Gender-Segregated Swimming in Springs

The minister announced separate swimming in springs. So, what is delaying it?

Minister Idit Silman announced the opening of a pilot that will begin next week in which there will be gender-segregated swimming hours in two springs. The Nature and Parks Authority clarifies: awaiting approval from the Ministry of Justice

(Photo: Haim Goldberg/Flash90)

After previous attempts failed, next week a new pilot will begin at the initiative of the Minister for Environmental Protection, Idit Silman, for gender-segregated bathing in the summer months.

The pilot will initially operate at the "Einot Tsukim" Nature Reserve near the Dead Sea and "Ein Haniya" in the Judean Desert. As part of the pilot, there will be gender-segregated bathing hours at these sites, but they will only operate on certain days of the week and only after the regular operating hours of the springs, during which bathing will take place as usual without gender-segregation.

Ein Haniya (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

However, the Nature and Parks Authority says that the move has not yet been legally approved, the issue has been examined, but it still needs approval from the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Justice.

Secular people are already threatening with appeals

Meanwhile, the organization "Israel Hofsheet" ("A Free Israel") sent a warning letter before turning to the legal authorities against the pilot project. "Families in Israel should not wake up in the morning and wonder if today they are allowed to visit the nature reserve where they plan to hike, or if today is the day when gender separation will be enforced. This is a situation that should not happen," said Uri Keidar, CEO of Israel Hofsheet.

"We will act through legal channels and simultaneously call on the entire public, on their families, to come to the nature reserves during opening hours and enjoy what these sites have to offer. Gender separation must not be normalized, and this time it will not pass."

It should be noted that in the past, several initiatives were attempted to create separate bathing hours, but following the storm that arose and the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice to freeze the process, these initiatives were shelved.

This time, the applicants hope that the pilot will be approved for the benefit of the religious and Haredi (ultra-orthodox) public. The CEO of the organization 'Betzalmo' welcomed the move and wrote: "It is a festive day; finally, all Israeli citizens, regardless of their religion, will be able to enjoy the natural resources. Until now, tens of percent of Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, were denied access to nature reserves, and now, finally, the discrimination has been canceled. I thank the Minister and support her. We will continue to fight for the human rights of all Israeli citizens, and especially the religious and Haredi public. I am also pleased that our values of nature will not be compromised."

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