The High Court rejected a petition submitted by Reform and by women's organizations aimed at halting the operation of new bus lines designed to accommodate the chareidi sector.
Chareidi legal rights organization Betzedek stepped in to help battle the provocative petition, which sought a court order forbidding the Transportation Ministry and public transportation companies from operating the new bus lines in chareidi areas pending the recommendations of the Committee for Mehadrin Bus Lines. High Court Judge Eliakim Rubinstein rejected the request, saying he sees no need for the court to get involved in the matter.
According to the Rabbinical Committee for Transportation Affairs, even the High Court acknowledged the importance of the issue to the chareidi public and the morality behind it.
The petitioners argued that they turned to the High Court several months ago asking it to instruct the Transportation Ministry not to operate more mehadrin bus lines until the committee appointed by the Transportation Ministry issues its final recommendations. Following that petition the Transportation Ministry ordered public transportation companies not to operate additional mehadrin lines. The notice was presented to the High Court and received legal validity.
The petitioners claimed that Yated Ne'eman then reported that new lines have been started in a number of chareidi areas. Even though the articles in question did not state that they were mehadrin lines, they asked the court to forbid the expansion of any new bus lines serving the chareidi sector and to have bus companies freeze the operation of the designated chareidi lines (meaning that they served chareidi neighborhoods) launched December 15, 2008.
Betzedek, which was named a "friend of the court" in the case, submitted a request for the court to reject the petition. The organization said all of the bus lines the petition mentions are standard lines designated for the chareidi sector, and as such "the petition seeks to place the chareidi sector outside the law, i.e. casting chareidim as second-class citizens. Therefore, until the committee completes its task the petitioners want a decree forcing the chareidi sector to travel by foot rather than use public transportation...It is hard to escape the sense the petitioners are seeking to transform themselves into the ruling class and the chareidi public into the subject class."