“Modesty Squads”: Orthodox Jewish Vigilantes Terrorize Israeli Citizens

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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15 thoughts on ““Modesty Squads”: Orthodox Jewish Vigilantes Terrorize Israeli Citizens”

  1. I was once accosted in Dallas by some clown trying to “clean up the city” after my gf at the time was kissing on me on the way into a restaurant. He was still there afterward. When I told him to get out of my face, he pepper sprayed my date.

    Crazy knows no national boundary.

  2. Dearest JENT,

    “Whilst” I think your idea has some merit, I hate to think of the havoc these ass-holes would spread amongst all the innocent Hobits currently living there.

  3. Clicking randomly on this link (as it was featured on the main page)I thought it highly amusing that many of the commentators were quick with the quips about Texas and sending all the world’s fundamentalists there. Whilst amusing, I am not sure this was the intended mood that the author had hoped to set. I think he was hoping for some more high brow commentary; don’t you? And whilst I too believe that fundamentalists of all ilk should be further isolated from mainstream secular society in all parts of the world, I am diametrically opposed to placing them in Texas.

    I believe, as an Australian, that New Zealand is the best place to isolate these maniacal religious fundamentalists. It is small, isolated, backward and in desperate need of a population boost. Furthermore, considering 10% of the NZ population (400,000) who live here (350,000 around Bondi) and the other 600,000 who live around the world are unwilling to return it is a prime candidate. At least they’ll have something else to discuss now, other than Rugby and anti-Australian sentiment.

    Better still, send them to Tasmania. Since, unlike our social security benefits, the kiwi’s would be unwilling to take our advice and let these people in! Hooroo.

    (Hello to all my Kiwi mates! The bait’s in the water!)

  4. Can’t we figure out a way to put crazy fundamentalists, of every stripe, where they belong; in Texas?

    As long as they’re not allowed in Austin.

  5. Wasn’t it nice of us to force an opposing Theocracy on the middle east?


    They’re coming along so nicely too.

  6. seamus,

    I like the idea of a fundamentalist homeland, where as Mike points out, everyone could get together to denounce everyone else’s extremism, maybe at a nice stoning barbecue. There’s been a lot of alien activity in Marfa, TX–anal probes all around!

  7. “Can’t we figure out a way to put crazy fundamentalists, of every stripe, where they belong; in Texas?”

    On the condition we can give Texas back to Mexico.

  8. Can’t we figure out a way to put crazy fundamentalists, of every stripe, where they belong; in Texas?

  9. As a Jew I’ve long known that there are fundamentalist crazies, with their own bigoted attitudes, in my faith. What is so ironic is that these same people would be the first to denounce Muslim excesses of a similar nature. We can all weep at those whose sense of self righteous hypocrisy causes most of the conflict in our world and keeps us locked into the stupidities of the past.

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