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Thursday, October 31, 2013 

Publicly owned religious library in Haredi neighborhood bars women from using it

A case of tax-funded locales being abused:
A religious library in Jerusalem has been preventing women from using its services, a recent report by Jerusalem City Comptroller Malka Dror has found.

The report, issued Wednesday, found that the library, which is located in an area that has become ultra-Orthodox over the past few years, has been divided into two segments and that one of them has been turned into a synagogue that operates throughout the day. The building has only one entrance, and since the library does not offer special hours during which women can use it – as customary in other religious libraries in the city – women have been effectively barred from the facility.

Dror's report states that, "operating a public library that offers its services only to men constitutes an infringement on the principle of gender equality and may have a detrimental effect on the municipality's image. A legal opinion obtained on the matter states that having a public library service only men constitutes discrimination and is illegal."

[...] "City officials have already instructed the institution in question to define hours when women can use its services, and are enforcing this directive." The statement stressed that the municipality is currently exploring the possibility of moving the library to a new location.
The most important thing here is not to allow the managers inside to impose such offensive dictates. So long as it's public-owned, they should practically replace all staff who go by this insulting approach.

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