Rabin Square
Rabin SquareMiriam Alster/FLASH90

Deputy Chief Justice of the Tel Aviv District Court Kobi Vardi ruled this afternoon, Sunday, on a petition which sought to enable Chabad’s “Messiah in the Square” event to be held tomorrow in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

The event was scheduled to coincide with the Hebrew calendar date of the 12th of Tammuz, which marks the release in 1927 of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, from Soviet prison, following his imprisonment for his attempts to keep Judaism alive under Communist rule.

The Tel Aviv event had aroused the anger of feminist and radical leftist groups for its intention to separate audience members by gender in accordance with Jewish standards of modesty. As such, the groups demanded that the Tel Aviv municipality cancel the license for the event, and the municipality complied, ordering that the event be cancelled unless it did away with gender separation.

In the hearing, Justice Vardi attacked the position of the municipality and the organizations that petitioned against the event, noting that "there is no reason not to hold the event with [gender] separation."

The judge criticized the municipality for not holding a proper hearing for the event organizers and for prohibiting the gender separation at the last minute.

In response to the claims made by the Israel Women's Network and other organizations that wished to join the discussion, the judge said, "Save your claims for more important cases. For this public, [the issue of gender separation] is the law, and you must respect that.”

Judge Vardi gave the municipality and the organizations that petitioned against the event ten minutes to decide whether they were retracting their opposition to the event. At the end of the ten minutes, the municipality announced that it was withdrawing its opposition.

Upon hearing the verdict in their favor, Chabad Hasidim present in the courtroom broke out in a chant of "Long live our master, our teacher, the king messiah forever.”

Judge Vardi did not appreciate the outburst, and told those chanting to quiet down. "I respect you - respect me, too," he said.

בנצי פרשימן ממארגני עצרת חב"ד בתל אביב