British Greens tend only to pay attention to the Jewish-Palestinian fault-lines in Israeli society. But of course like any society – and particularly in the Middle East with its many different communities – there are others. The New York Times has a piece on Jerusalem’s Sabbath Wars between the secular and militantly orthodox (sexually segregating, sabbath enforcing) Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem.
“In a modest counterstrike on a recent weekday morning, eight non-Orthodox Jewish activists — six women and two men — got on a No. 40 bus heading from the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot D into town. The women sat down in the front rows. The men went to the back.
Ramot D is an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood where rigid religious rules are applied. The No. 40 is one of several public bus lines designated as “mehadrin,” or strictly kosher, where the men sit in the front and the women behind. The activists view this draconian interpretation of the modesty code practiced by Orthodox Jews as discriminatory, and the policy is being appealed in Israel’s Supreme Court.
Stern black-coated male passengers muttered their disapproval, but the Rosa Parks-inspired act of civil disobedience took place peacefully, largely because the bus driver, an Arab, decided not to try to enforce the rules.”