Published at 850 × 566 in Striking Similarities
Among the detained was Amram Shapira, the personal assistant of Haredi leader Rabbi Tuvia Weiss. Shapira and other Haredi leaders who were arrested on Sunday were accused of misusing millions of shekels worth of donations to the community.
Protesters tried to set up barricades on several main roads in Beit Shemesh, and threw rocks at police officers when they attempted to intervene. Clashes were also reported in Jerusalem, with Orthodox Jewish youth throwing rocks at police. Four protesters were arrested in Beit Shemesh.
The tension between Israel's Orthodox community and both the secular and moderately religious Jewish communities has escalated in recent weeks, following reports that ultra Orthodox Jews harass girls, some as young as 8 years old, by using physical intimidation, threats and violence when they deemed the girls clothes immodest. This was despite the fact that the children wear religious school uniforms, which include a blouse with long sleeves and a long skirt.
Hundreds of residents of Beit Shemesh protested last week against what they see as an invasion of their community by ultra-Orthodox elements, who the residents say are attempting to change the character of their city.
Why The Jewish Burka?
So how did we reach a situation where a group of women believes that this sick behaviour is actually a Jewish ideal? … No rabbis publicly condone it. Several [burka-wearing haredi] women quoted by Ha'aretz complained they were harassed and rejected by their peers.
And yet, the "frumka" is the logical extension of two clear trends in the frum world.Firstly, standards of modesty are becoming increasingly stringent and require increasing effort to follow. A CD recording by a top rabbi from Lakewood, New Jersey, for example, reportedly asks women not to swing their arms while they walk and not to allow their daughters to wear colourful banana-clips in their hair. Women know that if they wear skin-coloured stockings, they must include a seam so it is clear they are not bare-legged. Schoolgirls do not wear shiny shoes that could "reflect their underwear".…
Secondly, tznius, or modesty, has long moved from being about modest clothing to being about keeping women, and images of women, away from men.Open a Charedi newspaper, and there are either no images of women, or they are blacked out.…a top rabbi in Bnai Brak asked women to leave before the end of shul so they did not mingle with men following davening; that same town has a street with separate sides for men and women…
Just last week, a sheitel shop in New York was boycotted for refusing to remove headshots of women wearing wigs from its window.But since when is looking at women's faces forbidden? It's not.The fact is that, in the Orthodox world today, women are already being pushed out of the public sphere. The rabbis may not understand the Pandora's Box they have opened, but the jump from the Brooklyn sheitel store to the burka-wearers in Israel is not that great.