There has been an increase in violence again in bet Shemesh, with a couple of recent incidents. That leads to the following guest post - Menachem wrote it better than I could, so I asked him if I could guest post it....
A Guest Post by Menachem
Below is an important letter about recent horrific events that occurred in Beit Shemesh. The young rabbi who wrote it has been at the forefront of trying to peacefully solve the issues between the Dati Leumi neighborhood in the Givat Shaaret neighborhood (Sheinfeld and Nofei Aviv) and our neighbors in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. He has met with their "Rav" and leader, set up lines of communication to deal with issues as they arise, and even arranged a project where the people in the DL neighborhood gave Shaloch Manot to our neighbors.
I'm giving you this background so that you'll understand that the person who wrote this letter is not given histrionics on this issue.
This is a very said time for us here in Beit Shemesh. You all have to realize that we are not dealing with some small insignificant fringe, the numbers below put the lie to that. We are dealing with a systemic problem in the Chareidi world that is spreading like a cancer. The more the chareidim make political advances like they did here in Beit Shemesh, the more they will be emboldened to behave in the manner described below.
If you consider yourself "chareidi" and this offends you, I'm sorry, but the massive silence on the part of the greater Chareidi community toward this behavior has made all chareidim accomplices to this terroristic activity.
This cancer must be eradicated. Preferably by isolating it and cutting it off from its source, but if that can't be done then more drastic means will be necessary. We are talking about nothing less than the heart and soul of Yiddishkeit.
We here in Beit Shemesh WILL react to this and we hope all good, decent Jews will join us.
I am sorry to report that there has been a recent surge in violent activity in the neighborhood.
1)Last Friday night some boys and girls were sitting together on the steps from Gad to Herzog and were confronted by some gold garbed hasidim. It was all verbal and related to "we don't do this in our neighborhood." But, of course, what is now verbal can quickly escalate to more as you will see in the next item.
2)This past Friday night things went to a much worse level. Three properly dressed girls were walking from Sheinfeld to RBS at around 9:30p.m. They were not making any kind of noise or drawing attention to themselves. After they past the bridge and began making their way up the hill they were confronted by many men - it began at like 20 and swelled to close to 50. The men were yelling that they should get out of their neighborhood. Two managed to run away but one was caught. They grabbed her, threw her to the ground, and kicked and beat her. A boy from our neighborhood was walking on the other side of the street and ran over to try to help. They beat him as well and he was told that if they saw him there again they "would kill him." Thank G-d, neither had to be hospitalized despite their bruises and scratches and thank G-d a chareidi family in the neighborhood called for them to run to them for shelter which they did.
I assume you are as enraged and as shaken as I am and we cannot remain quiet. The question becomes what to do. There are political options (I don't think it is a coincidence that these events happened on the heels of the new Mayor taking power and these people feeling they now can do as they please), police related options, press related options, and I am sure there are other ideas which some of you might have.