Having secular people on the buses is a problem

And then there is increasingly-Haredi Jerusalem.

Yoel Kreus…describes himself as a ‘shmira’, a Hebrew word that translates as ‘watcher of Israel’. ‘I make sure the rabbis’ decisions happen … I help you to be a moral person,’ he said…Signs warning women not to enter if they are wearing trousers, short sleeves or a skirt above the knees, hang in the neighbourhood. One is affixed outside Kreus’s two-room house…Extraordinarily, he admitted to slashing the tyres of women who have driven into the neighbourhood who, he said, were indecently dressed…’Now I’m trying new creative methods, not using violence. Now I make a small hole in their tyres and the air deflates slowly. I’m not destroying their car.’

He’s not destroying their car, he’s helping them to be a more moral person. Wearing trousers, of course, is self-evidently immoral.

He maintained that separation was necessary beyond the boundaries of the neighbourhood. ‘Having secular people on the buses is a problem. They go like animals, without clothes. Non-religious girls don’t dress properly. They encourage me to sin,’ he said…The transport ministry, which regulates and funds bus transport through private companies, has allowed operators to provide ‘kosher’ or ‘pure’ routes, where women are required to sit at the back and cannot board unless appropriately dressed. More than a dozen women have filed complaints after being verbally or physically attacked on the buses.

Just the other day we were arguing about how secular Israel is. More secular than Iran or Saudi Arabia, certainly, but not as secular as it could be. Not secular enough to prevent women being physically attacked on city buses because religious zealots don’t like the way they’re dressed. Not secular enough.

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