The Jerusalem Magistrates Court has approved a settlement in which Israel Railways and Danel, which provides the guards for the trains, will pay NIS 16,000 compensation to Maya Melitz. She was sitting in a car on her way to work in 2018 and was told by the security guard, in contravention of the law, to change cars after a congregation of men began their morning (Shacharit) prayers.
Both parties agreed that, "without admitting the allegations of the sides," Melitz would receive the compensation, and all Israel Railways employees and service providers will receive explicit instructions that they have no right in law to instruct passengers to change their seats, even if prayers are taking place in a carriage.
Melitz said, "I am happy and proud to protest against the exclusion of women. I hope that from today, going forward, all women can sit in any place that they want without any fears."
Adv. Miri Nachias of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) of the Reform Movement and Israel Women's Network (IWN) legal department director Adv. Gali Zinger represented Melitz and said, "This important and significant ruling that was handed down today is another step in the uncompromising campaign by IRAC and IWN against the exclusion of women."
They added, "The ruling establishes what ought to be clear in our society, that railway employees may not instruct or even ask women to move because their presence bothers some man, even when male passengers choose to pray in the carriage. It is painful that we are still forced to fight over this in the courts, and we are happy that the court has made clear what a railway guard should understand for himself. The presence of women does not 'harm modesty.' Our presence is part of the public space, and we shall not be moved."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 13, 2022.
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