'Orthodox now control Jerusalem'

By Simon Griver, October 19, 2011

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has fired a city council member for petitioning Israel's High Court of Justice against gender segregation in the Mea Shearim area of the city and winning a ruling prohibiting the practice.

On Sunday, the court ruled against the gender segregation of pavements and streets in the heavily Orthodox Mea Shearim.

High Court president Dorit Beinisch expressed astonishment that the police and municipality had ignored the court's ruling last year and had again permitted gender segregation for Succot celebrations this year. However, the judges did not order the police to dismantle the separation of the pavement until after Succot.

On Monday, Mr Barkat fired council member Rachel Azaria from the ruling coalition and relieved her of the early childhood affairs and community councils portfolio. He said that council members are not allowed to appeal to the courts against the municipality.

Ms Azaria said: "The High Court clearly ruled that gender segregation in public places is illegal and immoral. I fear that my portfolios will now be given to strictly Orthodox parties in the municipal coalition and that it is the strictly-Orthodox who are running the city."

Last updated: 11:00am, October 19 2011