The previously discussed tension between Orthodox Jews and the Israeli government has reached a flash point with violent clashes in the town of Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem. Reporters have been attacked by Orthodox Jews in filming the town.
A protest is planned by secularists and others to protest the harassment of an eight-year-old American girl who said she was afraid to walk to school because Orthodox men would yell at her and spit on her for not being sufficiently modest in her dress.
While it is encouraging to see the counter-movement against these extremist elements, much of the problem rests with the refusal of Israel to impose a separation of Temple and State. For example, a reporter was attacked this week for filming a sign telling women to cross a road so that they did not walk in front of a synagogue. Other signs instruct women to wear long sleeves, calf-length skirts, and other modest clothes. Such signs can only be posted with the knowledge and consent of the government. It should surprise no one that, with such encouragement, extremists proceed to harass and attack women who do not comply.
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