Yerushalayim Council Won’t Fund Gender-Separate Event for Religious Students, Organizers Say

A view of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus in Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A view of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus in Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The city of Yerushalayim is refusing to fund an event for religious university students out of the budget for cultural events for students – because the event will be separate for males and females. Students have hired an attorney to ask the court to demand funding the event.

The event is set to take place on June 5, which is National Students Day. The event includes a concert with religious entertainers. It is set to take place at the Teddy Stadium in Yerushalayim. It marks the first time religious students are holding a separate-gender event.

But the city, which controls the NIS 8 million budget for cultural events, is refusing to fund it because it is a gender-separate event. According to the city, it is not permitted to fund events that do not allow equal access to all participants, and that includes events with separate seating for men and women – even if the participants in the event volunteer to sit separately. “After examining your request, it appears that the city and all state institutions would not be allowed to fund this event,” its organizers were told by the city.

Organizers of the event said that there were 9,000 religious students out of a total of 40,000 in Jerusalem, and that the event was to cost NIS 500,000 – meaning that religious students were being discriminated against in distribution of the funds, as their event, even if it were to be funded, would receive less in proportion to their numbers than other groups. Via an attorney, the students on Monday night filed a lawsuit demanding that the city recognize their specific needs and fund their program. The city said that it will respond to the lawsuit in court.

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