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calendar   Wednesday - December 28, 2011

Say What???

Segregation Battle Looms In Jerusalem

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is this the Occupy Jerusalem movement?

Thousands gathered in Beit Shemesh Tuesday for a demonstration protesting the growing demand by radical religious elements to exclude women from public life in Israel. The rally will feature several female speakers who were victims of haredi violence. Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Rabbi Haim Amsalem also addressed the crowd. Protesters were hoisting banners reading “Free Israel from religious coercion,” “Stop Israel from becoming Iran,” Segregation is a red line,” and “The majority is silent no more.”

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Not without a fight! Protesters against the haredi and segregation

Public outcry against the radical demand to shun women from public events and for segregation between the sexes on busses, sidewalks and even in lines in the supermarket, became especially strident over the weakened when seven-year-old Na’ama Margolis was spat on in a Beit Shemesh street by haredi man who claimed she was not dressed “modestly enough.”

WTF?

Minister Livnat added that “the atrocity of women’s exclusion is a heinous crime. We will fight against it with everything we have.”

“Beit Shemes has become a symbol for a secular city that has become haredi. Seculars must be allowed to live here… the current situation is intolerable ,” MK Miri Regev (Likud) said. “This is a Jewish country but there is no room for imposing (religious edicts). We cannot allow religious coercion or segregation in mixed cities. Everyone should be allowed to make their own choice,” she said.

Ok, I think I might have a slight grasp on this. There is an area, a neighborhood, a county-sized chunk of land, to the west of Jerusalem, that may also include part of that city. This is Beit Shemesh. In that zone - oh, I really really don’t want to use the word enclave, but that is what it is, a ghetto in the real old-school sense - there lives a group of super conservative, real old-school Jewish folks collectively known as the Haredim. Plural, Haredi. There are very few of these folks in the USA; the ones we are vaguely familiar with are the Hasidim, which are only one half of the Haredi group in Israel. The other half is Lita’im. I think. They are super-super-Orthodox. Among other beliefs, they do not want to live out in the world with everyone else. Those who do are known as Haskalah, or secular. Meaning “out in the world, no longer isolated, assimilated”. From the secular movement in the 19th century came the more modern Jewish sects we think of as Conservative and Reformed, although there are a couple more divisions most of us gentiles aren’t aware of.

I’m probably getting some of this wrong because it’s all new to me. For me the story here is my amazement that in Israel Jews are fighting other Jews, and some Jews are being abusive and violent towards Jewish children. I am agog, and I say that without the slightest bit of sarcasm.

So there are tensions in Israel. Just like everyone else, Jewish people take their faith in different degrees, from super strict to laissez-faire.  But this group seems to be embarrassingly primitive, calling for complete public segregation between men and women, and has been caught on video being abusive and violent towards small children. And the counter-protesters aren’t going to put up with that shit for a heartbeat.  What makes it worse is that these same attitudes are held by their worst blood enemies ...

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... and using some of the same tactics ...

On Monday, violent incidents continued in Beit Shemesh, Haredim clashed with police officers and attacked two television news crews. At least six people were arrested or detained for questioning.

The violent scenes in Beit Shemesh on Sunday, when a Channel 2 news team was attacked by 200 Haredi men, were repeated on Monday.

On Monday morning, dozens of ultra-Orthodox men surrounded police officers and municipal inspectors who came to remove, for at least the third time this week, a sign on Hazon Ish Street, in the Haredi neighborhood Nahala Vemenuha, ordering men and women to use separate sidewalks. The men tried to prevent the sign’s removal, calling the police officers “Nazis” and dancing around them in circles.

A few hours later a crew from Channel 10 was attacked as it tried to film a piece on education in the city. Police officers dispatched to the scene after the news team called for help clashed with dozens of Haredim.

And when the cops show up to restore the peace you broke, you play the Nazi Cardrolleyes :eyeroll:  rolleyes For shame. Shame! Does nothing have real meaning any more?

Naturally, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Solomon-like idea to cut the area in half was rejected by both sides:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was criticized by both opposition and coalition members Wednesday morning following a Yedioth Ahronoth report that he is considering ending the tensions between ultra-Orthodox and religious residents in Beit Shemesh by dividing the city in half.

According to the report, Netanyahu said in closed forums that he was in favor of any solution which would prevent violence, including the possibility of dividing the city into one city for haredim and another city for secular and religious Jews. The newspaper said Netanyahu had already discussed the issue with Likud and Shas ministers.

Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) slammed the prime minister, saying that “instead of dealing with the problem, Netanyahu is – as usual – only dealing with the symptom.

So we’ve got another fine mess in the Middle East. Honestly, Israelis, why can’t you all just get along?.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/28/2011 at 09:49 AM   
Filed Under: • Israel •  
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