Thousands of Israeli poured into a suburb of Jerusalem on Tuesday night to protest religious coercion by sects that live by rabbinic decree (Haredi) and attempts to separate men from women in certain aspects of public life. Although many of the practices have long been in existence, the issue came to head lately when a news crew filmed a member of a Jewish sect spitting on an 8-year old girl he deemed to be improperly dressed. In another incident, a woman refused to move to the rear of a public bus on the command of Haredi passengers. The rally was addressed by leaders of political parties across the political spectrum, many participants likening the Haredi behavior to Iran. One lawmaker has submitted a bill that would make it a criminal offense to exclude women – or advocate for their exclusion.
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