'Mixed protest' in Mea Shearim
'Mixed protest' in Mea ShearimIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Jerusalem’s hareidi religious neighborhood of Meah Shearim largely ignored a rare protest march Wednesday by a mixed group of men and women from feminist women's organizations demonstrating against an attempt to establish separate sidewalks for the sexes.

The High Court ruled Tuesday afternoon that the mixed group could march for 90 minutes towards the heart of Meah Shearim, whose residents posted signs many years ago that request visitors to dress modestly. It also ruled, in response to an argument by two Jerusalem council members  that carrying out a separation on public property infringes on property and civil rights, that public streets cannot be separated according to gender.

Neighborhood leaders, ignoring the court as well,  went one step further and ruled that a fence be erected on the sidewalks to separate men and women during a celebration that is part of the seven-day Sukkot holiday.

Police were heavily deployed during the protest march, and no incidents were reported, despite much electronic media reportage before, during and after the event..