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Israel Museum offers a few hours of sex-segregated visiting hours to attract ultra-Orthodox Jews, known as Hardeim in Israel, to view a new exhibition about Hasidic Jews.
The move is the first time for the museum, the leading kind of its type in the country. The decision is motivated by the fact that Yeshivas are closed for three weeks during the summer, allowing the men who attend it more leisure time.
The museum stated that the separate hours will apply only to the one particular exhibit, "A World Apart Next Door: Glimpses into the Life of Hasidic Jews," and even that will be judged according to demand.
"A World Apart Next Door," which has been on display for nearly a month, depicts Hasidic culture by featuring rare editions of Hasidic books, clothing, photographs and video clips of events in various Hasidic courts.
"We hope the exhibit on Hasidim will be the beginning of Haredim getting to know the museum as well, and perhaps they will come to the section on Jewish art and see the old synagogues, or archaeological displays or the Aleppo Codex," the museum's spokeswoman said. "This is an opportunity to draw in groups that would not otherwise visit; another opportunity to extend a hand and say 'please come.'"
Despite the fact that only 8 percent of the Israeli-Jews are ultra-Orthodox Jews, recent protests have targeted the group for not serving in the Israeli army. The tension between the secular community, which is the majority in the country, and the different religious groups is thus high.