web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Violence In Beit Shemesh


.

Share Button

In one respect, the current, very public, controversy over gender separation in Israel is a no-brainer. It doesn’t take much to appreciate that private individuals cannot forcefully – and that includes harassment short of violence – impose their views on others and they surely cannot target 8-year-old children to make their point.

To make a big production of condemning such acts – and we certainly do – inevitably assigns to the perpetrators a substance they do not possess. Indeed, while there are those in the current mix who see themselves as modern-day versions of the biblical Pinchas, no authoritative religious sanction for their actions has surfaced.

Ironically, the mayor of Beit Shemesh is haredi himself and one wonders why those who take the law into their own hands feel they have to do so rather than pursue a political solution.

But there are several related issues that are both ironic and intriguing. Implementation of the principle in public places through violence and coercion may be wrongheaded, but the tradition of some separation of the sexes has a long and well-established history in our faith harking back to biblical times and the justified outrage over the acts of violent extremists cannot be allowed to empower secularists who would like nothing better than to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday that “Israel is a Western liberal democracy and as such its public space is open and safe for all, men and women. There is no place in [Israel] for discrimination. The police will continue to arrest all those who spit, raise their hand, and harass.”

What exactly does that mean? An open-air concert? A soccer match? A haredi rally in the center of Jerusalem?

Some clarification is in order from the prime minister, especially in light of the legislation MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) submitted to the Knesset on Tuesday that would define gender segregation as a criminal act punishable by a stiff prison sentence.

Shai’s bill provides for a sentence of three years for anyone convicted of “publicizing, inciting, preaching or encouraging gender segregation in the public sphere,” according to a statement issued by his office. Shai added that “the bill is meant to prevent and act decisively against those working to degrade and humiliate women in Israel.”

Additionally, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, “violations of the law committed in order to facilitate gender segregation or hostility towards the public because of gender affiliation will carry either a double penalty for the crime or a ten year prison sentence.”

It is crucial for the authorities to do all that is necessary to rein in the violent extremists and to ensure that they do not trample the rights of all Israeli citizens. And it is important that there be public protests condemning their actions. But it is also important that in the process authentic Torah values not be stigmatized or delegitimized.

Precision may be difficult, but it must be kept in mind at all times that the extremists do not represent the masses of Orthodox Jewry and that our Torah is not about the humiliation or degradation of Jews who happen to be women.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Violence In Beit Shemesh”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from Editorial Board

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

To be sure, American policy had long opposed the growth of Israeli settlements, but at the same time U.S. policymakers acknowledged that in any negotiated agreement there would be land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians to accommodate the large numbers of Israelis living in the settlements.

The issue of affordable infertility treatment has long been one of particular importance to the Orthodox Jewish community and we support the leadership of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who again successfully championed this significant cause.

So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.

The Department of Justice acknowledges that individuals can claim an exemption if they can demonstrate an adverse impact on their religious beliefs.

In the larger sense, Mrs. Lubling came to epitomize an Orthodox community dedicated to taking care of its own.

There may not have been much else President Obama could have realistically done, but the headline writers at the Times obviously felt the need to massage a front-page story that took a less than giddy approach to Mr. Obama’s policymaking; how else to explain the story’s headline – “As Sanctions Start, Russia Feels a Sting”?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-violence-in-beit-shemesh/2011/12/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: