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Tuesday, January 06, 2015 

A conservative actually thinks Haredi customs are throughly legitimate?

It's very sad to see a woman, of all people, on The American Thinker's site going along and legitimizing discrimination by Haredis against female passengers, insisting they yield the seats they paid for on airplanes. At the start, she says:
In Orthodox Judaism, a man having physical contact with a woman who is not a close relative or a spouse is expressly forbidden. In a case of cultural diversity run amok, a Delta Airlines flight from New York’s JFK Airport was delayed when ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewish men refused to sit in assigned seats because if they agreed to do so they would be sandwiched between two females.
First, she blurs the differences between non-Haredi Orthodox and Haredis - the former does not practice the frustrating notions practiced by the latter. But even if they did, would that be justified? Of course not! Then, a few paragraphs down, she says:
Following the flight, Sharon Shapiro from Chicago started a petition to prevent ultra-Orthodox passengers from “bullying, intimidating and discriminating against women.” Sorry, but that was highly insensitive of Ms. Shapiro. One would think that a Jewish woman from Chicago would take Barack Obama’s advice and show more sensitivity toward people who act and “look different than we do.”
What?!? Is she really an Obama supporter? Or is she implying that Shapiro is literally a leftist, or that her concerns have no validity in any way? Shame on this idiotic woman for obscuring the issues at hand and not realizing that what the Haredis were doing was wrong. I suppose she also thinks it's perfectly okay for Haredis to exploit welfare at wider society's expense while not working to support themselves, and that they should refuse to serve in the army? Does she also think it's okay for them to yell "shiksa" at non-Haredi women they despise and spit at them, or worst, to throw rocks?

Let me be crystal clear. My mother is right-wing and if any Haredi dared to hound her about giving up a seat she paid for on an airplane, she would be very disgusted, and her anguish would be fully justified. In fact, what if the Haredis caused a delay for passengers who needed to make a transfer at another airport, and they missed the connecting flight? Would the apologist really want that to happen?
Granted, it may seem like the Haredi men unnecessarily subjected airline passengers to a brand of pious orthodoxy that doesn’t belong on a commercial airplane. Nonetheless, the female gender-equality advocates who were offended by being asked to switch seats probably consider themselves tolerant supporters of religious and cultural diversity.
I'm sorry, but they did subject the passengers to a serious inconvenience, and how does she know any of the passengers were genuine leftists? Again, my mother is rightist and she would not like it if this happened to her.

The most stupefying thing here is that she goes on to imply it's okay for Saudi Arabia to segregate sexes on their airlines!
Matters are far simpler when the niceties of democratic civil society can be disposed of. Saudia Airlines, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, has encountered its own complaints about the mixing of the sexes, albeit with a different concern. [...]

Still, it is far easier for Saudia to segregate passengers by sex than it would be for either of the two US carriers, Delta and American, serving Israel, even if they wanted to. It is almost certainly illegal under US law.
And what does that mean? That US law is wrong? That public outfits must all conform to being houses of prayer worship? Let's be clear. No matter what we think of certain religious customs, that is no defense for imposing them on perfect strangers who may not be used to moving out of seats they've paid for with their hard earned money. Did it even occur to the woman writing this stupid piece that the women who were asked to move may be familiar with other cases of this sort and didn't want to be subject to the same problem? And why must they? Furthermore, the Haredis have to bear in mind that they cannot expect an airline to tailor their arrangements exactly the way they want, definitely not if they never asked them to. And if they're going to persist like this, then they should be arrested for antagonizing the passengers. In a modern world, you don't act backwards, because it gives a very poor image to Judaism.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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