The sense of entitlement to special treatment that the highly religious have is a worldwide phenomenon. In Israel, ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men are used to being given preferential treatment is many areas of life and have demanded that they should never have to sit next to women on planes because, well … who the hell knows, it is apparently somewhere in the 2,000-year old religious texts they study all the time and we know what a stickler their god is for following all the rules.
The Israeli national airline El Al would, in case of such a conflict where a Haredi man complained about being assigned a seat next to a woman, ask the woman to move. Frequently other passengers would try to pressure women to comply. This infuriated an 82-year old woman who, with the aid of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), sued the airline and won, with the court ruling that “under absolutely no circumstances can a crew member ask a passenger to move from their designated seat because the adjacent passenger doesn’t want to sit next to them due to their gender”.
But apparently this kind of thing continues to happen because women are not aware that they have the right to refuse. In order to create more awareness people of women’s right to refuse to move, IRAC tried to place ads that said “Ladies, please take your seat … and keep it!” in Israel’s airports but the authorities refused to allow the ads because “we steer clear of any advertising that is political or divisive”.
So IRAC has put out a video ad that, while humorous, makes a serious point.
UPDATE: It is, of course, not only religious groups that have ridiculous rules about where women are allowed to be. Sumo wrestling seems to be similarly afflicted.