No, Israel Isn’t Turning Into Iran
by P. David Hornik:
Gender segregation on Israeli buses has, of course, gotten attention from lofty places lately. Speaking to the Saban Center earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it and other Israeli phenomena reminded her of Iran. And last week in an already-notorious op-ed Thomas Friedman included segregated bus lines for the ultra-Orthodox community (to repeat, now outlawed) in a volley of jibes against Israel.
As the above story reveals—yes, there is a problem; and yes, it’s being addressed. It should also be seen in the right dimensions: only a small proportion of the public buses serve neighborhoods (mostly in Jerusalem) of the ultra-Orthodox, who account for 9 percent of the Jewish population. But, for some, catching a rumor somewhere (sex-segregated buses in Israel!) is enough to heap some more vilification on the much-criticized Jewish state.
And how did the problem come about? Does it really signal a deterioration of democracy, as Clinton complained? Or does it in fact reflect something quite different?
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