Populism in Israel? Is that where we are going?

If the court's ban on separate gender seating for state-supported events continues, we may see people marching in the streets.

Leonie Ben-Simon, | updated: 00:38

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Imagine populism hitting Israel with a million people marching in protest as they are doing in Hong Kong with the authorities unable to contain them.  Populism is a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.

We are on the cusp of seeing this with judicial attitudes that provoke large groups of Israelis. Israel is known to be a law-abiding country, a country where legal decisions rule.  But recently a red line has been crossed as municipal funding is targeted in the name of promoting a specific group's definition of equality. The Israel Womens Network, for example, successfully petitioned the Haifa Court to cancel a mens-only performance claiming a men's only performance negates equal rights. The Supreme Court did much the same a couple of weeks ago with a performance that had separate seating for men and women.. 

They ignored the fact that the population involved, both men and women, did not want mixed gender seating.

Will the people accept the concept of that extreme definition of equal rights for state-funded institutions or public events supported by municipal funds? The leap from banning such concerts to total bans is now on the table. 

Is the push for what the radical feminist Women's Network defines as equal rights for all women beginning to encroach on our lifestyles?  Let us start with synagogues and mosques: they have separate seating for men and women.  Then there are the yeshivot for men only, and michlalot (seminaries) for women. We have separate swimming beaches and separate hours in pools where the population demands it.   Further on we have the issue of restrooms. Why is there a labelled division here? Perhaps this is not equality.  Should each gender should be free to use all restrooms? This has actually happened in some countries – unisex facilities.   

Could the authorities implement such court decisions?  I doubt it. The twenty percent of Arabs combined with the huge number of religious and traditional Jews will not accept that kind of concept of equality, leaving such court decisions unenforceable.    

Populism has been the backlash in other countries. Attempts to change the nature of the Jewish State will fail and will be counter-productive.  It would not be a pretty sight to see a million people marching in the streets finding such court decisions unpalatable, demanding the demise of the court system. 

Hopefully the people will make their feelings known loudly at the ballot box in the coming elections instead. 




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