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Netanyahu, Peres deplore gender segregation

JTA

December 12, 2011 | 3:18 pm

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Dec. 5. Photo by Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Dec. 5. Photo by Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Israel’s prime minister and president came out against efforts by some haredi Orthodox Jews to segregate women in public.

Civil liberties groups have complained about gender segregation in buses and public places frequented by haredim, and the shunning by some religious soldiers of female entertainment troupes in the conscript military.

Speaking Monday at a conference on human trafficking, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The place of women in public spaces must be ensured and equal.

“The segregation of women clashes not just with the democratic principles that we know and cherish. It also clashes with Jewish tradition,” he said.

At the same event, President Shimon Peres said that men should be free to avoid the company of women to whom they are not related, “But no man has the right to force a woman to sit in a place that he decides on.”

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