“There will be no segregation of women in any city in Israel.” So said the Israeli Supreme Court during Monday’s hearing on modesty signs in Bet Shemesh.
Monday was a big day in court for IRAC and the women of Bet Shemesh, and all women in Israel. The three-judge panel ruled that ALL modesty in Bet Shemesh must be removed by December 18. In addition to their removal, the Court ruled that there will be an increased police presence in the area to ensure that the signs are removed and stay down.
This ruling was the momentous conclusion to five years of fighting for the rights of the women of Bet Shemesh. We have been representing this brave group of Orthodox women against the Bet Shemesh Municipality for five long years of back and forth to court about the removal of these signs which put these women in danger. During our last hearing, the municipality claimed that it was too dangerous for them to remove the signs, but these women were in constant danger. This ruling will change their lives.
In the words of our own Orly Erez Likhovski, director of our legal department, this “decision will be precedent-setting. It sends a clear message to the radicals that things are going to change, that women’s rights to walk freely in the public sphere will be protected and that the rule of law applies in Bet Shemesh as anywhere else.”
This is a major victory, but the battle is not over. We continue to fight for the rights of women throughout Israel to ensure that this ruling is applied not only in Bet Shemesh, but in all cities and towns in Israel. As the Court said – “there will be no exclusion of women in any city in Israel.”
As we approach the end of the year please support our struggle towards equality and pluralism in Israel.