Bus (illustration)
Bus (illustration) iStock

A woman was harassed and forced to move to the back of a bus while traveling on public transportation in Beit Shemesh Thursday, Channel 2 News reported.

Hadas Sharabi got on a bus with her five-year-old niece. After she sat down in the front of the bus, one of the passengers began to scream at her and demand that she move to the back.

The driver, she claimed, "surrendered" to the irate passenger and asked her to get off and enter the bus again from the back entrance.

"I traveled this morning on line 16 operated by Beit Shemesh Express together with my five-year-old niece on the way to her kindergarten," Sharabi wrote in a post posted on a political Facebook page. "Next to the driver it was crowded, but there was a little room to stand. One of the men standing next to me started shouting 'get off', 'get in the back' - until the driver told me it was a 'mehadrin line.'"

She said she did not consider getting off the bus, but the same person kept shouting. "I realized I was surrounded only by men and I have no way of knowing if they also wanted me to get off, if they quietly agreed with the shouting man, or if they were violent," she recalled. "When we stopped at the station the driver told me I could get off and get on in the back, and that he would wait and not drive away until he saw I was on."

Sharabi explained why she complied with the demand: "While I was getting off - I was sorry I was getting off, and realized I was doing for two reasons: the first is that I was scared, the second is that I was with a five-year-old girl, and even if I was willing to risk paying the price, she should not pay a price and feel uncomfortable."

"What bothers me is the driver's surrender to this manifestation of violence, and the reason why he surrendered," she stressed. "The fact is that there is a place in the State of Israel where a man can force a woman to get off the front of the bus and get on in the back, and the driver of the bus company that operates a 'mehadrin line' cooperates with this violence, probably out of fear."

The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that segregation between men and women is illegal if it is carried out in a coercive manner.

Beit Shemesh Express responded to Channel 12 News: "By law you can sit where you want, we do not have such a rule. One of the passengers may have hung the sign - but this is not our policy."