In an unprecedented move, authorities have granted permission for a protest to be held in the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak.
Women's rights protesters march in Bnei Brak on August 24, 2023
Protesters embarked on a march from Ramat Gan's Ayalon Mall toward the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on Thursday night, as reported by Hebrew media.
The protest, organized by women's advocacy groups, serves as a counter-response to what they perceive as attempts to increase religiosity in Israel at the expense of equality.
The march was officially approved by the police earlier in the day.
Throughout the day, demonstrators gathered in Bnei Brak to face counter-protesters carrying signs with messages like "The world cannot exist without the Torah."
Police announced that certain streets in the ultra-religious city would be closed to traffic between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Previously, officials had declined requests for protests in Bnei Brak, citing concerns that they could escalate tensions and lead to conflicts.
Maariv reported that women's organizations promoting the march shared a message:
"They want to relegate us to the backseat of the bus, they demand that our daughters be hidden from view, they've removed all the female CEOs from government offices, they want us to be nothing more than worried mothers of soldiers in service."
The message continued: "They aim to regress women by centuries. Whoever believes that we will permit them to humiliate women and girls, whoever believes they can succeed in excluding women from the public sphere and positions of influence – not only are they mistaken, but they will encounter us on the streets."
The left-wing activist group, Standing Together, noted that they simultaneously launched a women's solidarity conference in Beni Brak, attended by over 100 ultra-Orthodox, secular, and Arab women.
"Tonight, we've made history," stated the conference organizers. "We've brought together ultra-Orthodox, Arab, and secular women to the heart of Bnei Brak to discuss feminism and demonstrate that there's room for all of them, and that it's possible to approach politics differently."
"In these days of division within Israeli society," the statement added, "we must do everything to stand united, side by side, and champion our shared principles."
Dana Betzalel and Haredi children hand out water and wristbands promoting neighbourly
love at the women’s march in Bnei Brak, Israel on Aug. 24, 2023. (Canaan Lidor/The Times of Israel)