Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 10th, 2012

A similar Rosa Parks segregation case (65 years later): Israel salafist Jews buses syndrome

Alexander Marquardt published on Jan. 4 “Israeli Rosa Parks’ Receives Death Threats”

The story goes:  “An Israeli woman started a fire-storm for refusing to sit behind men at the back of a public bus.   Tanya Rosenbilt is now getting death threats. Last month, Rosenblit boarded a bus in the southern city of Ashdod to go to Jerusalem for an appointment.

Tanya Rosenbilt told a government committee on Wednesday that she is being threatened by phone and online and has filed a complaint with the police.

It was a bus normally used by one of many ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect of  ‘Haredi’ who voluntarily segregate themselves on public buses. After Rosenblit took her seat behind the driver, a Haredi man got on the bus and refused to sit behind Rosenblit.

Rosenblit wrote on Facebook: “He looked at me with despise. I heard him call me “Shikse” (whore” in Yiddish). The police were called to resolve the situation. An officer asked Rosenblit if she would respect Haredi customs and move back but Rosenblit refused.

Comparisons were immediately made with the American civil rights movement and Rosenblit was nicknamed the Rosa Parks of Israel. Senior Israeli officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on down have condemned the incident.

Committee member Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said Wednesday that “We cannot allow a situation whereby people ask women to sit at the back of the bus.”

The incident is one of several recently that have started a fierce debate over the secular vs. religious nature of the Jewish state.  Another example, Haredi men spit and cursed the 8 year-old girl Naama Margolis for dressing immodestly.  Naama Margolis was recently featured on Israel’s most-watched news program because she was too afraid to walk to her  school in this Orthodox neighbourhood of Bet Shemesh.

President Shimon Peres has called it a fight “for the soul of a nation and the essence of a State.”

In Israel’s conscript army, there is a furor over whether religious soldiers should have to attend events where women are singing. The group “Be Free Israel” organized a protest last weekend, with women riding at the front of buses through Orthodox neighborhoods.  A spokesman for the group told ABC News the issue of women’s equality is only heating up and that they plan increase their activities.

In another recent incident on a bus, a Haredi man reportedly sexually harassed a female soldier for not sitting at the back of a Jerusalem bus.  Sholomo Fuchs told YNet on Monday: “She stood amidst the ultra-Orthodox men. It’s the most basic concept: A woman should not stand amidst men, just like no woman would go into a men’s bathroom. And so I called her a slut.”

In the last three decades, Israel social structure got biased toward a salafist Jewish religion overtone, focusing on the daily ancient customs and traditions of nomadic and tribal desert culture.




January 2012

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