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← As ultra-Orthodox flex muscle, Israel feminists see a backsliding

As ultra-Orthodox flex muscle, Israel feminists see a backsliding - Comments

Byrneo's Avatar Comment 1 by Byrneo

Said Anat Saragusti, director of Agenda, an Israeli group that works on minority-rights issues: "They try a little, see if it works, and then push the envelope a bit more every time until things reach a critical mass and are irreversible. That's when people wake up. But by that point, it's often too late."

This sentence sums up why there is a need for organised groups of atheists actively opposing religion rather than sitting in the background, indifferent. When will these disgusting people stop putting their grubby hands on the shoulders of humanity, trying to force it back into the dark ally of the past?

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:07:25 UTC | #889943

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 2 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I love how religious Jews and Muslims justify this stuff and say it "protects women." Oh, right. Because men can't be held accountable for their actions.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:08:50 UTC | #889944

Greyman's Avatar Comment 3 by Greyman

Ultra-Orthodox leaders agree that the problem is one of encroachment, but they insist that it is the secular and the liberal religious communities that are seeking to impose modern values and prevent the ultra-Orthodox, also known as haredim, from practicing a stricter form of Judaism. Those traditional values typically include restrictions on television and the Internet, modest dress codes and segregation of the sexes, which haredi leaders say is needed to protect women from sexual exploitation and men from temptation.

"Women walk down the street as though they are at the beach," said Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim, a spokesman and leader for an umbrella group of ultra-Orthodox factions. "If in the past this was typical only of Tel Aviv, today it has reached Jerusalem as well. They encroach on our way of life, prompting our people to impose new restrictions, deepen separation and erect higher barriers to keep it away."

Oh noes, "we are being oppressed by their freedom!" ...

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:13:47 UTC | #889945

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 4 by SheerReason

In 25 odd years, Israel could be viewed as the Ultra-Orthodoxy Jewish Iran. They'll have brought back stoning as a punishment for "immoral acts" such as adultery and of course apostasy will be punishable by death as well. We may even see the "ultra-conservative" muslims and "ultra-orthodox" jews co-operating in terrorist attacks against the immoral/infidel westerners with their immoral feminism and their lax dress codes.

Religion does wonderful things for societies... :|

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:28:38 UTC | #889947

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 5 by Sean_W

Do we have any figures for the number of women raised in Orthodox families that would describe themselves as something other than that today, preferably over time so we can maybe see a trend? How about worldwide, is anyone tracking this for ultraconservative religions?

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 03:30:47 UTC | #889948

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 6 by Neodarwinian

Push back now when you can still push back. No need for another theocracy in that region and that is the Ultra-Orthodox plan, whether they admit it or not. ( that and the attendant problems germane to the region )

I see some of the comments grinding ideological axes instead of addressing the issue ( unless it was so oblique that one missed the issue in the comment ) and I hope we can refrain from that here.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 04:30:21 UTC | #889949

Eyerish's Avatar Comment 7 by Eyerish

"Ultra-Orthodox leaders agree that the problem is one of encroachment, but they insist that it is the secular and the liberal religious communities that are seeking to impose modern values and prevent the ultra-Orthodox, also known as haredim, from practicing a stricter form of Judaism. Those traditional values typically include restrictions on television and the Internet, modest dress codes and segregation of the sexes, which haredi leaders say is needed to protect women from sexual exploitation and men from temptation.

"Women walk down the street as though they are at the beach," said Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim, a spokesman and leader for an umbrella group of ultra-Orthodox factions. "If in the past this was typical only of Tel Aviv, today it has reached Jerusalem as well. They encroach on our way of life, prompting our people to impose new restrictions, deepen separation and erect higher barriers to keep it away.""

How very muslim of them...

Need I say anymore about their hypocracy for hating their competing faith.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 04:31:56 UTC | #889951

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 8 by huzonfurst

And the US continues to send billions in aid every year to this "effing little country," as the French put it.

Israel exempts the Orthodox from military service and pays them their whole lives to sit around doing nothing but studying the Torah. The elimination of both these wrong-headed ideas might go a long way to solving their current problems with these professional a-holes.

The police might also want to enforce the law when they see these bearded pricks harrassing women (and children, in a recent story). There is also the Guardian Angel option, civilian patrols who keep watch and report incidents (they used to interven here in the US but I'm not sure if they're allowed to any more, for some prissy legalistic reason no doubt).

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 04:38:04 UTC | #889952

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 9 by nancynancy

"This insane gender separation and obsessive attention to women's bodies have nothing to do with religion."

No, I'm afraid it has everything to do with religion.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 05:55:59 UTC | #889957

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 10 by susanlatimer

Comment 2 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I love how religious Jews and Muslims justify this stuff and say it "protects women." Oh, right. Because men can't be held accountable for their actions

And at the same time, they create rules, laws and mythologies that protect men from being held accountable for their actions.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 06:08:56 UTC | #889959

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 11 by Virgin Mary

We have this kind of ultra orthodox jew in England but nobody ever says anything about them.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 07:11:55 UTC | #889964

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 12 by Vorlund

Men, erecting cradles for their pathetic little paternalistic egos. Why are the abrahamic sects so afraid of women?

Comment 11 by tmaxwell83 :

We have this kind of ultra orthodox jew in England but nobody ever says anything about them.

They are in a tiny minority and appear to keep very quiet. If they had a group of ultra nutters like Andy Choudary there'd be plenty to say.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 07:31:33 UTC | #889968

GPWC's Avatar Comment 13 by GPWC

"With all due respect, women are quite capable of defending their own honor," said Hila Benyovits-Hoffman, an Israeli blogger who writes frequently about gender issues. "This insane gender separation and obsessive attention to women's bodies have nothing to do with religion. Perhaps it is sexual repression or frustration out of control."

Nothing to do with religion? Probably, at root, that is true, but I've often thought religions were all about sex anyway, with men erecting another competitative greasy pole to climb for extra credit and enhanced rights to reproduce?

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:16:02 UTC | #889971

YHWH's Avatar Comment 14 by YHWH

Comment 8 by huzonfurst

And the US continues to send billions in aid every year to this "effing little country," as the French put it.

I think you will find that US religious types are aching to be be God's chosen people too.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:16:08 UTC | #889972

mmurray's Avatar Comment 15 by mmurray

Comment 11 by tmaxwell83 :

We have this kind of ultra orthodox jew in England but nobody ever says anything about them.

Maybe because they don't throw faeces at kids or make women sit on the back of buses.

Michael

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:48:07 UTC | #889976

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 16 by Anonymous

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Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:49:18 UTC | #889977

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 17 by Anonymous

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Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:53:05 UTC | #889978

Nastika's Avatar Comment 18 by Nastika

Comment 8 by huzonfurst

Israel exempts the Orthodox from military service and pays them their whole lives to sit around doing nothing but studying the Torah.

Some positive news from The Forward: In Israel, Haredi and Muslim Women Are Having Fewer Children

According to data released June 19 by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, by 2010, Haredi women were averaging one fewer baby than they were five years earlier — 6.5 instead of 7.5. The downward trend was not seen among other Jewish women, and over the same period, fertility among secular Jewish women actually increased by 0.15 children.

[L]ifestyle decisions and changes in Haredi women’s identity pale in importance compared to the most intractable problems of Haredi life — marrying children and setting up homes for them. It is widespread practice in Israel for in-laws to share these costs, and the expectation for help with housing is especially high in the Haredi sector, where many grooms expect to spend at least several years in full-time religious study.

The devaluation of the dollar (donations to fund the Haredi) and rising house prices are making it harder for the Haredi to buy apartments for their children.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 08:53:30 UTC | #889979

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 19 by Stafford Gordon

A perfect example of "How Religion Poisons Everything."

The Israeli Government banned the playwright Hanoch Levin; democracies do not ban writers; ergo...(answers on a post card please.)

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 09:14:26 UTC | #889982

EtotheiPi's Avatar Comment 20 by EtotheiPi

Why should woman want to pray at the Western Wall? I'm sure, talking to an orthodox jew is already like talking to a f***ing wall!

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 10:25:45 UTC | #889990

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 21 by Ivan The Not So Bad

Not just in Israel. This is going on in New York.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 10:28:30 UTC | #889992

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 22 by Virgin Mary

Comment 12 by Vorlund :

They are in a tiny minority and appear to keep very quiet. If they had a group of ultra nutters like Andy Choudary there'd be plenty to say.

That's not an excuse. Allowing people to live in such a way in England is tantamount to condoning their beliefs.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 10:31:37 UTC | #889995

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 23 by Virgin Mary

Comment 15 by mmurray :

Comment 11 by tmaxwell83 :

We have this kind of ultra orthodox jew in England but nobody ever says anything about them.

Maybe because they don't throw faeces at kids or make women sit on the back of buses.

Michael

What does that have to do with the price of fish? The belief system is the problem.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 10:34:13 UTC | #889997

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 24 by Nunbeliever

People often regard judaism as a very moderate religion. Some even question whether judaism should be called a religion at all since they more regard it as a philosophy of life than a religion. Every time I hear arguments like these I try to point out that there are a lot of jewish fundamentalists out there. The ultra-ortodox jews with their hilarious costumes and hair cuts is just one of many fractions that are pure extremists. And they are dangerous. Yes, the conflict between the state of Israel and Palestine has not from a historical point of view been a primarily religious one. Today on the other hand, it's impossible to ignore that jewish fundamentalists pretty much make any form of modest peace between Israel and Palestine impossible.

Edit: What many seems to forget is that the conflict we are witnessing today is a very different one from the earlier conflicts that Israel has engaged in. Historically Israel waged wars against other Arab countries like th Egypt, Libanon, Jordan, Ottoman Empire, etcetc... as said these conflicts were really quite secular. It was more about Israel as an intruder in the Arab world than the Arab countries fighting for an independent Palestine. Remember that the Palestinians have never been independent. In the 80s however Israel started to realize the real enemy was an enemy they had until then totally overlooked. Remember that palestinians lived among the Israelis much like ordinary people. Although they were probably discriminated against in practice they were formally citizens of Israel. And even today over a million palestinians live in Israel as Israeli citizens and enjoy the same rights as jews. You rarely hear about these people. Somehow people tend to forget that the separation of the Israeli state into Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is a pretty recent one...

The irony of it all is that a large part (if not most) of the extreme jews are not even native israelis but Americans who move to Israel! They really have no touch with reality. Many have not even visited Israel before they move. They know nothing of politics and aren't interested in learning. They just have this fixed religious idea that Jahve gave this piece of land to the jews and hence the palestinians are not entitled to a single grain of sand (I mean most of it is sand after all). I can't help to think there is something about the American culture that seems allow these extremely arrogant and ignorant dogmatic movements to flourish in ways we don't generally witness in the rest of the western world (or the world in large).

These are extremely dangerous people and a good example of how religion poisons everyhting. I remember when I worked in Israel you heard all these unbelievable stories of how the jewish settlers kill palestinians and demolish their property and the police does nothing about it. Palestinians are systematically abused and humiliated at check points all over the West Bank. Even though it's against international law new settlers are arrogantly just occupying Palestinian territories without any reprecussions. In fact the government is actively helping them. This just goes to show how much power the fundamentalist jews have in Israel today. They might be a minority, but they are well-connected and have great influence. I think it's fair to compare these fundamentalists to christian fundamentalists in USA. They are also a minority, but as long as the majority remains silent they are very powerful.

I can't help to notice the vastly tragic irony that a state that was created as a direct response to the Holocaust has now created an apartheid system where a group of people is systematically treated as second grade citizens who you are allowed to harrass, abuse and even kill. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the Palestinians are entirely innocent in this regard. Of course they have their militant fundamentalists as well who are just as despicable as the fundamentalist jews. My point was merely to point out what a destructive force religion is in the conflict between Israel and Palestine today. People tend to concentrate on the Palestinians and point out what a despicable organization Hamas for example is. That is very true, but people often forget that a lot of jews are just as despicable and proned to use unnecessary violence against civilians.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 11:03:02 UTC | #890005

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 25 by ANTIcarrot

Israel is already a religious state built upon religious prejudice, whose politics are dominated (sometimes wrongly) by a large far right religious element. Case in point: Gay marriage is still illegial there.

Does it suprise anyone, at all, in the slightest way, that they also have trouble with stuff like this?

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 11:08:32 UTC | #890008

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 26 by Stephen of Wimbledon

During a religious holiday last month, male residents of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood banned women from using the main streets ... defying a Supreme Court order ... the same neighborhood constructed a separate, covered sidewalk that women were forced to use, a measure also rejected by the court as discriminatory.

Critics say the issue is not religious tolerance, but equality.

I don't think the critics have it right. Am I the only person who looks at the evidence and concludes that these extremists are simply breaking the law - while campaigning to change the law?

There are many laws in my own country that I do not like. I don't go around habitually breaking them, while writing to my representatives and spending my weekends standing on street corners handing out leaflets and asking people to sign petitions.

I don't like that women in my country wear head scarves and cover their faces. But when I encounter them I don't taunt them.

This story highlights an issue that, to me, is critically important. The rule of law means one law for all - equaly applicable and, as far as possible, equally applied to all regardless of position and social standing - and that no-one is above the law. The rule of law, like free speech, is a foundation stone on which free, fair and just societies are built.

To me it is an obvious corrolary that the rule of law means that when a society makes a law it must pursue the application of that law - or be less free, fair and just.

If Israeli society at large has set the rules deomocratically then minorities, however much they may despise those rules, should obey them. By not doing so they make themselves less free.

These extremists, therefore, don't have a leg to stand on if they are arrested and charged with vandalism when they deface advertising posters or take them down.

In addition to campaigning for the proper pursuit of criminals and rule-breakers liberal Isralis need to be campaigning for the truth: These people not obeying the rules is a clear demonstration of their religious intolerence.

Religious intolerence, as the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra found, succeeds by forcing people to consider self-censorship as the easy option. Liberal Islaelis must, therefore, campaign vigorously for free speech. It is only by creating an understanding that free speech rights are not negotiable that we counter self-censorship effectively.

In addition, liberal Israelis should probably be acknowledging a failure to address growing extremism.

Peace.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 11:12:32 UTC | #890009

Moderator's Avatar Comment 27 by Moderator

Moderators' message

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Mon, 14 Nov 2011 11:16:11 UTC | #890010

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 28 by Vorlund

Comment 22 by tmaxwell83 :

Comment 12 by Vorlund :

They are in a tiny minority and appear to keep very quiet. If they had a group of ultra nutters like Andy Choudary there'd be plenty to say.

That's not an excuse. Allowing people to live in such a way in England is tantamount to condoning their beliefs.

So whose excusing them?

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 11:46:14 UTC | #890023

KJinAsia's Avatar Comment 29 by KJinAsia

Comment 25 by ANTIcarrot :

Israel is already a religious state built upon religious prejudice, whose politics are dominated (sometimes wrongly) by a large far right religious element. Case in point: Gay marriage is still illegial there. Does it suprise anyone, at all, in the slightest way, that they also have trouble with stuff like this?

This isn't quite correct. Israel is a liberal democratic state that has a large religious minority for whom politicians have had to grant certain allowances in order to build constituency. The religious minority holds way too much power for the good of the state but it certainly doesn't dominate.

Religion is historically and culturally embedded in their identity but most Israelis are not religious in a political way at all. I'm not sure the same could be said about some of their neighbor states.

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 12:47:14 UTC | #890027

Virgin Mary's Avatar Comment 30 by Virgin Mary

Comment 28 by Vorlund :

So whose excusing them?

The people who say, "oh well there's only a few of them and they don't commit any crimes."

Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:03:56 UTC | #890029