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Video: In Israel, a woman takes a front seat – and a stand

  1. Transcript of: In Israel, a woman takes a front seat – and a stand

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: Tonight there's a big storm brewing in Israel . It has to do with seating on public buses and women being told by some men where they can and cannot sit. That is until one woman refused to move. It certainly might remind a lot of folks of a woman who took a stand in this country more than 50 years ago, and we get the story tonight from NBC 's Martin Fletcher .

    MARTIN FLETCHER reporting: Tanya Rosenblit , Israel 's new poster child for women's rights. On a bus to Jerusalem , an Orthodox Jew told her, 'You're a woman. Go sit at the back of the bus.' Israel 's Rosa Parks moment. 'No,' Tanya said.

    Ms. TANYA ROSENBLIT: If I were to go to the back of the bus, I'd be humiliating myself.

    FLETCHER: Her photos show what happened next: the man stopping the bus, the threatening crowd...

    Ms. ROSENBLIT: I was the only woman there.

    FLETCHER: ...a policeman who came to help. After 30 minutes, Tanya won and kept her seat. But then...

    Unidentified Woman:

    FLETCHER: ...her story took off. Tsipi Livni , head of the opposition, led a march to Parliament .

    Mr. TSIPI LIVNI (Opposition Leader): It's not only about women. It's about the face and the nature of Israel 's society.

    FLETCHER: All this began with one woman's comment on her Facebook page. Tanya Rosenblit had no idea what she started. Tanya told her friends but all of Israel heard. Another page in Israel 's long-running struggle over what kind of country it will be.

    Ms. ROSENBLIT: We have a beautiful country and there are extremists here who try to make it something that it's not.

    FLETCHER: Religious vs. secular. Ordinary citizens resent attempts by Orthodox Jews to influence the way they live. Orthodox Jews stone shops, deface posters of women. Why? The Orthodox want more modesty in public. 'We don't care about the law of Israel ,' she says. All we care about is God's law. The fight goes all the way to Parliament , where Tanya Rosenblit finds herself the star, calling for equal rights everywhere. She says, 'I didn't ask for this. But if my story can help, so be it.' Martin Fletcher , NBC News, Jerusalem.


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