The victim was driving past a haredi synagogue when the attack happened, so she stopped her car and went inside to find an adult who could deal with the children, but the hasidim in the synagogue reportedly ignored her. She left the synagogue in frustration only to have the children outside start screaming “Shiksa! Shiksa!” [a derogatory Yiddish term for a non-Jewish female] at her.
Above: Haredim throw stones at police in Mea Shearim in July 2011
Haredim Throw Garbage At Modern Orthodox Woman, Scream “Shiksa! Shiksa!”
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
On Saturday night, a Modern Orthodox woman who lives in Beit Shemesh, Atara Beck, was driving her car through Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, an extremist haredi neighborhood of that divided city, when a gang of local haredi teen boys threw garbage at her car.
Beck, an immigrant from Canada, was driving past a haredi synagogue when the attack happened, so she stopped her car and went inside to find an adult who could deal with the children, but the hasidim in the synagogue reportedly ignored her, the Jerusalem Post reported. She left the synagogue in frustration only to have the children outside start screaming “Shiksa! Shiksa!” [a derogatory Yiddish term for a non-Jewish female] at her.
Beck got in her car and drove away. But the incident did not end there.
"A couple of hours later on the way home, one of the teens was standing there hitchhiking,” Beck reportedly wrote in a Facebook post. “I stopped and he actually came to the car to take a ride. Then he recognized me and tried to say the kids weren't doing anything damaging and I shouldn't be going to a synagogue.”
“These could have been bored, harmless kids who had nothing to do and had no supervision,” Beck told the Jerusalem Post later. “They didn't throw rocks or anything physically damaging - at least not this time. But after I went inside the synagogue to ask about it, no adult would say a word to me. No one reprimanded the kids or told them that they should apologize and that their behavior was unacceptable. In fact, it got worse. Because of the lack of response, when I left, mobs of them were screaming.”
This latest attack on a female by haredim in Beit Shemesh – there have been dozens before this along with similar attacks on Orthodox and haredi IDF soldiers; some of the attacks have including stonings, including one stoning attack against a woman and her very young infant – spurred more complaints against so-called mainstream haredi rabbis who fail to publicly condemn or confront the so-called extremist haredim who carry out the attacks.
"I am not aware of any real efforts by haredi rabbis to rid us of these violent extremists. I know that the internal violence within the haredi community is severe and worse than the violence we see towards other communities. The most oft-repeated comment is that the police should arrest those responsible,” Daniel Goldman, chairman of Gesher, a nonprofit educational organization that tries to serve as a bridge between haredi, Zionist Orthodox, Modern Orthodox and secular Jews, told the Post.
The police, however, rarely arrest haredi criminals – even when their violence is directed at women and children – in part because arresting haredi criminals can lead to widespread haredi rioting like that which took place in Jerusalem after the arrest of the mother who starved her own child or the riots that have occurred after several haredi draft dodgers were arrested by IDF military police.
"There is great resentment. Despite the words used by haredim stating say they don't agree with extremists, their actions – and most importantly, inactions – express [their] complicity [with the extremists],” a local resident, Esther Schwartz-Ivgy, reportedly said. She noted that extremism could be muted and partially stopped if the extremists and their rabbis were shunned by the haredi community. But they aren’t.
"I think the general [haredi] population sees [the extremists] as a [separate] extremist group that doesn't reflect on the broader population's values, and that it would be pointless to ‘counter and stand up' to them. By definition, their extremism would be hard to be reined in by general opposition. If there is something illegal going on, the law should take care of it. The rest of us are happy to live our lives and not engage with the extremists,” Sheera Scherman a local haredi woman, told the Post.
"In my opinion,” another local, Shoshana Zisovitz, said, “the extremists are a breed unto themselves, and even if they were approached by the [mainstream] haredi community it would not have the slightest affect on them.”
In 2012 after a series of attacks against Modern Orthodox pre-teen girls by haredi extremists, a local ‘moderate’ haredi rabbi, Chaim Malinowitz, refused to publicly condemn the ‘extremists.”
“The minute I respond to a request to address the issue, so that the ‘public’ can hear what a ‘moderate haredi rabbi holds, I’ve bought into your narrative, and have allowed myself to be suckerpunched. Do you also ask all Jews to condemn Bernard Madoff? How anti-semitic! Do you ask all Italians to condemn Mafia murder? That is racism at its worst!” Malinowitz wrote in a widely criticized online posting at the time.
Moderate haredi Rabbi Dov Lipman, a former Member of Knesset for the centrist Yesh Atid Party, condemned people who refuse to condemned the extremists’ violence.
"The rabbinic leadership is completely responsible for this behavior – and I refer to haredi rabbis whose congregants don't behave this way as well. I recently reached out to haredi leadership to come out against the extremists in a public manner and they have refused to do so - just as they did a few years ago during the Orot girls school episode. Their lack of action is to blame, and the more moderate haredim living amongst the extremists suffer the most, and they are the ones who have told me 'if only the rabbis would speak out against the extremism,’" Lipman reportedly said.
"The people in the community say that if the haredi leadership en masse would come out against the extremists then it would silence them,” Lipman continued. “I am tired of hearing people say ‘it wont help so we wont do it.’ How about trying it and seeing what happens? There comes a time when you have to speak out against that which is wrong because doing so is simply the right thing to do.”
The head of the city council’s opposition faction, Eli Cohen, who lost a close election for mayor last year, noted that Rabbi Moshe Abutbol, the city’s haredi mayor and a member of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party, has a lot of influence with many local haredi rabbis and could use it to encourage them to speak out against the extremists’ violence. Abutbol could also push police to increase enforcement.
“So the police should do what the police should do, and the politicians should do what they should do, and the rabbis should do what they should do,” Cohen reportedly said. “[But] to my sorrow…they are doing nothing.”
When asked about the latest attack on a woman and the complaints of locals about lack of police enforcement and lack of action by the city government to protect citizens, the city government and its haredi mayor declined to comment.