The petitioners sued the defendants for operating “mehadrin” bus lines for orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews. Petitioners argue that these bus lines discriminate based on gender by allowing men to board and sit in the front of the bus while requiring that women board by the rear door, sit in the back, and dress modestly. Petitioners claim these restrictions violate their fundamental and constitutional rights to equality, dignity, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience. Petitioners refused to comply with the gender restrictions, which respondents claimed were not compulsory but voluntary and thus legal. Petitioners, however, countered that the gender separation on mehadrin lines is not voluntary and that they were subjected to verbal harassment, threatened with physical violence, humiliated, and forced to leave the bus when they declined to observe the gender separation. After the respondents agreed to an examination of public transportation arrangements on lines serving the ultra-orthodox sector by an independent committee and the committee delivered its analysis, the Court ordered respondent 1 to instruct respondent 2 to publicize the cancellation of the separation arrangements (within 10 days of the date on which the judgment was rendered), and ordered respondent 2 to carry out its instructions within 30 days of the judgment. Within that period of time, respondents 2 and 3 were to post signs regarding the cancellation in all buses formerly subject to “mehadrin” arrangements, without exception.
Ragen, et al. v. Ministry of Transport, et al.