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Israel Orthodox parties demand gender segregation be legalised

Far right parties in Israel are using their strong election performance as leverage to influence policies in return for supporting Likud’s effort to form a coalition government. Politicians like Itamar Ben-Gvir want to legalise gender segregation, give politicians control over the police and stop compulsory military service for ultra-orthdox communities.

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli parties have demanded Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu agree to pass a law that would permit gender segregation at publicly funded events, Israel Hayom reported yesterday.

According to the paper, the far-right Religious Zionism and United Torah Judaism parties made the demand in return for joining Netanyahu's coalition government as negotiations renewed.

The legislation would stipulate that gender separation at public events will not be considered discrimination.

The paper said the parties' demand aims to prevent "legal persecution" by officials in the judicial system, feminist pressure groups and other organisations that oppose such a policy.

Israeli law currently prohibits gender segregation in public services and spaces, except in specific circumstances that meet a number of criteria.

Neither Netanyahu nor his Likud party have commented on the demand.

Last week, Israeli media outlets published details of a deal between Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir which provides for the legalisation of illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank within 60 days of the formation of a government, the amendment of the disengagement law from the Gaza Strip and legalising the Homesh settlement outpost in the north of the occupied West Bank to allow Jewish Yeshiva students to study there.

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