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Israeli journalist’s allegation of discrimination on United flight comes amid inflamed tensions over gender segregation in Israel

(JTA) – An Israeli reporter is claiming that she was the victim of discrimination by haredi Orthodox men on a recent United Airlines flight to Newark — and that the Israeli flight attendant had sided with the men over her.

Neria Kraus’s account ricocheted across the internet while her plane was in the air. Competing accounts of what transpired and why soon emerged with other passengers claiming the reporter’s gender was never an issue and arguing that she had jumped to a conclusion based on a man’s religious head covering.

What’s clear is that Kraus, a U.S. correspondent for the Israeli TV network Channel 13, has initiated a new episode in a longstanding tension between religious and secular Jews, at a time when issues of gender segregation are returning to the fore in Israel.

The situation erupted on Tuesday, when Kraus tweeted while onboard a United flight from Tel Aviv to Newark that haredi Orthodox men had tried to pressure her to move seats, and that when she refused, a female flight attendant “shouted at me that the flight will not take off” if she did not comply.

“I was told the flight might touch down in Egypt and it would be my fault,” Kraus wrote as she posted a video of her arguing with passengers and crew. “What a humiliating event for me as a woman.” Kraus refused to move and the flight departed on time. 

The account and subsequent social media frenzy came at a delicate moment, when incidents of sex-segregation in public accommodations within Israel, usually illegal, have magnified concerns about the right-wing government’s concessions to religious parties representing communities where sex segregation is the norm.

The country’s growing and politically powerful haredi Orthodox contingent enforces strict gender segregation within its own communities, and their political influence has extended to contested gender and modesty norms in other spaces including the Western Wall, public buses, beaches, college classes and trains.

Israel’s top court has typically ruled against gender segregation in public settings. But in recent months, as Israel’s right-wing governing coalition, which includes two haredi parties and few women lawmakers, has pressed forward with legislation that would sap the judiciary’s power, the country’s press has been rife with reports of activities that flout the law. One Orthodox municipality plans to hold a gender-segregated public concert despite three legal rulings against it; another community adopted sex-segregated swimming hours at a public spring. Multiple women say they have been denied transportation on public buses because of what they were wearing.

“You live in a Jewish state and you should respect the people living here,” a driver told teenaged girls as he ordered them to the back of a bus in one incident, according to a video obtained by Israeli news outlets, adding, “When you get on a bus where there are religious and ultra-Orthodox people who respect your way of life, you should respect theirs.” An Israeli protest group that has frequently staged demonstrations wearing outfits from “The Handmaid’s Tale” filed an incitement complaint over the incident.

United is not an Israeli company, and it is not bound by Israeli laws. Still, the incident on the flight filled with Israeli and U.S. Jews triggered associations with the contemporary climate in Israeli, Kraus told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“There have been a few events in the past days or weeks of trying to tell women to sit on the back of the bus, or not allowing women to get on a bus. So I think this is a situation in Israeli society that Israelis really care about,” Kraus said. “I didn’t think that it would get so much exposure, but it did, and a lot of women are writing me, ‘Thank you for talking in our names.’”

The long-term takeaways from the incident involving Kraus remain as uncertain as what actually happened on the plane.

As attention to the incident grew, competing accounts emerged. A “guerrilla” journalist in New York, Daniel Amram, published an interview late Tuesday with Nigel, a Brooklyn man who appears in Kraus’s initial photo and claimed to have been the person who first asked her to change seats. Nigel, who wears a kippah but not any other signifiers of haredi identity, said he had asked her to move only so that his son and his friend could sit next to each other. He told Amram that he dropped the request when she refused.

“I said, ‘Do you mind switching? It’s the same aisle seat,’” the man recalled. After he removed his cap to reveal his kippah, he told Amram, “She started screaming, ‘It’s because I’m a woman, you want me to move. She started screaming, ‘Discrimination, discrimination!”’

The man further claimed that the flight attendant had threatened to cancel the flight after hearing Kraus allege discrimination. The Orthodox travel site DansDeals also spoke to Nigel and claimed Kraus had exaggerated her account of the flight.

The next day, Kraus continued to defend her interpretation of events, tweeting an interview with a man who she claimed was a fellow flight attendant on the plane. In the video, the man indicated that he concurred that the seating request had been an act of discrimination.

“You have a problem sitting next to a female, you should take a different flight — go fly El Al, we don’t care,” he told the man, referencing the Israeli airline sued for acquiescing to haredi Orthodox men’s demands to move women away from them and ordered by an Israeli judge to stop.

“Everything I said is true. Everything else is lies,” Kraus tweeted. However, the man in the video does not address Kraus’ allegation that the United flight attendant “started yelling at me.”

Kraus told JTA that she still believes she had been asked to move because the men did not want to sit next to a woman, and disputed details of Nigel’s account. At the same time, she walked back her criticism of the flight attendant, saying, “I don’t want to see anyone losing their jobs because of this.”

United’s response was as muddied as anyone else’s. The plane was still in the air when the company issued a non-committal statement to JTA: “We offered the customer another seat — which was declined — the flight departed for New York/Newark and is expected to arrive on time.”

Thirty minutes later, United publicly tweeted an apology to Kraus, writing, “We deeply apologize for this interaction and would like to look into this further.” Kraus also told JTA the flight attendants had apologized to her during the flight.

She told JTA that she did not want to speculate about why her story went so viral. But she acknowledged that sex segregation has been in the news in Israel. “People really care about it,” she said. “I think this is the issue.”


The post Israeli journalist’s allegation of discrimination on United flight comes amid inflamed tensions over gender segregation in Israel appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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