Move over, Western Wall. The primary battleground in Israel’s religious gender segregation wars is a bridge to the popular pilgrimage site during this week’s Lag Ba’omer holiday.
Following pressure from a women’s advocacy group, the Religious Services Ministry has declared that a publicly funded bridge to the site of a rabbi’s tomb, near the town of Meron, must stop being reserved exclusively for men. […]
Susan Weiss, director of the Center for Women’s Justice, told Haaretz that her group has been lobbying the ministry for several years to end the exclusion of women on the structure, which she said was funded with government money and was, therefore, in the public sphere.
“For the past four years we have asked them to make sure the bridge is open also for women,” she said, adding, “We are a democratic country that uses its funds to protect all its citizens and refuses to discriminate against and exclude women.”
A letter sent by the Religious Services Ministry’s legal adviser, attorney Israel Patt, to the office of religious services declared that “there isn’t and will not be any impediment to the use of” the Mehadrin Bridge by women.