Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has established temporary guidelines to determine how local authorities should handle the issue of gender separation at public events, in the wake of the brouhaha raised by the Israel Women’s Lobby over separate seating at a concert planned for a Family Day event held for Orthodox residents in the town of Afula.

The group then attempted to disrupt similar events in at least two other northern Israeli localities.

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Mandelblit held a hearing on gender separation at cultural events in local councils following the furor, during which he said a local council must consider whether voluntary segregation can be carried out at any planned event, given the characteristics of the local population, prior to holding any event with separate seating to accommodate the needs of the local Orthodox population.

“It is understandable that this option is preferred over planned separation,” Mandelblit said, adding, “The criteria listed in the summary of the hearing are guidelines to assist the local authorities who are thinking about carrying out events for a sector interested in gender separation.

“This is, as I have stated, an intermediate position that is valid a fundamental and comprehensive legal hearing can be held on the matter.

Given the complexity and sensitivity of the issues arising in this context, a decision to hold an event with separate seating should be made by a senior municipal councilor after the legal advisor of the municipality has expressed his opinion on the considerations set forth above,” he said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.