the “secular media” of anti-hareidi bias.
During his harassment trial, Fuchs was barred from using public transportation.
The 2011 incident, along with a handful of similar incidents, added to controversy over “mehadrin” bus lines and prompted renewed efforts to ensure that passengers on public transportation be allowed to sit where they choose.
In the years after the incident Doron Matalon began a career as a model; earlier this week, she took second place in a nationwide beauty pageant.