JERUSALEM (JTA) — Police arrested a haredi Orthodox teen who reportedly harassed a woman for not sitting in the back of a bus.
Noa Kantman, 22, of Safed, said she was modestly dressed in a skirt when she boarded the Egged bus heading for Ashdod on Feb. 15 on the way to visit her sister, who lives near Ashdod. Kantman, who is Modern Orthodox, said she sat in the seat next to the driver.
Some haredi Orthodox men and boys also boarded the bus and, led by two of them, demanded that Kantman sit in the back. They yelled at Kantman and began praying loudly, according to reports, while attempting to get her to move to the back of the bus. The men and boys also made menacing moves toward her, she said, causing Kantman to call her sister and ask her to call the police, according to reports.
Police who intercepted and boarded the bus at the entrance to Ashdod asked Kantman to point out the menacers. One of the haredi teens, 17, was taken into police custody. He was released on bail.
Israel’s Transportation Ministry maintains a voluntary segregation plan for public buses under which riders may sit separately if they desire, but fellow passengers cannot be pressured to sit separately. The plan was approved by Israel’s Supreme Court.