MK Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home) sent a harsh letter today following Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s decision to prevent a Chabad event due to gender segregation in the crowd.
“The haredi and religious residents of Tel Aviv are forced to exclude themselves from various events in the public domain initiated by the municipality or funded by them, because they don’t accord with their religious worldview,” said Mualem at the beginning of the letter.
“This coming Monday, there is supposed to take place an event called Moshiach in the Square in Rabin Square, produced and organized by Chabad Chassidim, but according to letters I received and reports in the media, its existence is in question because you are opposed to allowing it to be held in a manner consistent with the religious worldview of the organizers and the public expected to participate in it.
“It seems when there’s an initiative from the grassroots to hold an event intended for this public, which in any case is discriminated against by the municipality under your leadership, a decision is made to cancel it,” the Knesset member claimed.
“As a Knesset member who works hard for women and to strengthen the power of women at the crossroads of decision-making in Israeli society, I can’t be suspected of supporting women’s exclusion,” said Mualem. “Hence, the decision not to hold the Chabad event in a manner consistent with its values smells of discrimination based on division and fear of Judaism and harediphobia, a bad stench of discrimination that stems from condescension and elitism.
“Exclusion of segments of Israeli society from their ability to conduct events in the public sphere of Tel Aviv is inconsistent with the values of acceptance of the other, equality, and pluralism with which the city of Tel Aviv prides itself. I see no reason in principle to harass Chabad, a movement that is highly respected by the Israeli public, partly because of its activity on behalf of Israelis and Jews around the world. I ask you to reconsider your decision and allow the event to take place in a manner consistent with the worldview of the public that is supposed to participate in it,” Mualem signed the letter.