After extensive deliberation by the Knesset, we’re relieved to see that they have stricken one of the most problematic sections of the bill! Gone is the extremely dangerous language in paragraph 7a regarding “conserving tradition”—a clause that would have legalized discrimination against minorities, women and marginalized groups in the name of “multiculturalism”.
This section would have given any citizen free reign to behave in any way he/she desired—including violating the civil liberties of other citizens—as long as it “served to conserve his culture, education, heritage, language or identity.” Want to force women to sit at the back of the bus on “mehadrin” lines? Want to maintain segregated public sidewalks? Want to bar women from your political parties? Want to refuse women service or employment at your business? According to the bill, that would have been your religious and cultural right. In a country where the Basic Laws do not enshrine the right of gender equality, this is a dangerous move.
CWJ applauds this positive development and and hopes that similar progress will be made regarding other discriminatory sections of the bill.