There is a growing controversy in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood where groups of Jewish men are regularly patrolling the streets to prevent Jewish women from dating and socializing with Arab men. The group called Eish L’Yahadut (Fire for Judaism) is composed of roughly 40 men who have been accused of some violent encounters as they seek to break up such socialization. They deny that they use force, but admit that sometimes confrontations have turned violent.
The suburb shares a security barrier with the Palestinian village of Anata and the scattered dwellings on the edge of Shuafat refugee camp. Many in the area find any such interaction with Arab men in the mall and public street unacceptable. One Jewish storeowner complained “Pisgat Ze’ev has turned into one gigantic whorehouse, please excuse the expression.”
One member of the Eish L’Yahadut (Fire for Judaism) named Moshe explained that “[o]ur goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they’re getting themselves into. In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Ze’ev have gone into the [West Bank Arab] villages. And most of them aren’t heard from after that.” He insisted that “[o]ur mission is not against Arabs. But it is for the protection of Jewish women, wherever they may be.”
Of course, those women probably have a notion of their own free will and just might not want to be protected by the Eish L’Yahadut — as opposed to going to a movie with a friend.
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