Thousands Attend Gender-segregated Chabad Event in Central Tel Aviv

Although the event's organizers said in court that people of both genders would be allowed to move freely, a Haaretz reporter was barred from entering the women's area

Gender-segregated Chabad event at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv today.
Ilan Assayag

Thousands of people attended a gender-segregated event held by the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Monday evening. Although the event's organizers said in court that people of both genders would be allowed to move freely, police prevented people from crossing a barrier erected between the men's and women's sections.

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A Haaretz reporter who attended the event was barred from entering the women's area. According to the reporter, men were not allowed to enter the area separated by women. Organizers of the event said in response that they were not instructed to separate the genders. The police have yet to respond.

The Tel Aviv Municipality had initially banned the separation but later canceled its objection based on the recommendation made by the district court's vice president, Judge Kobi Vardi. His decision was made after a petition was filed by HaGeula, an organization affiliated with the messianic faction of Chabad.
 
The judge criticized the city's decision not to hold a proper hearing for the organizers and prohibit the separation at a late stage, noting that the organizers needed the approval to hold the event. "After the incident, the municipality will issue new directives and make it clear that it won't allow any gathering in a square that has separation," he said.
 

From the gender-segregated event in Tel Aviv, today.
Ilan Assayag