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Chief Rabbi Denounces Gender Segregation

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said on Thursday that segregation between men and women should only be carried out in private, and not in public spaces.

In the wake of the public debate over the exclusion of women from the public arena that has been ragin in Israel in recent weeks, Metzger said in an interview on the radio station “Kol Hai” that those who wish to put up a Mechitza, a Halakhic partition used to divide men and women, “cannot demand that the general public do what you enforce upon yourself.”

Metzger said Israeli citizens from all sectors should aim for unity, and not for division.

“I call on all sides: Stop looking for justifications for hostility, and for enmity, and for division. We are not in a period of time where we can allow ourselves to argue. We are one nation, and we need to find an opening for respect, and a solution for everything.”

He also suggested that Israelis should avoid provocation, and “not be extremist,” saying that recent incidents that have spurred the public debate have been blown out of proportion.

Metzger also criticized the media for making the situation more extreme. “I think the media is exaggerating a little over the issue of the exclusion of women from the public arena,” he said.

“Things have hardly changed. They take extreme incidents and blow them up, and you always have to listen to both sides.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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