Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni ordered her ministry on Thursday to draft legislation that would make the gender-based segregation of women illegal.
“Discrimination against women in public places, in public services, cannot be allowed,” she said in a radio interview.
She wrote on her Facebook page, “Removal of women from the public sphere is damaging not only to their dignity, but also to a society that aspires to equality, and it has no religious or moral justification.
A day earlier, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein advised government ministers against the exclusion of women in the public sphere. The advisory is not binding, but is part of a process in Israel of restoring gender equality after years of tension over the public role and treatment of women.
Issues that have been raised in recent years include women being forced to sit at the back of the bus on lines frequented by Haredi Jews and to wear modest dress in and around Haredi neighborhoods.