City Reverses Decision; Will Fund Separate-Seating Event

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the new "Arena" stadium, in Jerusalem on September 8, 2014. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ëãåøñì ñôåøè äôåòì éøåùìéí àøðä àéöèãéåï
View of the Arena stadium in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Yerushalayim municipality has reversed its decision and will provide funding for an event for religious university students out of the budget for cultural events for students. The city had previously refused to fund the event because it will provide separate seating for men and women.

The event is set to take place on June 5, which is National Students Day. The event includes a concert. 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.

The change came after United Torah Judaism city council member Rabbi Eliezer Rauchberger appealed to city’s attorney Eli Malka, informing him of the unfair discrimination against religious individuals. Rabbi Rauchberger said that as at least half of the city’s population was religious or chareidi, it was unthinkable that culture event money would be denied to such a large group. Malka said that upon careful consideration it is unlikely that funding separate-seating events is illegal, so he was removing the requirement from the city’s books.

Organizers of the event said that there were 9,000 religious students out of a total of 40,000 in Yerushalayim, and that the event was to cost NIS 500,000. 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.