The Yeshiva World has an interesting piece on the latest push for mehadrin buses in Israel. Much to my shock, the piece was describing opponents of Taliban-styled buses in a positive light:
Tzipi Hotovely, who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, is working against the mehadrin lines in Jerusalem. Ms. Avital Feldman, who is a leader in the battle against mehadrin lines, states the response supporting their opposition is encouraging. She explains there are a growing number of complaints from women who have fallen victim to abuse on buses on which passengers demand they sit in the rear.
Hundreds of supporters, opponents of the mehadrin lines, are expected to take part in a kenos in Hebrew University in Yerushalayim on Monday. Feldman other anti-mehadrin activists organized the event. A panel will address attendees. Panel members include former High Court Justice Dalia Dorner, Jerusalem Councilwoman Rachel Azariya, feminist Dr. Orit Kamir and Prof. Alon Harel, a member of the law faculty.
Organizers are however disappointed that Transportation Minister (Likud) Yisrael Katz has declined an invitation. They explain his office released a laconic explanation, that he receives too many invitations to attend all the functions.
Like much else that has come out of the Chareidi community lately, mehadrin buses are a useless distraction from the bigger social/religious problems they have to deal with. Even the term mehadrin bus is a misnomer. In an area such as kashrus where competing stringencies and leniencies abound, one can use the term mehadrin but in an area like seating on bus where there are no rules in the first place, it's irrelevant. A married couple sitting together on a public bus is not somehow less stringent about the laws of gender interaction than a couple that chooses to sit separately. A bus is not a shul, after all.
Last year, the purifiers in our community chose to take aim at those of us that use Pesach hotels to escape for the holidays. We were told that they were the biggest threat to Judaism today! (A guest to our community a couple of weeks later told me that the biggest threat to Judaism today are the rabbonim who think that Pesach hotels are the biggest threat to Judaism today) Now we are told that not only is separate seating on buses an indicator of higher religious commitment but that women who refuse to see things this way are legitimate targets of abuse.
I would like to see the Chareidi leadership deal with rampant pedophilia in their yeshivos, their poor educational standards and their rampant poverty-by-choice problem before deciding that Am Yisrael is ready to stand on the sacred heights that separate seated buses afford us.