Women from Samaria : Arab Men Accost & Harass Us on Buses

In a letter written to Israel’s Transport Minister, women describe how riding the bus home from work has become a nightmare.

By Arutz Sheva


A group of women who live in Samaria have sent letters to Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz, in which they complain that using public transportation has become a nightmarish experience, because of harassment by Arabs.

Afikim bus – Photo: Hillel Meir

Arutz Sheva has obtained copies of letters sent to the Transport Minister and to the mayor of Ariel, in which women complain of sexual harassment on bus lines that go from central Israel to Samaria destinations

One woman, whom we will identify as Ayin, wrote: “Last Sunday, I rode the 186 bus from Petach Tikva to Ariel as I always do, on my way back from work. A few stops after mine, several Arabs got on. One sat next to me at the front of the bus, behind the driver. The drive takes about 50 minutes at night. These were 50 minutes of suffering!”

Ayin, who was seated next to the window, goes on to relate her experience.”In the course of the drive, the Arab who sat next to me… began putting his hands on me. Time after time, I threw his hand off me and told him to stop. I tried to move away on the seat and get further from him but nothing made any difference to him and he kept at it. I felt frozen and the fear took away my ability to get up from the chair and complain to the driver about that Arab.”

Ayin says: “After that drive, which seemed to go on forever, when the bus finally arrived at the station at Ariel Junction, the Arab got off the bus. A feeling of liberation surged through me, and at the same time, tears began to flow. It all came out in a burst of tears.”

“How can one person demean and humiliate another person and hurt the other person’s self esteem and privacy, in just one second?” Ayin asks, describing “sensations and feelings of emotional pain that will remain in the heart forever.”

“Please, esteemed minister, help me prevent the next case. Do not let another woman undergo the same humiliation as I did.”

The mother of one of the young women who were harassed wrote the minister about an incident on Route 86 from Petach Tikva to Ariel, involving her daughter and Arabs. “The Palestinian who sat next to my daughter began getting close to her and touching her leg. My daughter froze and pressed herself to the window, but she had a difficult time responding or asking for help. At around the Gitai junction he put his hand on her leg and got off the bus.”

The problem is especially grievous with buses run by the Afikim company, the mother says, and the drivers who let in Arab workers are Arabs themselves. Her daughter complained about the incident to her father, who is a driver at Afikim himself, but when the father approached the Arab driver involved, he responded with near violence.

Another mother writes: “My daughter got on the bus and an Arab sat next to her when there was enough room on the bus [for him to sit elsewhere]. He pretended to fall asleep on her and rested his head on her. She told him several times [to stop] and he repeated it each time.”

The women added that often, Arabs who get off the bus ask the driver to open the luggage compartment in the back of the bus, and make off with luggage that is not theirs.

The Minister of Transport’s bureau said in response: “The minister is aware of the problem and is taking vigorous action to solve it by a meaningful enlargement of the fleet of buses that drive to and from the city.”

View original Arutz Sheva publication at: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/171098#.UhNeVD-Plgh