"…[H]aredi society will excommunicate you, because the haredi society will not receive your sons, it won't accept shidduchim [arranged marriages with your children]. You will be muktzeh there in the haredi society. On the personal level I say to you, think twice about what you're doing to your family and also the other haredi women there, you will be excommunicated for generations. They will denunciate you all, and rightly so, from the haredi community…"
Above: Ruth Colian (also spelled Kolian)
As Haredi Women Politicians Are Threatened With Excommunication, State Moves To Prosecute Haredi Leaders Issuing The Threats
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Speaking on Israel Radio in response to Ruth Colian, the head of a small group of haredi women who formed their own political party this week after the existing haredi parties had refused to allow any female candidate to run for office, Dov Halbertal – a prominent haredi attorney who was a close confidant of the late non-hasidic Ashkenazi haredi supreme rabbinic leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv – reportedly threatened Colian and the other women with excommunication.
"Be careful - the ones who become muktzeh [colloquially used here to mean “forbidden” and “outcasts”] here aren't haredi women – it's you who will be muktzeh because the haredi society will excommunicate you, because the haredi society will not receive your sons, it won't accept shidduchim [arranged marriages with your children]. You will be muktzeh there in the haredi society. On the personal level I say to you, think twice about what you're doing to your family and also the other haredi women there, you will be excommunicated for generations. They will denunciate you all, and rightly so, from the haredi community,” Halbertal said according to a report in Arutz Sheva.
Last month, a similar threat was made by the head of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party’s modesty enforcement committee, Rabbi Mordechai Blau (Bloi). The threat, issued even before the new all-women haredi party was launched, included confiscating women’s ketubas [marriage contracts that are supposed to protect women from financial and other abuse by their husbands, but in realty don’t], damaging their incomes (through boycotts, firings and the like), and throwing their children out of haredi schools.
Those threats are illegal, and that reportedly prompted Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber to write to the head of the Central Elections Committee, Justice Salim Joubran.
"I hereby bring to your attention that in these days the state attorney is investigating the criminal aspects that apparently emerge from the publications. A threat on haredi women not to exercise their right to vote that is given to them as citizens of the state is an act that must not be allowed. Therefore, the more that the charges are verified, this invalid act must be strictly condemned, while passing a clear message to all parties and the public about the indecency and criminal ramifications that may accompany it,” Zilber wrote, noting that the threats were meant to stop haredi women from freely voting their conscience or from having their own political party. That denies them the right all citizens have under law, she noted, and prevents them from having elected representatives who truly represent them. The threats constitute intimidation and the exclusion of women, she added, calling the threats "a serious phenomenon characterized by discrimination of women only due to their being women."
The Jerusalem Post reported that Justice Jourban sent Zilber’s letter to the heads of all Knesset political parties and warned them he would take the strongest action possible if Blau's threats were really made. (He apparently was not told that Halbertal made similar threats on-air or did not directly respond to them because Halbertal is not an officially a representative of any political party.)
“if what is alleged to have been said was in indeed said, it is possible that [it] would constitute a criminal offense in accordance with Clause 122 of the law for elections to the Knesset. An attempt to influence, through threats, a citizen from voting according to his own conscience (and even to run in elections) is forbidden in the most severe terms and this practice must be rejected in every manner as long as [such threats] exist. If any practical steps are taken to prevent haredi women from voting to their conscience or from running for election, I will not hesitate to make use of all powers granted to me according to the law,” Jourban reportedly wrote.
In the past, several haredi women who tried to run for office on existing haredi party lists or on the lists of non-haredi parties were also reportedly threatened, and all dropped out of political life as a result.