Barbra Streisand Raps Orthodox Jews' Actions Against Israeli Women

Created: 2013-06-19 17:40 EST

Category: World
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U.S. entertainer Barbra Streisand on Monday (June 17) took a swipe at Orthodox Jews in Israel who compel women to sit in the back of buses, and assault them for following religious rituals.
 
The Oscar and Emmy-winning actress and singer, who is Jewish, was speaking at a ceremony at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she was awarded an honorary doctorate.
 
[Barbra Streisand, American Entertainer]:
"It's distressing to read about women in Israel being forced to sit in the back of a bus or when we here about women of the Wall having metal chairs hurled at them when they intend to peacefully and legally pray. Or women being banned from singing in public ceremonies. But I'm also pleased to read that things are changing here, repairs are slowly being made and that's very good." 
 
A public bus system operating in some Israeli cities practises gender segregation in deference to ultra-Orthodox rabbis who have long wielded political power in the Jewish state.
 
Some of these clerics are also battling against a women's prayer group seeking to liberalise worship at the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites. 
 
The women wear prayer shawls and read aloud from the Jewish scriptures there, defying a tradition that only men should do so.
 
Streisand starred in a 1983 film "Yentl" which explores the yearning of Jewish women for religious equality with men.
 
During her visit to Israel, Streisand will sing at a 90th birthday celebration for President Shimon Peres and will perform at two concerts in Tel Aviv.