No shelter for you

Golly, now there’s a new twist on dear old gender segregation – in Israel, a “men only” bomb shelter.

While people all around Israel have spent the past two weeks scrambling for cover during rocket attacks, it seems that in some places, only men’s lives are considered worth protecting. In the Ashdod rabbinate building, the bomb shelter has a sign on it reading “For men only,” and women who happened to be in the rabbinate during recent raids were not allowed into the bomb shelter.

Thus reports MK Stav Shaffir, whose staffer happened to be at the rabbinate this week when all this was taking place.

Orit, an Ashdod resident who was also in the rabbinate this week with her husband, told Yediot Ahronot about the “insult of trying to impose gender segregation on us even at times like this,” and her shocked discovery that the “women’s” shelter was just a regular room, with windows and plaster walls and no indications of protection from rocket attacks. Her husband added that gender segregation has reached “insane proportions, and are now at the point of risking women’s lives. The rabbinate is basically saying that it’s important to them to save men’s lives, but women can die or pray or hope for a miracle. It’s just unbelievable”.

MK Stav Shaffir complained to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which said no no that’s all wrong, that was a loose cannon who made a mistake.

“It was a local initiative of an employee acting without formal authority,” they responded. “The rabbinical court views such attempts at gender segregation in a very severe light and will take serious actions against those involved.”

I suppose the rabbinic court’s attempt to distance itself from this series of events is a good thing. After all, that means that there exist some voices of reason and sanity even within the growing gender-extremism in the religious Jewish world. On the other hand, the fact that someone somewhere thought that it was okay and normal to put a “Men Only” sign on a bomb shelter is in an indication of deeply entrenched misogyny. It seems like it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction for some people to simply create “Men Only” spaces, as if this is natural and normal and perhaps even expected, to such an extent that no consideration is given whatsoever to real lives of women, to the actual consequences and implications of not allowing certain people into safety.

Well that’s misogyny for you. It’s dangerous to women. I keep saying that.


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    So the sign was the misguided and wrongheaded initiative of a single employee.

    Then who was enforcing it, pray tell?

    I guess it’s like some numbnut putting up a “Whites Only” sign over a drinking fountain – only becomes a REAL problem when 1) everybody else leaves it up, and 2) others start enforcing it, right? Yet apparently that’s exactly what was happening in the rabbinate. So that “Just some guy fooling around” deflection doesn’t fly.

    It’s like in an old movie – “Women and children first!” – only backward!! “Get out of those lifeboats! You’re taking up seats needed by men!”

  2. says

    Any word on how well those bomb shelters were made, the “men only” versus the “women only”?

    Anyone who calls others “second class humans” is capable of seeing “them” as worth second class construction.

  3. busterggi says

    And Israel is still presented by its admirers as the ‘advanced secular’ Abrahamic kool-aid.

  4. soogeeoh says

    There is a book that is often read in schools in Germany. The protagonist, a Jewish kid, gets denied entry … to a bomb shelter and dies during a raid

    The title of that book is translated as “back then it was Friedrich”

    This is too depressing 🙁

  5. Abdul Alhazred says

    In fact it’s even nastier than you think.

    It’s all about menstrual taboos. What if any of those women are menstruating?

    Key word: “Niddah”.

  6. AnotherAnonymouse says

    And why does this surprise anyone? In Israel, little girls are spit on and called names for walking to school. Old women are beaten up and thrown off the bus for not cowering in the back when there are men present. If a man appears on a sidewalk, the women are expected to scurry away to the other side.

  7. soogeeoh says

    And why does this surprise anyone?

    I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this question in all its incarnations … is there a game of “be surprised, you lose” going on?

    There’s also whiff of smugness

    That’s how it feels

  8. AnotherAnonymouse says

    Soogeeoh; from it’s inception, Israel has been all about subjugating anyone around them. They’ve been stealing the land out from under the Palestinians since the 1940s, with the enthusiastic help of countries like the USA, who just can’t shovel money at them fast enough so the Rapture will happen. They’ve been abusing their own women and girls and it’s escalating. The question is an honest one, like saying how can you be surprised that water is wet, or the sun disappears at night? No games, unless you enjoy living in delusion and think all this is mind-shattering.

  9. susans says

    AnotherAnonymouse, if we can separate the risk of violence and discrimination against Israeli women and girls from the I/P conflict, perhaps you are not aware that the majority of Israeli Jews do not practice religious-based gender separation. While it is true that there have been incidents of assault and name calling against women and girls in Israel, that is not the norm and there is lots of push back. Women are in far greater danger in many other places.

  10. soogeeoh says

    That feels like sloppy critique now

    It went from individuals or subset to superset now

    The “connectors” for all kinds of … other bad things … are in place and wired up, plug in and press play (or it’s always on even) and things that should not be happening … are

  11. says

    What the fuck ever happened to “women and children first?” Even from a purely primitive, tribalistic, species-propagation perspective, this policy is just plain idiotic — if you’re trying to protect your race, you have to protect the women first, because their wombs are much less expendable than the men’s dicks.

    It was a local initiative of an employee acting without formal authority…

    So how did someone that stupid ever get hired in the first place? I thought the Israelis were supposed to be MORE competent at handling terrorist threats than we are.

  12. Varid says

    There’s a great post on Pharyngula about Israel, and how their society is moving ever-more fundamentalist, with ever-more restrictions against women. Recently even the pro-Israel American MSM ran the story of the brutal attacks on women who dared to pray at the wall.

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