Female Segregation for Religious Justifications: The Unfortunate Israeli Case

Droit et Religions, Vol. 4, pp. 441-459, 2009-2010

21 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2010

See all articles by Yossi Nehushtan

Yossi Nehushtan

Keele University - School of Law

Date Written: February 2, 2010

Abstract

This paper discusses two cases of segregation between men and women in Israel. In both cases, the segregation was based on religious justifications and in both cases the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) either enforced the segregation (the ‘Women of the Wall’ case) or expressed a principled willingness to do so in the future, subject to certain formal conditions (the ‘segregation in buses’ case).

It is argued that in both cases the HCJ’s decisions were misguided and that in both cases the HCJ gave priority to intolerant religious values over liberal, democratic ones. The purpose of this paper is not to discuss the practice of segregation as such, nor is it to discuss in full the rationales and practice of segregating between men and women for religious considerations. Rather, the purpose here is to describe two specific cases of religious segregation between men and women in Israel and to examine a few of the questions and difficulties which these cases give rise to. Naturally, most of these questions and difficulties are closely related to principled views and issues about the interaction between religion, human rights, and the democratic state. Consequently, the discussion bellow – while confined to the Israeli context – is grounded in principled arguments and based on theoretical frameworks highly relevant to any democratic state that struggles to address the interaction, and at times the conflict, between religion and human rights.

Keywords: Female Segregation, Religion and Human Rights, Equality, Tolerance

Suggested Citation

Nehushtan, Yossi, Female Segregation for Religious Justifications: The Unfortunate Israeli Case (February 2, 2010). Droit et Religions, Vol. 4, pp. 441-459, 2009-2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1546344

Yossi Nehushtan (Contact Author)

Keele University - School of Law ( email )

Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG
United Kingdom

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