First, the Hidush.org report:
A flyer distributed in the Israeli town of Bet Shemesh reported that a local mob assaulted a girl and stoned her with a cinder block for dressing immodestly. “The hands of Torah sages keeping silent will be stained with the blood of the first ‘modesty murder’ victim.” Cautions Hiddush director Rabbi Uri Regev and welcomes budding counter-action from within the Haredi camp
A young secular woman who was waiting for a bus on Hazon Ish Street in Bet Shemesh was screamed and spat at, and stoned with a cinder block, by people who felt she was dressed immodestly, according to a flyer distributed around the increasingly ultra-Orthodox town. The director of the non-profit organization Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, Rabbi Uri Regev, who is also lawyer, announced that he would be contacting the police about opening an investigation into the case and putting the perpetrators on trial. He also called on the most prominent Haredi rabbis to issue a categorical halachic ruling condemning all violence in the name of religion and advising such thugs of their punishment from heaven.
The flyer reads as follows: “Last Friday people calling themselves ultra-Orthodox had the gall to suddenly burst into bestial roars at a girl, a daughter of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from among our misguided brethren [sic], who was innocently standing at a bus stop on Hazon Ish Street, spat at her and insulted her by calling out to her in horrendous screams, ‘Animal, you are not a person at all’ and so on and so forth, in plain view of a large audience and giggling children, and their evil tempers did not cool, until one among them with a white beard picked up with his rude hands a stone that has the power to kill and threw it with willful wrongdoing and hit her, while she collapsed beneath it moaning and weeping bitterly.”
The flyer proclaims: “Heaven above! Are we to suffer such people in our midst? Is it the will of the Torah?? Will we allow people in our midst to fall so low as to come soon to actual murder, and all ostensibly in the name of the Torah? Anyone who does not refrain from stoning a person from among our misguided brethren with a large rock, what is to prevent them tomorrow from murdering anyone who does not keep to their crooked path! Let us rise up against them and excoriate them and boycott them, lest it be too late!”
The editor of the weekly magazine Mishpacha, Rabbi Moshe Grylak, courageously publicized the affair in his personal column, “Point of View.” Grylak writes: “If it is Da’at Torah to hurl cinder blocks at human beings, then we want to see a clear halachic ruling on the matter from one of the great rulers, and then we too shall act likewise. In the meantime we will warn against it.”
The director of the non-profit organization Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, Rabbi Uri Regev, said he “welcomes the signs of budding action against the growing violence in the name of religion, and calls upon the police to act vigorously to stem the ongoing transformation of Bet Shemesh into the Tehran of Israel. The person who threw the cinder block must be found and put in jail for years to come. There is no room for tolerance in regard to violence in the name of religion, which is worse than ordinary violence, since it is backed by an ideology that deprives others of their humanity.” Regev also called on the most prominent rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox community to issue a categorical halachic ruling banning all violence in the name of religion. “It is only a matter of time before the first ‘modesty murder’ occurs, and the victim’s blood will be on the Torah sages’ foreheads.”
Yeshiva World also picked this up:
Yechiel Spira • YWN Israel
Last week, pashkavilim were seen in Beit Shemesh addressing an incident in which a woman appearing in immodest attire was attacked. The notices were a condemnatory message against the attackers, who assaulted the woman in the name of tznius. It stated the attack was perpetrated by youths and children, including throwing a stone at her.
Rabbi Uri Regev, who runs the Chidush organization, commented on the unfortunate event on Yaron Dekel’s program on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet. He has words of praise for Mishpacha Magazine, for using the forum to comment on the event in an editorial, condemning the behavior of those involved.
Regev stated all “mehadrin Jews” must distance themselves from such unacceptable actions.
[Hat Tip: Joel Katz.]