That accepted norm in the "enlightened world" seems to be ignored when it's a Torah observant Jew who refuses to be touched, refuses to shake hands. There is no moral or logical reason for Belgium's Minister of Health to have condemned her Israeli counterpart for his refusal to shake her hand.
When a person demands that another person touch him or her and condemns that person for refusing, it's sexual harassment.
It goes for men touching women and women touching men. And it could also be unwanted physical contact between two of the same sex.
The unwanted touch could be a kiss, a hug, a pat or even a demand to shake hands.
Nobody should be forced to touch another person.
Belgium’s health minister Laurette Onkelinx said she was “profoundly troubled” by the behavior of her Israeli counterpart, Yaakov Litzman, after the Haredi official refused to shake her hand at a conference.
Litzman, Israel’s deputy minister for health, belongs to the Haredi Torah Judaism party and considers it forbidden to touch members of the opposite sex.
Well, I'm "profoundly troubled" by Belgium’s health minister Laurette Onkelinx's condemnation of Israeli Deputy Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman. It's totally insensitive, prejudicial, close-minded, intolerant and discriminatory. She's touted as being the most powerful woman in Belgium, which is bad for Belgium in my opinion. She should have responded to his refusal by respecting his wishes and religiosity.
Many strictly Torah observant Jews get condemned by other Jews in Israel and abroad for refusing to shake hands. This intolerance isn't right. People should be more respectful of others. I'd like to see those Torah observant Jews use the modern legal and moral issue of sexual harassment and sue those who mock and condemn them.
An important aspect of religious freedom is the right to say "no" to inappropriate touching, even when it is accepted as benign by most of society. Nobody should be forced or bullied into shaking hands if they don't want to, even if they don't have religious reasons for refusing.