JERUSALEM (VINnews) — A young Jerusalem singer is suing the Jerusalem Municipality in the magistrates court after it refused to support a performance she was giving since it is reserved for women alone and allegedly discriminates against men. The singer claims that forcing her to sing in front of men discriminates against her.
Nirit Hotoveli(29) answered a request by the municipality which invited young artists to perform in private homes and present their repertoires to new audiences with municipal backing. The terms of the initiative stated that “there will be no religious, gender or sectorial discrimination at the events or in the content of the events.”
Hotoveli requested that she be allowed to participate in the initiative but to sing only to women. The municipality replied that according to the regulations, events cannot take place for only one gender and therefore “you will not be able to participate in the project due to your specific requirements.”
Despite Hotoveli’s protest that her performance for women would not harm anyone’s feelings, the municipality maintained its stance and therefore Hotoveli and her lawyer Tzofnat Nordman submitted a claim for 50,000 NIS compensation due to the wrongful discrimination.
The claim stated that “there is no legal source for prohibiting a female singer to appear in front of women. According to the municipality’s view, for a woman to sing and maintain her profession, she is required to sing for males against her will. This view is incomprehensible. Forcing a person to provide a personal service, especially forcing a woman to provide a service like singing to men – and if not, not to sing at all – is a view which belongs to other periods and other regimes and which undermines the foundations of our legal system.
Nordman added that the corollary of the municipality’s approach is that religious female singers who maintain halacha cannot participate in the project, which is a clearcut religious discrimination.
“The claim that gender separation causes discrimination is fictitious. No man has ever stood up and complained that he is not allowed to hear Nirit or other religious female singers,” Nordman added.
The municipality responded that “the general directive is that every request to hold a separate event must be legally checked and receive authorization. In the wake of the claim of alleged discrimination, the body which initiated the project has been directed to freeze it and investigate the claims which were raised. The singer was informed that she can submit a request to the project and it will be appraised in accordance with the parameters of the law and the rules of the enterprise. The city will submit its response to the suit in court.”