Haredim held a huge protest tonight in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem against the "persecution" they claim to suffer at the hands of the state, the media and secular Jews. At the heart of the protest is haredi leaders claim that anger over the physical and verbal attacks by haredim against women and children in Beit Shemesh and on buses nationwide is unfairly being directed at them – even though none of them have condemned that violence or done anything to stop it.
Arutz Sheva reports that:
…Notices posted in Hareidi neighborhoods of Jerusalem this week accused the secular media of “trying to convict hareidim for the crime of keeping to standards of modesty and holiness, as required by Jewish law, such as on buses and outside synagogues where hundreds of people gather.”
Referring to the controversy over the Orot Girls School in Beit Shemesh, the notices said that the protesters were demonstrating “against the insistence of building a girls school for National Religious students in the heart of a hareidi neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, where the girls dress immodestly in a way that hurts the sensibilities of the residents, who paid good money to live far away from the sick secular society that persecutes those who fear G-d," said the notices posted in Jerusalem and hareidi areas of Beit Shemesh on Friday.
Dati Leumi [religious Zionsit] residents of Beith Shemesh - particularly the Givat Sharrett neighborhood where the Orot school is located - dispute the contentions of the hareidim that the school is in the "heart of a hareidi neighbothood," saying that it is actually adjacent to Dati Leumi neighborhoods, and that the hareidim are not interested in "modesty" so much as obtaining the building for their own institutions.
Reports said that a hareidi protester sprayed some tear gas in the direction of Channel 10 reporters who were covering the event. Large numbers of police began chasing a suspect, while protesters began throwing rocks at police. Police reportedly cornered him on a rooftop and were closing in to arrest him.…
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews protest in Jerusalem against 'exclusion of Haredim'
Some protesters are wearing yellow badges to protest their alleged persecution for being Jews.
By Yair Ettinger • Ha’aretz
Over a thousand ultra-Orthodox men assembled Saturday night in Jerusalem’s Kikar Hashabbat (Sabbath Square), in protest of what they termed the exclusion of Haredim, a response to the recent outrage over the exclusion of women in Beit Shemesh and elsewhere.
The protesters also expressed their solidarity with Shmuel Weissfish, one of the leading activists in the radical Sikrik group. Weissfish is slated to begin his two-year prison sentence on Sunday for vandalizing a computer store in the same Kikar Hashabbat.
Some of the protesters are wearing yellow badges, with which they mean to express that they are being persecuted for their Jewishness.
A fight broke out in the crowd, after one of the participants was suspected of being a undercover police officer.
The past week has given rise to an increasingly intense confrontation between ultra-Orthodox and secular Israelis. A Channel 2 expose about an eight-year-old girl attacked by Haredi men for her ‘immodest’ attire, led to public outcry that culminated in a mass demonstration in Beit Shemesh on Tuesday.
Israelis have been also scandalized by gender-segregated bus lines and advertisers pandering to Haredi will by running ads devoid of women.
[Hat Tips: The Beadle, SkepticalYid.]