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Israeli women protest discrimination

Dec. 23, 2011 at 8:14 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Hundreds of women protested in Tel Aviv Friday against the insistence by some Israeli citizens on banning women from working public jobs, a demonstrator said.

Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party participated in the demonstration along with Labor Chairwoman, Shelly Yacimovich, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat. They were joined by dozens of journalists, businesswomen and members of the academia, Ynetnews.com reported.

"The fight against women's exclusion is a fight for Israel's future and it must grow stronger and louder," Livni said. "The situation is deteriorating rapidly and it's up to us to stop it."

Ultra-Orthodox men -- haredi -- have insisted in a string of several incidents that women must sit in the back of Israeli buses to separate themselves from men, the Web site said.

Many haredi are demanding women be banned from public life but Israel's Labor chairwoman says the country's women -- all of whom are required to perform military service -- will not be pushed around.

"We've crossed a line when it comes to women's exclusion ... . This is a fight for the nature of Israeli democracy," Yacimovich said. "We are the warriors here and we will lead this fight. We won't allow for women to be pushed to the back -- not on buses, not in the workplace and not in society. We are equals.

"The Torah elevates women. It holds women in the highest esteem … . This isn't about which door we board the bus from," demonstrator Adina Bar Shalom said. "It's about women's honor. Women are powerful, if it wasn't for us, men couldn't afford to study the Torah."

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