Posts Tagged “beit shemesh”

Mea She'arim, JerusalemUltra-orthodox Jewish men in Israel apparently decided they’ve had enough of those insolent, “uppity” females who don’t believe as they do and whom they think can never be seen in public. They’re no longer resorting to bullying schoolgirls; instead, a bunch of them ganged up on and viciously attacked a lone woman in Beit Shemesh, as the Jerusalem Post reports (WebCite cached article):

Beit Shemesh resident Natalie Mashiach, 27, was hanging up flyers for the national lottery in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet on Tuesday afternoon, when she was approached by haredi man who she said cursed her and spat in her face.

According to Mashiach, she retreated to her car, when dozens of men started pelting her vehicle with stones, punctured her tires, poured bleach on her inside the car and stole her car keys. She then fled to a nearby building chased by the mob, before the police arrived and dispersed them.

Mashiach sustained a light injury from a rock which was thrown at her head during the incident.

How manly of these guys to attack one woman. What an accomplishment! Why, they must be so proud of themselves for having taken on such a mighty foe!

Fucking cowards … !

Photo credit: Alexbip.

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PikiWiki Israel 11209 Landscape viewI’ve blogged numerous times about religious extremism. Most of the examples I cite deal with Christian extremism, and less often, Islamic extremism. But that’s not to say that other religions don’t have extremists, or that I don’t mention them. The latest example I’ve come across, is one of Jewish extremism. The AP reports via USA Today that some ultra-orthodox Jewish men have been harassing a little girl as she walks to school in Israel (WebCite cached article):

A shy 8-year-old schoolgirl has unwittingly found herself on the front line of Israel’s latest religious war.

Naama Margolese is a ponytailed, bespectacled second-grader who is afraid of walking to her religious Jewish girls school for fear of ultra-Orthodox extremists who have spat on her and called her a whore for dressing “immodestly.” …

The girls school that Naama attends in the city of Beit Shemesh, to the west of Jerusalem, is on the border between an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood and a community of modern Orthodox Jewish residents, many of them American immigrants.

The ultra-Orthodox consider the school, which moved to its present site at the beginning of the school year, an encroachment on their territory. Dozens of black-hatted men jeer and physically accost the girls almost daily, claiming their very presence is a provocation.

The problem with harassing people over “immodesty,” of course, is that “immodesty” is both subjective and relative. Almost any kind of outfit can be labeled “immodest” if one wishes to do so. And the context in which an outfit is worn can make it seem more or less “immodest.”

The tension between the hard-line Haredi Jews of Beit Shemesh and their more moderate neighbors is not new, though:

Beit Shemesh’s growing ultra-Orthodox population has erected street signs calling for the separation of sexes on the sidewalks, dispatched “modesty patrols” to enforce a chaste female appearance and hurled stones at offenders and outsiders. Walls of the neighborhood are plastered with signs exhorting women to dress modestly in closed-necked, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts.

In other words, they’ve carried on a campaign intended to force others — not of their sect — to act as though they believe as they do.

(Gee, sounds a bit like the Religious Right here in the US, no?)

Christian readers of my blog have complained previously that they feel I don’t criticize other religions. This blog entry — like a number of others — proves them wrong on what score. Moreover, even if I only pointed out examples of Christian extremism, that in itself does not make me wrong. Extremism is not relative; it doesn’t become acceptable in one religion just because it happens in another; and I don’t have to talk about the extremism of other religions in order to remark on Christian extremism.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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