Israel, Sex & Gender

Ah ha, hush that fuss (Or, an eye for an eye, a hat for a snood)

An update on the “Jewish Rosa Parks” story from Israel:

A woman who reported a vicious attack by an ad-hoc “modesty patrol” on a Jerusalem bus last month is now lining up support for her case and may be included in a petition to the High Court of Justice over the legality of sex-segregated buses.
Miriam Shear says she was traveling to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City early on November 24 when a group of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men attacked her for refusing to move to the back of the Egged No. 2 bus….In her first interview since the incident, Shear says that on the bus three weeks ago, she was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed by a group of men who demanded that she sit in the back of the bus with the other women.
“Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back, sometimes politely and sometimes not,” she recalled this week in a telephone interview. “I was always polite and said ‘No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'”
But Shear, a 50-year-old religious woman, says that on the morning of the 24th, a man got onto the bus and demanded her seat – even though there were a number of other seats available in the front of the bus.
“I said, I’m not moving and he said, ‘I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.’ Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-bitch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back. At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me. My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face.”
Shear says that when she bent down in the aisle to retrieve her hair covering, “one of the men kicked me in the face. Thank God he missed my eye. I got up and punched him. I said, ‘I want my hair covering back’ but he wouldn’t give it to me, so I took his black hat and threw it in the aisle.”

More absolutely infuriating details here. I imagine that those of you who live in Israel have your own eyewitness accounts of this sort of thing. I know we see posts about these incidents from time to time and I think it’s important to keep the issue alive.

13 thoughts on “Ah ha, hush that fuss (Or, an eye for an eye, a hat for a snood)

  1. I can’t express my views without making you all blush, but I will say that I find it ironic that the reason Orthodox men give for shunning women is to protect them, to promote modesty. This incident shows very clearly that these men in paticulair are cavemen. Not interested in spreading the word of HaSham, but exuding power over us evil, sinful woman who should be so lucky to walk in their shadow. I spit.

  2. Best and most ironic comment ever:
    ‘No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.’
    Orthodoxy is a joke.

  3. I can hardly believe such things are happening in Jerusalem. Just to think that I’m moving to Israel next week for a year makes me scared an frightened. People have to do something when they see such stupidity.
    I’m not sure, but I think I will be riding on this no.2 bus whenever I want to go from Har Nof to the Kotel. I would really go crazy to see something like that going on.
    Last July I really saw wicked stuff done by Hassidim in the Kotel, but people always told me that they are different and that you can’t understand their logic. When it comes to such a kind of viollence that reminds me of the south of US during the early 20th century, I can’t help but remember mr. King.
    I only believe now that being in Israel is taking part on this issue. And no matter what anyone tell me, I already know which in side I’ll be in.

  4. Living in Israel, I can say that this is quite extreme. Most of us don’t really have “eyewitness accounts” of these things, especially of this severity – its quite rare.

  5. This is all part of the expose. I’m telling you — all of this, from the bleach to the caustics to this — are being done by the same spinoff group.
    (Things like this drive anti-charedi prejudice. My rav tells me constantly, “we all have to face Hashem at the end of 120 years.” That being said, even IF there were some convolution of lines of halacha to make it somehow permissible to kick a religious married woman in the face, would anyone really feel proud to say, “My Father who is in Heaven! I did Your Will wholeheartedly by beating the ever living tzoah out of this married lady, and exposed her hair in public! For Your sake!”?)

  6. What goes around, comes around.
    This is just another symptom of the dry rot that has developed in the haredi world, as a result of their attempts to live impossibly, unsustainably, as a community of “luftmenchen” with no visible means of support, no general education, and the notion that every Jew in their communities should be sitting and learning Torah all day.
    None of which were EVER part of reality back in “the old country” in Europe.
    This artificial Disneyland is now falling apart at the seams – and the young haredi men facing frustrating economic/social deadends are the ones driving this and other violent episodes.
    The mix of prideful contempt for others, fiscal dishonesty, and one-upmanship in external trappings of religiosity has all come home to roost.

  7. I have to agree with creepy. A society that relegates women to the margins of public space should not be surprised when the women are forced to stay where they are relegated to.
    When shuls are segregated, and some buses are segregated, and schools are most certainly segregated – why should women not be beaten back into their rightful place?
    This has great import for all Orthodox congregations. The equation that separate seating leads to physical assault it not fanciful, its the honest to god truth.

  8. Amit, I’m interested in hearing more of an explanation as to how separate seating leads to abuse. I think that’s quite a stretch to make such a conclusion.
    This was an awful incident, and a twisting of the law, but I don’t buy the conclusion that the Ortho-haters are coming to.

  9. Thats it!!! All orthodox/Hasidic Jews are wife beating, snood schlepping chauvinists!!!
    She clearly is nuts – if you have no problem with the mechitza in Shul, is a Bus mechitza such a stretch?
    P.S. (True Story) I met a Satmar Chasid, a “reject” because he went to school to become a PA, a sweet guy, and he says his sister (absolutely no secular education whatsoever) wouldnt know if Algebra was the name of a city or a state . . . sad part – he was not joking.

  10. I just want to see the song lyrics for fussers sake! Which reminds me of a funny joke, you are so fat that people have to wheel you around! Ohhhh fussy burn.

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