JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israel’s coastal strip has many separate beaches catering to the chareidi public, but the numerous springs at national parks have no such arrangements and many religious people cannot therefore bathe in these springs during the summer months.
Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni seeks to legislate separate hours at some of the springs in the country being supervised by the Parks Authority. Gafni said that the authority should allocate times for separate bathing for men and women at these parks, with a minimum of 15% of the time available for bathing allocated for separate swimming.
The bill stated that “there is at least 20% of Israel’s population who for religious reasons are prevented from bathing in places where there are no separate hours for men and women. Thus, this segment of the population cannot visit and use nature sites with bathing facilities as they have no separate hours and this creates a discrimination from other citizens.
“The discrimination is more severe since these sites belong to the state and it is effectively the state which prevents segments of the public from benefiting from natural resources which belong to everyone. It is therefore proposed to legislate that every bathing site supervised by the Parks Authority should have separate bathing hours.”
The Movement For A Jewish And Democratic State stated that this legislation is not necessary as Environment Minister Idit Silman can use her authority and establish guidelines for separate bathing. The movement expressed its hope that Silman would make such guidelines for those who wish to bathe modestly- Jews and non-Jews, and would not cave in to pressure from liberal organizations.