Tanya Rosenblit

Via the New Zealand Herald:

She had no intention of emulating Rosa Parks when she set out to find a bus to Jerusalem on Friday but by yesterday Tanya Rosenblit had become a defiant symbol around whom a majority of Israel’s population was rallying, including Cabinet ministers. Rosenblit, who lives in the port city of Ashdod, boarded a bus that serves mainly the black-clad haredi, or ultra-orthodox, Jewish community, which constitutes about 8 per cent of Israel’s population.

The haredim had attempted to impose gender separation on buses connecting their communities in different cities. The Supreme Court termed this illegal but the authorities agreed to let the practice continue as long as it was on a voluntary basis and was confined to selected routes serving an almost exclusively haredi population. The bus driver Rosenblit hailed explained that secular women don’t usually travel on this line. The 28-year-old journalist nevertheless mounted the bus and sat behind the driver.
Haredi men looked at her askance but made no protest. On the second stop a haredi man boarding stopped inside the door and asked if she would move to the back. “No, I won’t,” she said.

After a brief exchange, she put on earphones and listened to music. At one point, when the man shouted at her, she took off the earphones and stated her case.

“There’s no cause for behaving this way to anyone, certainly not women. I made no provocation. I bought a ticket like you did. You won’t tell me where to sit only because I’m a woman. I’ll sit where I please.”

She held her ground despite an angry crowd of haredi men that had formed outside. The man continued to block the door and said he would do so until the woman moved. After half an hour, the driver called the police. The policeman attempted first to persuade the man to desist, then asked Rosenblit if she would mind, out of respect for their ways, moving to the back. She refused.

Good for her.

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