Police arrest man who ordered woman to back of bus

Ultra-Orthodox passenger harassed 22-year-old journeying from Safed to Ashdod

An Egged bus (Abir Sultan/Flash90)
An Egged bus (Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Police on Sunday arrested a man suspected of ordering a woman to the back of a bus, on Friday. The woman was reportedly harassed by other passengers on the bus when she refused to move.

The incident took place when two ultra-Orthodox men ordered 22-year-old Noa Kentman to move to the back of a public bus — which was traveling from Safed to Ashdod — because of her gender. The woman filed a report with the police, resulting in the arrest of the suspect.

“It’s time the law defined the segregation of women as a crime,” newly elected MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) said in a statement Sunday. “The segregation of women is a phenomenon endangering the future of Israeli society. It is the state’s responsibility to stop this phenomenon from growing,” she wrote.

Kentman sat at the front of the intercity coach when a couple of ultra-Orthodox men demanded that she immediately remove herself to the rear of the vehicle.

When she refused, the men shouted she was “impure,” and began reciting prayers and screaming at her.

One of the ultra-Orthodox men then sat on the front steps of the bus near the driver to deliberately sit in front of her. The woman’s younger sister called the police, who sent squad cars to intercept the bus at the entrance of the destination city.

Policemen boarded the bus and questioned one of the men who had yelled at the woman. The woman told the police that she felt threatened and unsafe because of the men’s behavior.

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled in the past that enforced gender segregation on public buses is illegal.

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