Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz rejected allegations of violence on Mehadrin bus lines based on the conclusions of a ministerial committee he set up to look into the matter after Reform and Conservative petitioners argued in court that Mehadrin lines should be banned because passengers display violence.
In response to a question posed by the High Court judges hearing the case, Transportation Ministry and Egged representatives told the court that the interim findings — based on six months of inquiries and observations, both in uniform and undercover — that the accusations are wholly unfounded. Their conclusion undermines the foundation of the petition, which sought to impose a disproportionate, collective punishment on the entire chareidi sector.
In light of the findings the High Court issued instructions to wait until the year-long inquiry on Mehadrin line "violence" is complete and the Transportation Minister submits his response based on the panel of inquiry's conclusions.
The petitioners were astonished by the interim findings, which pulled the rug out from under their feet, but had the audacity to ask the judges to instruct Egged and the Transportation Ministry "to dispatch not only male inspectors, but female inspectors as well," in a clear bid to provoke the type of violence they yearn to see.
"The petitioners do not use public transportation at all and do not seek to promote women's standing," said Atty. Mordechai Green, director of Betzedek, the legal rights organization representing the Rabbinical Committee for Transportation Matters, during the course of the proceedings. "They do not shirk from any means to vex and undercut the chareidi sector, and deny its democratic right to live according to its beliefs."
The Torah way is through "darkei noam," notes the Rabbinical Committee. "Gedolei Yisroel have denounced all acts of violence of any kind. We applaud the interim findings, which reinforced our assertion that there is no `violence' on Mehadrin lines. Nevertheless, the public is urged to show extra caution in avoiding provocations that figures associated with the petitioners try to induce, and not to get dragged into the trouble they try to stir. Passengers are asked to careful adhere to halacha while riding the bus, but under no circumstances should they uphold it through conduct that does not befit a sector of the public that is true to human dignity and the dictates of gedolei Yisroel.