Thursday, June 12, 2008

Israel Hasbara Committee on the "Modesty Patrol"

de-nial is more then just a river in Egypt
Israel Hasbara Committee -- "There is no official ‘modesty patrol’ and if there was it would not do things this way; the Rabbis would never condone such actions."
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IHC Follow-Up
By Michelle Marcello
Israel Hasbara Committee

Subsequent to the report concerning a 14-year-old girl from the town of Beitar Illit in Israel who had acid thrown on her, the IHC checked out the story with the Beitar Illit authorities to clarify the facts. A 14-year-old girl was in fact burned by acid being thrown on her. However the police have not named a suspect. According to Moshe Friedman, Media Advisor for Beitar Illit, this was apparently a teenage brawl or attack, where youngsters (juvenile delinquents) took the law into their own hands. There is no official ‘modesty patrol’ and if there was it would not do things this way; the Rabbis would never condone such actions. There are fringe groups in every city and Beitar Illit is no exception. The municipality attempts to work with these youngsters in various settings and 90% of them are actively participating in various programs. The municipality assists them in a professional capacity, both culturally, socially and educationally. The city is not ‘partially religious and partially secular’ as reported, but predominantly religious, with quite a few ‘newly returned-to-Judaism’ families whose children are not ‘there’ yet and hence the trouble makers. 75% of these children are dealt with in specific frameworks. Approximately 100 boys and girls do not participate in these specialized settings. It is a very small percentage and should not be blown out of proportion. But this in no way justifies throwing acid in someone’s face which is a criminal act. The victim was 3 days in hospital and was said to be doing well, according to an IHC source in the town.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the biggest problems with cases like this is that there are two different legal systems in Israel. There's one for those who are secular and one for those who are religious. I personally thing that since the religious court system is so corrupt that they should abolish it. I think that there should be one court system for all. Get rid of the rabbinical court system. It doesn't work. The politics stink!

June 13, 2008 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Modesty Patrol said...

Vicki Polin said back in 2001:
Threat Made To A Sixteen Year Old Girl

Jerusalem, Israel, 2001 -- I personally know of a case where the "modesty patrol" in Jerusalem was threatening to throw acid in the face of a religious teenage girl who was "off the derech." The girl's family was in crisis, she was seen wearing pants and hanging out with teenage boys. The "modesty patrol" basically told her that if she didn't change her ways, they would throw acid in her face. This would ensure the boys would stop looking at her and tempting them. A police report was made, yet nothing was ever done to catch the assailants.

The teenager was forced to leave the community she resided and live elsewhere

June 13, 2008 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Modesty Patrol said...

Blogger Daas Torah said:

Acid attack on 14year old girl in Beitar Illit not by Modesty Patrol

IHC Follow-up

Subsequent to the report concerning the 14 year old girl from the town of Beitar Illit in Israel who had acid thrown on her, the IHC checked out the story with the Beitar Illit authorities to clarify the facts. A 14-year-old girl was in fact burned by acid being thrown on her. However the police have not named a suspect. According to Moshe Friedman, Media Advisor for Beitar Illit, this was apparently a teenage brawl or attack, where youngsters took the law into their own hands. The ‘modesty patrol’ does not do things this way; the Rabbis would never condone such actions. There are fringe groups in every city and Beitar Illit is no exception. The municipality attempts to work with these youngsters in various settings and 90% of them are actively participating in various programs. The municipality assists them in a professional capacity, both culturally, socially and educationally. The city is not ‘partially religious and partially secular’ as reported, but mostly religious, with quite a few ‘newly returned-to-Judaism’ families whose children are not ‘there’ yet and hence the trouble makers. 75% of these children are dealt with in specific frameworks. Approximately 100 boys and girls do not participate in these specialized settings.

June 13, 2008 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Yochanan Lavie said...

Comment from Failed Messiah's blog

This is the kind of story I expect to come out of Iran. Completely unacceptable. Everyone involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

June 13, 2008 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This type of behavior should be expected from the charedi world. The sad part of this is they are judging others. They believe they are acting for "Hashem". Their self-appointed "tznius patrol" has become accepted and expected.

The sad part of all this is that they Their message is very clear: "Outsiders are not welcome. Either conform or be ready to get assaulted!"

June 13, 2008 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The girl has a right to dress as she wants. These "Religious" people should learn tolerance.

I read the posting of what Vicki Polin said back in 2001. This self-righteous group threatened a religious girl of the same thing.

What's wrong with these folks? It is normal for teenagers to go through a period of rebellion. Sometimes their rebellion is a reflection on the society that they live in, sometimes it's because they children are being abused at home.

The behavior of these so called "modesty patrols" is one of the reasons so many of young people assimilate. How many more Jews have to do this before things will change?

June 13, 2008 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ever happened to the belief that Being "Frum" also means being compassionate and understanding. There is no excuse for this behavior of violence.

June 13, 2008 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Nigritude Ultramarine said...

In a normal society, the men protect females and children. In Beitar Illit, they throw acid on them.

June 13, 2008 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Isaac Balbin said...

I'd like to see whether the so called Gedolim of Betar Illit and elsewhere put out a Kol Koreh condemning such despicable assaults.

June 13, 2008 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Deport the acid throwers to Saudi Arabia where they belong.

June 13, 2008 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Rabbi Michael Samuel said...

On the surface, assuming the details of this story is true, Haredi violence invites comparison to the Modesty police of Iran.

There needs to be more police in Mea Sherim to make sure these episodes of violence don't continue. Whether it be beating a woman who goes on a Haredi bus, or assaulting a young girl--we are witnessing the kind of sinat hinam that destroyed Judea nearly 2000 years ago. Have we not learned anything from our past? It's bad enough that we have the Muslim fundamentalists out to destroy us, must we assist them with our own people? Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

June 13, 2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife, my daughter, my granddaughters, do not wear slacks. My neighbor's wife, does. It's none of my business what my neighbor's wife wears.

If you believe that a religious way of life is better than a more secular choice SHOW BY EXAMPLE how religiousity makes you better.

Burning a young girl's face will only make her HATE religion and its followers.

Even in a Torah based theocracy, there is no corporal punishment prescribed for "immodest" dress. There are prohibitions against assault.

June 13, 2008 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Yochanan Lavie said...

The two biggest threats facing Israel are Muslim fundamentalism and "Jewish" fundamentalism (not mainstream orthodoxy). Muslim fundies make common cause with leftists, even though they will string them up if they win (like Iran after the revolution).

Israeli secular parties make Faustian bargains with our own fundies, in order to support settlements (or the "peace" process, as the case may be), etc. They bribe them with money and power, and secretly hope that they will give Judaism such a bad name that no sane person will want to be religious.

June 13, 2008 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even in a Torah based theocracy, there is no corporal punishment prescribed for "immodest" dress. There are prohibitions against assault.

That bears repeating.

And repeating.

And posting up on the streets of charedi neighborhoods.

And taught in their yeshivot.

And broadcast via loudspeakers in charedi neighborhoods at least once every hour.

You made a VERY good point, one that seems to be overlooked all the time.

June 13, 2008 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

How is the story different from Rav Ada bar Ahava in Brachos, who attacked a woman who he thought was dressed inappropriately? She turned out to be a gentile, and he had to pay a fine, but if were Jewish it would be an appropriate reaction. Jewish Taliban is nothing new!

June 13, 2008 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Hotspur said...

Seriously, Jewish women need to carry pepper spray or mace if they want to walk in these neighborhoods. Might I also suggest mandatory krav maga lessons to Israeli women who dare live near these "holy places." Let's see how brave those mamzers are when these women can fight back!

June 13, 2008 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger, Magdeburgerjoe said:

A 14-year-old girl from Beitar Illite was taken to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem after an unknown person spilled acid on her face, legs and stomach, causing light burn wounds.
The act has been attributed to a representative of the so-called 'modesty guard' in this town where religious and secular residents are increasingly at bitter odds." (Please click on above link for the complete story from Y Net.)

According to Y Net, tension has been brewing for some time between the "chareidim" and those with a more relaxed approach to religious laws regarding appropriate attire.
It sickens me to think that an act more befitting of the Taliban in Afghanistan could happen in Israel. It is safe to say that not one person was attracted to orthodox observance because of this terrorist act. Not only that, such violence against a young girl probably hardened thousands of people in their opposition to religious observance. I do not think for a moment that the creature who threw acid at the girl in Beitar Illit confines his violence to "irreligious " women. Such a person is probably abusive and demeaning to his wife and and daughters as well. There are a growing number of people from "chareidi" homes who are driven from religious observance by attitudes of rigid conformism in dress and behavior. Modesty is intended to enhance the individuality and dignity of women. The terrorist who attacked the girl of whose clothing he disapproved did not care about her soul or love of the Torah. If members of the "modesty patrol" keep infecting the world with their malignant hatred, they may find themselves with wives, sisters and children who are dressed like those against whom they so piously rail. If they ever stopped to talk with some of the people they now only see as targets, they might be humbled by their fine character.
I know and love many who would walk with fear in Beitar Illit. These are people who exemplify kindness and respect . These are people who are far more fitting as role models the "Jewish Taliban" in Beitar Illit and elsewhere. Learning Torah makes it possible to recognise goodness in a person who does not keep all of the commandments perfectly. A person is far more likely to heed a religious message if the good they do is recognised.
It is wrong for any human being to take away the freedom of choice that G-d has given us. A person who must define himself by the hatred he feels towards others must truly have a hollow core. After losing six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis, and after enduring countless terror attacks aimed at every Jewish man, woman and child in Israel no one can afford to impugn the value of those whose faith they consider suspect. It is time to repudiate this indecency that masquerades as modesty. We are starting to resemble our enemies. And that frightens me.

June 13, 2008 10:08 AM  
Anonymous You Tube said...

So what do the rabbis have to say about women on buses? If you think they aren't behind this type of behavior, then why is this happening?

Watch this youtube video
Israel busing - modesty patrol-modestly dressed can ride
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gUARu1wGHI

June 13, 2008 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca Honig Friedman said...

Rebecca Honig Friedman says:

Orthodox Jewish Women Wear Burkas — and Their Men Don’t Like It!

It seems made-up, but it’s not.

A group of haredi women in Israel have taken a cue from their Muslim neighbors and taken modesty to new heights (for Jews), donning burkas on the streets of Ramat Beit Shemesh and other ultra-Orthodox enclaves. Under the tutelage of one devout — and apparently ascetically inclined — mother-of-ten, these women have decided that the basic modest black outfit and wig or head-covering of their peers isn’t modest enough for them. They don’t want their flesh seen at all by men outside of their families, and wearing burkas does the trick.
Haaretz reported on the story in Hebrew but a rough synopsis in English can be found on the Muquata blog.

The new fashion has the religious authorities, none of whom have advocated this trend, baffled. As Muquata’s Jameel writes, “The radical Beit Shemesh tznius [modesty] patrol is even scratching it’s [sic] head whether someone managed to out do them, and leave them in the dust with the liberal left.”

Mother in Israel also has a post on the story and brings out an important point from the Haaretz article, that such obsessive modesty is akin to anorexia — “it’s obsessive behavior based on a desire to deny one’s femininity,” she writes.

This comparison to anorexia seems right on, but goes deeper than just the denial of femininity. [Side note: I’m no psychologist but growing up female in upper-middle class Jewish circles, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about anorexia.] Both anorexia and the burka-wearing phenomenon stem from an obsession with reaching an unrealistic ideal set up by society, be it a model’s lean and long figure or a model of modest virtue and spiritual purity. Both are ideals which the average woman cannot live up to, but trying to do so is an expectation of women in Western and fervently religious societies, respectively. The quest to reach both ideals involves self-denial, literally and figuratively. Anorexics deny themselves food in an attempt to wither away their physical selves (often the feminine curves that come with womanhood, as Mother in Israel points out), while burka-wearers are denying themselves the material pleasures of pretty clothing and physical comfort (it’s hot under there and hard to see) in an attempt to deny their physicality, to be purely spiritual beings. And both phenomena are about control, but here’s where the comparison veers off.

Anorexia is often said to be an attempt for the individual going through difficult circumstances beyond her control to take back some semblance of control by determining her food intake and controlling her own weight. Yet, when controlling her food intake and weight becomes an obsession, it ceases to be in her control. And when she becomes so skinny that she looks as though she’ll break in half, she has gone beyond society’s ideal and is not considered desirable but rather sick and unattractive.

These burka-wearing Jewish women have also becomes undesirable to their society, yet they maintain control over their social status. They’ve taken modesty to such extremes that their society deems them freaks — one man has even taken his wife to the beit din for violating shalom bayit [peace in the house], and he was issued a divorce because his wife was considered so outlandish. Yet, unlike with anorexia, these women still maintain a kind of control. Muquata, paraphrasing/translating Haaretz, calls the trend a “radical chareidi feminist ‘invention’,” and, while, on the one hand, the idea of wearing a burka as a feminist act seems absurd; on the other hand, insomuch as these women have been socially chastised yet persist in their behavior, there is an element of subversiveness to it that lends them power. They are adopting the ideal of modesty that to some extent has been ingrained in them by male religious authority (and no doubt by female authorities, too), but they are doing so on their own terms. They are taking the power of dictating women’s dress away from the male religious authorities in their community, deciding for themselves what modesty means and, in classic fashion, being persecuted for it.

These women have the right to wear whatever they want, but we should also question the values that have led them to such extreme decisions, and the society that perpetuates those values.

June 13, 2008 10:13 AM  

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