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Beit Shemesh Haredim Riot over Bus Segregation Arrest

Black hat extremists in Beit Shemesh are giving Israel a black eye again. A Haredi couple tells a woman to go back to the bus. Police arrest them, and rioters smash bus windows.
In 2011, Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely spoke to Haredi men during a bus ride in Beit Shemesh. Dec 29, 2011. Hotovely and several members of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women boarded a "mehadrin" segregated bus line to protest the segregation of women. The mostly female MKs sat in the front of the bus.

In 2011, Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely spoke to Haredi men during a bus ride in Beit Shemesh. Dec 29, 2011. Hotovely and several members of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women boarded a "mehadrin" segregated bus line to protest the segregation of women. The mostly female MKs sat in the front of the bus.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Beit Shemesh extremist Haredim, the ones who libeled Israel last year by spitting on a national religious girl, went crazy Wednesday after police  arrested a Haredi couple for telling a woman to go to back of the bus.

The only injury was Israel’s image, once again blackened by a small but growing number of extremists who have tried to make life miserable for secular and modern Orthodox Jews of the city, west of Jerusalem.

Involuntary gender segregation on public buses is illegal in Israel. Nevertheless, a Haredi couple demanded that a woman passenger move back to the back, prompting a call to police.

The couple was detained, setting off a riot that led to two more arrests of men who blocked a bus from moving. Other rioters smashed the windows of four buses.

One of the drivers told the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot’s website, “One of [the Haredim] took out a hammer and began shattering the windows. There were many women and children onboard. I tried to drive forward a little to scare them. After a few seconds they moved and we continued on our way.”

One passenger reported that women and children, on summer vacation, were on the bus as it was being attacked. In December, 2011, a member of a radical Haredi sect, an offshoot of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group, spat on a national religious girl for “immodest dress” as she was walking to school. The family, originally from the United States, has since moved out of the city.

The incident set off a massive protest of religious and non-religious Jews, including American-born Rabbi Dov Lipman, who then was a Beit Shemesh councilman and now is a Knesset Member in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

However, radical Haredim responded to the protest by throwing stones at city workers removing signs calling for the separation of the sexes on city streets. When Haredi activists put up new signs to replace them, the police who returned to remove them Monday encountered rioting by about 300 Haredi men who threw stones at police and burned trash cans.

Beit Shemesh, with its mixed religious and non-religious population and its mushrooming ultra-Orthodox satellite, Ramat Beit Shemesh, is home to more than 80,000 residents, including hundreds of new immigrant families from North America and Britain.

During the past several years, dozens of Neturei Karta-affiliated families, who could no longer afford Jerusalem’s soaring real estate prices, have moved into a new Beit Shemesh housing complex, adjacent to the neighborhood populated by Orthodox American and British immigrants.

Upon their arrival, the radicals attempted to intimidate both religious and non-religious residents by attempting to impose a strict “dress code” in and around their enclave.

Wednesday’s riot may boomerang against the extremist Haredim and hurt the re-election chances of Beit Shemesh Mayor Rabbi Moshe Abutbul, who is affiliated with the Shas Haredi party. The national religious community is campaigning against him, and the latest  riot will draw more voters to their camp and back a Jewish Home party candidate.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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43 Responses to “Beit Shemesh Haredim Riot over Bus Segregation Arrest”

  1. Eric Bradman says:

    It just shows, Arabs are not the only groups with fanatical elements !

  2. The Haredim must surely know they are violating biblical law shame on them – throw them in jail! It is a 'chilul Hashem'

  3. Sarah Rivkin says:

    Very dangerous behavior for Am Yisroel. We are asked to "Place these words {of Torah) upon your hearts", in order to soften our otherwise hearts of stone. Torah study and observance is for naught if we end up excluding all others. Ha Kadosh Bauruch Hu's Love and Oneness includes all His creatures.

  4. They should be jailed and they should be examined for excommunication. They may follow the Law, but their studies are wasted on those whose heart and soul are only questionably Jewish.

  5. Sorry6, I left out that these people are also 'terrorists', and bring great shame on Israel, Jews everywhere, and upon themselves.

    They haven't killed anyone yet, but their deranged and delusional behavior may well lead to something much worse than we have yet seen. This a great reason to get them to work and to join the IDF.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If it is such a big deal to the Haredi then they should run private bus lines themselves just for Haredi. It's not like they are busy serving in the military or anything. The idea that they have a right to do this on a public bus is crazy. I literally cannot understand the notion that they think this was a good advertisement for their lifestyle and faith.

  7. I, as an elderly woman, had a run in with one of these so-called "haredim" on a non-segregated bus. They don't have any derech eretz and therefore have no right to even think of themselves as haredi. No ture haredi would act in such a way. Shirley Cohen.

  8. Its one of the most embarrassing things to be compared to Arab Extremist. This behavior is against the Torah. These Hareidim are causing a Chilul Hashem. Where are their leaders? Why aren't they preaching against this behavior?

  9. Ruth Pepperman says:

    Not certain – I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong – but I think it's illegal for them to operate their own bus service.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Attention readers: these are just a fringe of Haredim. The vast majority of them would like separate sitting but would not scream at you if you didn't do it. they would just ask. So it behooves us not to generalize. The Yetser Hara attacks all of us- either to be less religious or under the guise of being more religious (when the chumra is not really a mitzva but a sin). The Yetser Hara knows it won't get the ultra orthodox to commit a sexual sin, etc but will trick him into becoming extremist under the guise of religious zealotry. End of the day the Yester Hara is the true enemy so lets not let this fall into his trap getting us to generalize hatred against haredim and disunity as that is his plan. Lets do the opposite and WORK ON OUR UNITY AND LOVE FOR ALL JEWS! WE CAN DO IT. TODAY LET US SAY " I LOVE ALL HAREDIM EVEN THE MISGUIDED MINORITY" 10 TIMES. Love you all; Avraham.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Attention readers: these are just a fringe of Haredim. The vast majority of them would like separate sitting but would not scream at you if you didn't do it. they would just ask. So it behooves us not to generalize. The Yetser Hara attacks all of us- either to be less religious or under the guise of being more religious (when the chumra is not really a mitzva but a sin). The Yetser Hara knows it won't get the ultra orthodox to commit a sexual sin, etc but will trick him into becoming extremist under the guise of religious zealotry. End of the day the Yester Hara is the true enemy so lets not let this fall into his trap getting us to generalize hatred against haredim and disunity as that is his plan. Lets do the opposite and WORK ON OUR UNITY AND LOVE FOR ALL JEWS! WE CAN DO IT. TODAY LET US SAY " I LOVE ALL HAREDIM EVEN THE MISGUIDED MINORITY" 10 TIMES. Love you all; Avraham.

  12. Hayley Rivka Heskiel says:

    lol, they're the ones advocating for it in their communities.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why are the Torah-observant men the ones getting the bad publicity? You acknowledge that the bus was on "a mehadrin segregated bus line." What's wrong with that? The men specifically requested that the company set up such service, and the company agreed, so that the men could practice TORAH JUDAISM. That means that Jewish men (any Jewish men) can ride that bus and guard their eyes and not stray by looking at women who aren't their wives, which is what Hashem commands Jewish men to do! That's called CAPITALISM: SUPPLY AND DEMAND. So they're just doing what they're supposed to do. What woman wouldn't prefer that her man was sitting on a bus next to another male, rather than eyeing, or striking up a conversation with, some woman other than her? In this case, it was the WOMEN who deliberately provoked controversy and tried to make a scene. It is THEY who are committing Chillul Hashem actions, just as the so-called "Women of the Wall" are doing. It is these women who are truly the "misguided" ones and who are acting against Torah and giving Jews (and women) a bad name. I am a ba'al t'shuvah and a former feminist who now, B"H, recognizes how the Torah is the Emmes Truth and secular feminism is b.s. We need Mashiach soon!

  14. Paul Hyams says:

    if they want segregated bused then that's cool – just pay for it yourselves with your own bus lines – don't expect public, tax paid for buses to bend to their needs. This goes for anywhere in the country not just Beit Shemesh – **** like this disgusts me and there is no reason for violence from people who learn torah all day – the Jews don't have enough enemies?!?!? If they learn all day then you'd think that even if they had a disagreement a little derech eretz would be the way to resolve problems – not damaging public property – like it's Egged's fault so they have to pay for it……in the famous words of Mel Brooks – LOZ IM GAYN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  15. Jacqui Burns says:

    But do they love me?
    Surely when the Torah says that MEN must guard their eyes, it is implicit that it is the man's responsibility not to be distracted. If these men were not wasting their time staring at whoever is sitting amongst them, they could use it for Torah study!
    I apologise to anyone who is offended by the sight of my arms in the photo. May I suggest you study the words instead.

  16. Ahron Ebert says:

    Mixed buses do not violate TORAH JUDASIM (which is redundint). These men are taking CHUMRUZ on themselves. They could always walk or ride bikes. Oh I forgot the Satmar banned bike riding.

  17. This behavior is atypical of most Haredim, but the possibility that Satmar or Neturei Karta are being paid by Iran/Hamas/European NGOS must be investigated.

  18. Moishe Sachs says:

    You cannot compare the genocidal Islamists worldwide with any other entity. If you do, you're sorely mistaken as can be clearly learned by spending time at the following web sites: thereligionofpeace.com memritv.org palwatch.org http://www.clarionproject.org to name a few.

  19. Yechiel Baum says:

    Time for Haredim Extremist to purchase their own buses or walk!

  20. We just have to accept that we, Jews, have good and bad people. Yes, there are Jewish criminals. And observant Jews are not necessary better because they feel that G-d is on their side. Now if it is illegal to segregate buses then haredim should be quiet. I am going to RBS in October to visit family and I am NOT sitting on the back because it is too hot and I would get motion sickness.

  21. These "haredim" don't want a liberal democracy in Israel. They would be happier in a theocratic hellhole like Iran. Time to stop tolerating these leeches and bloodsuckers.

  22. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Very simple. Give them one week to pack up their things and deport them.

  23. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Very simple. Give them one week to pack up their things and deport them.

  24. Chaiya Eitan says:

    It is people like them and you that are pushing me further and further away from Judaism. You have been brainwashed.

  25. Chaiya Eitan says:

    These men are so weak that the mere presence of a woman drives them into a sexual frenzy that they can't control?

  26. Debbie Shapiro says:

    yup. Originally there were private bus companies with seperate seating, but the gov. said it was illegal, but they said they would set aside certain Egged busses with seperate seating. Then, they said THAT was illegal! Soon it will be illegal to have seperate men and women sections at the Kotel.

  27. Debbie Shapiro says:

    From what I heard from several people on the bus — the Haredi woman sat in the front, and a Haredi woman asked her to please move to the back so that the men would be able to sit there. Being that the woman was from America, she had no idea htat this was a bus with seperate seating, and readily agreed to move to the back of the bus. The BUS DRIVER stopped the bus, closed the doors and called the police, because it's against the law to request that someone move on a bus. BTW, orginally the Haredi had their own buslines, but the governement said they were illegal, and offered to add extra buses for Hareidi neighborhoods, with seperate seating.

  28. Dan Silagi says:

    I'm not gonna mince words with you, Openid: You are the kind of perverted dreck which unfortunately gives all Jews a bad name, even the 99% of them who thoroughly disagree with this nonsense.

  29. Anonymous says:

    You are extremely naive to think that ALL men, even Jewish men, are not hard-wired by Hashem to think about sex, and that they're not visually-oriented creatures. Having separate buses, or having women out of their line of sight, reduces the opportunity for temptations. Nothing wrong with that. These men are actually trying to stay sexually pure. What a "misguided" concept in our world today, right? Women in Judaism are considered spiritually superior to men, so we do these things as favors to the men and to protect our relationships. I, for one, think it's a great thing! And you, Chaiya, totally misunderstand.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you. But good luck trying to convince non orthodox Jews about Torah values. they live in a self defense mode of self justification in order to limit their sense of guilt.

  31. Anonymous says:

    One is prohibited to study Torah in front of a women who not dressed modestly even if does not look at her. Bit of course they love you. they just are fighting the yetser hara we all fight against, even you, everyone at his/her level. Never take it personally.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I agree. Question is why do people not understand that simple truth you mentioned? Seems they are hiding from the truth…to many implications that might make them feel guilty. If they only new that the truth of the Torah is their friend not their enemy they would agree with you. If they knew the Torah would make them happier they would run. Hashem open our eyes to the goodness of the Torah.

  33. Anonymous says:

    LEARN SOME ZEALOTRY FROM THE CHAREIDIM WE PUT DOWN.

    There you go again with your "Charedi bashing". Why don't you say some positive things about them more often. This hatred is one of the reasons they respond so aggressively. They rightfully feel they are hated by the anti Torah Jews andnd instigators like the women on the bus (like women of the wall) who want to spread reform judaism in Israel. Add the fighting they do to protect themselves against the internet and sexual corruption in our society that has taken down so many of our modern orthodox kids. Face it our soft approach of talking to our kids and exposing them to sin but telling them to not touch does NOT work. The facts are there- thousands of the modern orthodox become modern Unorthodox (getting girlfriends and having s-x (its okay we will control ourselves, we are mature) boom they fall into the sin. But the charedim you criticize are falling much less and staying kosher, why? Precisely because today we need to be a bit extremist to protect ourselves because the yetzer hara is just too sneaky for our kids. He is eating up the modern orthodox for breakfast. Face it hormones exist. Place a modern orthodox male next to a female who is not dressed modestly and he is toast if she encourages a non kosher past time to the poor lad.

    Modern Orthodoxy does NOT work. They either become non orthodox or become Yeshivish. Yes, we need to be a bit extremist to survive. Its like running a marathon- you need to be a bit crazy with determination to win. Unfortunately this sometimes leads to aggressive disrespectful behavior to the less religious. Its an unfortunate by product of the attempts needed to survive. And surviving they are. Maybe we need to learn from them a bit of zealotry. Our kids will be happy and thank us. Face it, they are winning the religious war against the most basic sins (s-x) much better than the modern orthodox who preach the same values but they seem to fall on deaf ears. Hashem help us.

  34. Dan Silagi says:

    Did God personally tell you that?

  35. Debbie Shapiro Hopefully sooner rather than later.

  36. Debbie Shapiro Hopefully sooner rather than later.

  37. Debbie Shapiro Hopefully sooner rather than later.

  38. Let's make believe there are no cases of sexual abuse within the Hareidi world… then you'd have a point

  39. Susan Kane says:

    Huh. Too bad you didn't start your own country, without a constitution or a guarantee of equality for women, then you could control everything. Saudi Arabia and Iran are still available if you are interested in relocating.

    You are incorrect that giving in to this kind of extremism will placate them. It will not. It will embolden them. Now they argue about seating. How long will it be until women are confined to their homes? Beaten up for speaking in public or laughing? There is no limit to how far some men will go in their hatred of women. Giving in to that hatred is always a losing battle — you must stand up to it and resist with all of your might. These people (these specific people, not all charedim) are nothing more than terrorists. And Israel should treat them exactly the way it treats terrorists.

    Israeli charedim already have their own neighborhoods, their own schools, their own institutions. What more do they want? The public space belongs to all citizens of Israel. Anyone who is too weak to leave his home to see the diversity of Israel is free to remain inside. It is not appropriate for him to demand that the public realm be structured for his comfort.

    Do you think Maimonides demanded that the King of Egypt restructure public transportation so that he might feel more comfortable? In the shtetl, did they have separate sidewalks? Did the milkman refuse to speak to the woman selling eggs? If a Jew is too fearful of sex to leave his home, there is something wrong with him. Wrong with him and wrong with his relationship with G-d. Let him pray and do teshuvah and become strong enough to manage daily life. If he cannot do so, it is not the fault of a woman sitting on a bus. He must look within himself for the answer to this problem.

  40. Susan Kane says:

    Maybe if you had been raised frum, you would be able to tell a pious person who behaves with derech eretz, who speaks kindly to all, and who values and cherishes women from a misogynist who happens to be wearing peyes.

  41. Susan Kane says:

    ederyav I suppose if some Christian attacks me because he is just trying to purify his country and he needs to remove all non-Christians because they are distracting to those who are trying to follow Christ … I should also not take that personally.

  42. Susan Kane says:

    Their wives should refuse to go to the mikva and ask the court for a divorce. Only when the women of that community tell their men that this is not acceptable will there be any change.

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