Taking a lead from Muslim religious police and extremist gangs in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, orthodox Jews have created their own “modesty squads” to beat and terrorize residents who do not adhere to their own extreme religious views in ultra-Orthodox Maalot Dafna neighbourhood in Jerusalem. This includes throwing acid on girls who are not sufficiently modest. The government’s policy of carving out special neighborhoods for sects like the Haredi clearly contributes to this religious-based thuggery.
Residents, particularly women, are complaining of thugs who roam the streets to mete out punishment for not adhering to strict jewish customs.
One woman was brutally beaten by two members of the modesty patrol two weeks ago — gagging her, hitting, and kicking her. They told her to move out of the ultra-Orthodox Maalot Dafna neighborhood.
The woman known only as “M” has received little sympathy or support from her neighbors, including other women. As a divorcee, they denounced her (even after the beatings) for an “indecent” lifestyle from wearing trousers to meeting men in private.
Sound familiar? This is precisely the type of extreme views that have led to beatings and arrests in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, here.
Another vigilante was arrested after allegedly burning down a store that the community had denounced for selling “immoral” clothing.
The government has facilitated such extremism by allowing the Haredi sect cut off Mea Shearim on religious days and create a type of de facto Haredi zone. Residents with satellite dishes are attacked (another common practice in some extreme Muslim areas) and an electronic store selling such dishes has been attacked.
The store is under continuing protest for “corrupting the youth” and “selling these impure devices.” The store is owned by an orthodox Jew who has complained of “terrorism” by the sect.
In June, a 14-year-old Mea Sharim resident was taken to hospital with burns after a modesty vigilante hurled acid at her for wearing loose-fitting trousers and a short-sleeved shirt.
As discussed on this site, orthodox men have attacked women who refuse to go to the back of the bus, here.
While the government is arresting violent actors, it continues to tolerate religious based exclusion and seclusion in neighborhoods and in city services. The result is clearly enough to embolden these thugs — a modern example of the dangers of entanglement of temple and state.
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