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Thursday, January 11, 2018 

Taking back the neighborhood and streets from extremists

Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll wrote in the Forward about her experiences in dealing with Haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh, and how they had to go to court about the sharia-style modesty signs. One of the most alarming examples given is how Haredi community leaders reacted after children were harassed while walking through their neighborhood on Shabbat:
The thing is, it’s not just a sign. This past summer, religious teens who walked through Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet on Shabbat to volunteer with special needs children had trash and invective hurled at them by youngsters and adults. When their parents attempted to end the weekly harassment by meeting with haredi community leaders, they were told, “Don’t you see the signs? We are telling you how to dress. If you don’t follow those demands, naturally, you will be attacked.”

In other words, the signs were being used to justify violent behavior. [...]
Whoever those "leaders" are, they're guilty of encouraging a crime, and should be jailed for failing to prevent it, and forced to do hard labor.

Now, here's something amazing and fortunate about the Arabic MK who took a tour of the neighborhood with her:
And that is how I came to be talking with MK Aida Touma-Suleiman about tzniut and hijab signs.

Touma-Suleiman is an Israeli Arab woman, who, in her capacity as head of this committee, has had to chair meetings on matters pertaining to women in Judaism. In preparation for debates, she has studied up on issues such as tzniut (modesty) and mikveh (the ritual bath). More than once, she has been heard correcting her Jewish counterparts on Jewish ritual and even quoted the Shulchan Arukh — the Jewish Code of Law — to a haredi member of Knesset during a debate on women’s rights in the mikveh.

[...] dozens of men gathered around, some yelling “shiksa” and “prutza” — Yiddish for “non-Jewish woman” and “promiscuous woman” respectively.

Ironically, none of them knew that their name-calling was accurate, and one of the women they targeted, the Christian Arab MK, was actually not Jewish.
It doesn't make much difference whether they were cursing at Jewish or non-Jewish women; what matters is the scum on the streets confirmed their racism, and I hesitate to think what they'd say to blacks and Asians, or even folks of mixed race backgrounds.
After the tour, the group sat together to debrief and discuss. Touma-Suleiman described the situation as a battle similar to others in the world, where wars over territory have been fought on the backs of women, often the weakest element of society and easiest to control. She said that the extremists were trying creating a “state within a state,” where their rules are law.

When the director-general of the city tried to suggest that the signs were really a matter of cultural sensitivity, Touma-Suleiman cut him off, saying, “Don’t talk to me about cultural sensitivity; that is only ever used to justify oppression of women. I’m not buying it.”

She compared the Beit Shemesh signs to posters in Arab towns that exhort women to wear the hijab, recognizing them as similar phenomena.

It was strange to find myself having more in common with this woman from Nazareth than with some of my neighbors.
I'll have to admit it's certainly a relief to learn Suleiman doesn't approve of Islamic hijabs, which the Haredi extremists are coming very close to demanding, and there are some ultra-orthodox women in that same neighborhood who've emulated such an awful form of dress.

But if she has no issues with demands to create a "palestinian state" at Israel's expense, and even believes the propaganda Golda Meir knew wasn't true, then that's where she'll screw up royally. So I'll appreciate it if she avoids that kind of junk. Otherwise, it'll give ammunition to the very propagandists from both the Islamic and Haredi worlds who're causing trouble now.

I also found a Haredi writer talking some more common sense, condemning the extremists who threw stones at a soldier's car, but even he's got something that's not very accurate:
It was just one hooligan who threw the stones, but we know that such incidences emerge from a context. These extremist societies do not appear to be internally violent. Despite the fact that they might be labeled lower socio-economic, they do not suffer from drugs, violence, and other symptoms of inner-city ghetto life. They have, however, fostered a certain hatred of the outsider, where the word “Zionist” is a catch-all that lets them cast their web of venom over almost anyone who doesn’t look like them. This is a great principle of hatred — once you unleash it it has its own momentum.
While the notes about what the extremists think of Zionists are true, it's not very accurate to say they don't suffer from internal violence, given how many cases of sexual abuse have turned up in the past decade amongst them. In fact, how do we know they don't suffer from drug abuse either? Or alcoholism? It's ill-advised to underestimate what goes on behind the closed doors in a cloistered abode. And that's why something has to be done to put an end to these kind of insular societies.

This should be a lesson to Europe as well, that more needs to be done to take back the streets from Islamofascists. And hopefully, recalling Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban's statements of recent, this year will be a time when it starts to happen.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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