Israeli Women Fight Bus Segregation

    Some 250 women march on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard on December 28, 2011 in demonstration against the exclusion of women in the public sphere. The women chanted "This isn't Iran" and "We won't stop singing," and held signs reading, "Exclusion of women = humiliation of women" , ''We are not in Iran'', '' Women sitting in the front of a bus''.  AFP PHOTO/JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

    Jack Guez, AFP / Getty Images

    The confrontation between Orthodox Jews in Israel and more secular citizens is taking on shades of the American civil-rights movement. Women are making a point of sitting at the front of buses in protest of pressure by Orthodox Jews to segregate public transportation. A court ruled a year ago that forced segregation on buses was illegal, but that such an arrangement could be operated for a year on a voluntary basis. However, tensions have increased as Orthodox Jews have outgrown their traditionally insular communities and the number of segregated bus lines has grown. The issue has become a flashpoint in Israel, with repeated protests and counterprotests over segregation, and clashes in Jerusalem last week.

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