Feb 012013

(poster of a modern woman defamed by fundamentalists)

There is a rising anti-woman conservatism (centred mostly in Jerusalem) that demonstrates how women’s oppression transcends borders and cultures.  Early in the month of January, 2013, the Israeli news website, Ynet, reported athat 17 year old girl had been attacked by a gan of Haredi (Ultra Orthodox Jewish) youths, who threw rocks at her at a stop stop outside their Yeshiva (religious school). According to the girl, she was targeted because of her shot hair.  The youths yelled ‘lesbian’ and asked if she was a girl or a boy?

The Haredi make up ten percent of the population.  It is estimated that by 2025, they will make up at least 25 per cent of the country.   While Israelis shun the idea that they have anything in common with Muslims of Saudi-Arabia, they both seem intent on making women invisible.



JewishWomen in Beit Shemesh, Israel’s Jerusalem District. (no different from Saudi Arabia)

A ‘Rosa  Parks’ incident occurred recently when a woman refused to move to the back of the bus for a Haredi man.   One of the leaders of Haredi, Rabbi Scholom Aviner, insists that gjrls from 8 years onwards ware dark clothing and braided hair.

He is quoted as saing, “Hiding the body respects the soul, which is the essence of the human being.”

The Haredi in North America has applied the segregation of women from men (applicable to worship services) to a new level.  During the White House wait for the results of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, there is a famous picture of the nervousness on the faces of President Obama and Hilary Clinton.  A New York newspaper bowed to Haredi pressure and removed the image of Clinton.

How far does a democratic and secular society allow religious codes and laws to  exist when theyt diminish or take away human rights?



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