(Haaretz,Ynet). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out Monday against the recent attempts at excluding women from the public sphere on the part of the ultra-Orthodox, saying that “equality between men and women is absolute – that is how it has always been, and that is how it will continue.”
Netanyahu, who along with President Shimon Peres spoke at an award ceremony commemorating the fight against human trafficking, added that the exclusion of women is a “minor phenomenon” that contradicts Jewish traditions, yet exists among the ultra-Orthodox community
"There is no room for the exclusion of any person in the State of Israel – especially not of half of the population. The place of women in our society must be ensured".
"The exclusion of women is a marginal phenomenon that does not reflect the practice of the majority of the population, or the majority of the haredi population – but it does exist".
"I say this unequivocally: I staunchly object to the exclusion of women," Netanyahu asserted.
Peres also spoke adamantly against the phenomenon, saying: "Any type of discrimination is a grave mistake that must be amended as soon as possible. The issue of shunning women or prohibiting them from singing in public has gained attention recently. We must not turn our public domains into places that conflict with our core values," he said.
The president added that "no man has the right to force a woman to sit where he wants. As a Jew and as the president of the State of Israel I cannot disregard such a phenomenon."