Ultra-Orthodox Men Throw Feces, Call Little Girls Sluts

Ultra-Orthodox Men Throw Feces, Call Little Girls Sluts

This is the cost of education when you’re a little girl trying to get to your school near Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

According to the BBC, some of the local Haredi men are protesting Orot Girls’ School in Bet Shemesh, supposedly because the girls’ long-sleeved shirts and knee- and ankle-length skirts are too slutty, which offends the grown men’s delicate sensibilities. Part of this is apparently about the ultra-Orthodox people wanting the school for their own use and not wanting to feel as though their expanding neighborhood is being boxed in by the school. To underscore this point, the school is not even in their neighborhood, but apparently some windows look out over the neighborhood. Oh, the horror.

To demonstrate that they are pillars of modesty and morality who deserve the right to dictate how those around them dress and educate their children, what appears to be dozens of grown men took it upon themselves to throw feces at children going to school and scream to 8-year old girls about their sluttishness.

The ultra-Orthodox extremists apparently have few qualms about using violence to further their agenda. Back in September they staged a protest against the school and the “evil regime” that approved its founding. A female journalist was assaulted and spat on by a group of men. Two weeks prior, the men hurled rocks at little boys attending a school in the same network as the girls’ school, and a boy was injured in the leg.

There are plenty of videos online where you can see the men jeering at children trying to get to school, calling out in unison like misogynist zombies. Here’s the longer version of the footage used by the BBC, shot by a man giving a voiceover in English:

Sickening.

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

46 Comments

  1. How do these guys expect to be taken seriously when they insist on dressing like Weird Al Yankovic from ‘Amish Paradise’?

    • Generally by spitting on people and throwing shit at them and being evil bigots living off the taxpayers’ dime (in Israel, the ultra-orthodox do not need to work at all, and basically live on a form of welfare).

      • Really? They are living of welfare?

        Well, not surprising these bigots are big-time losers too then. No wonder they need to act like male apes just to prove themselves. What a spectacular way to fail at life. Too bad they take it out on innocent kids.

        • That was not meant to say that people who have genuine reasons to receive welfare are losers.

  2. While this is an especially nasty story, it comes as no surprise. Israel is a marginally democratic theocracy and the government and many citizen groups do many horrible things in the name of their belief system.

    Daily, poor people without the right to vote in areas illegally settled by Israelis are abused, injured and killed. The Israeli military has been charged with using horrible and illegal weapons like cluster bombs and white phosphorous against human targets in Lebanon and elsewhere. Jews are, of course, allowed to vote in Israel but Moslemand Christian Palestinians are prevented by participating in the democracy and are treated like lower life forms by the Israeli government and military.

    Israel, due to the US’ strong and very expensive support, goes unpunished for its disregard of international law. We would not tolerate such brazen disregard for such laws anywhere else but we let Benjamin Not-yet-you-yahoo rule over the occupied territories by what seems like an unregulated fiat.

    • Israel is hardly a theocracy. It is a modern secular democracy where citizens enjoy the freedom of religion. Israel does not have an official State religion (unlike some European countries).

      Just like many countries, there are divides between secular citizens, religious moderates and religious conservatives.

      These ultra-Orthodox Israelis are a tiny fraction of religious conservatives in the country. They are despised by many Israelis because they do things like are outlined in this article.

      • @vociferous: “Israel is hardly a theocracy.”

        De jure? No. But de facto, Israel is *way* more “theocratic” than some european countries with state religions, like Sweden or the UK.
        For example, israeli civil law forbids people from different religions (damn, even from different flavours of judaism) from marrying, which is why most couples travel to Cyprus to marry. It was only this year that an israeli citizen was granted the status of “non-religious” – after years of court battles. Israeli Arabs/Muslims (who make up, if I recall correctly, about 10% of the population) and their parties are routinely precluded from votes.
        Israel might be nominally secular, but the large and influental group of right-wing fanatics and orthodox has pushed the country, in terms of politics, closer to its neighbours (Arabia) than to its roots (Europe).

        • You state that: “israeli civil law forbids people from different religions (damn, even from different flavours of judaism) from marrying.”

          This is untrue. Israeli law does not in any way address the issue of interfaith marriage. Israeli marriage law is essentially a holdover from the British legal system whereby certain religious groups were permitted to conduct marriages and have those marriages recognized by the state. It is up to those religious groups who are authorized to perform marriages to set the criteria for interfaith marriages.

          Israelis who do not belong to a religious group authorized to perform marriages can have those marriages performed by Israeli civil authorities. Israelis who do belong to a religious group who refuse to marry them can have marry overseas or even in a foreign embassy in Tel Aviv and have their union recognized.

          Yes, it is true that the marriage system in Israel is an antiquated holdover from the British rule of Palestine but your statement that Israeli law does not recognize interfaith marriages is false.

          Furthermore, Israelis identify themselves as nonreligious or secular at several times the rate of the United States.

          Israel is a democracy and religious Jews may not even constitute a majority of voters. Religious extremists constitute a modest minority. Contrary to your claim, it is statistically impossible to have a Democratic country where a small religious minority has the majority of control. Religious conservatives make up a much larger percentage of the US voting population than the Israeli voting population, but the United States most certainly is not a theocracy.

  3. Disgusting.

  4. It’s always handy when these fools dress up in their ‘special’ uniforms. It allows us to spot the nutters a mile off.

    Anyway, I have to go and put the finishing touches on my Storm Trooper outfit. Back in a bit. :)

  5. (Video voice over by Richard Attenborough) “The religious shit thrower is a rare yet fascinating subset of the clinically fucked up religious hominid.”

  6. As a religious Jew (not Charedi / Chassidic) I can say that this is an utterly deplorable act. These Jews do NOT represent Orthodoxy in any way.

    I am actually ashamed that these types of acts (which I acknowledge are not completely isolated incidents) occur within my religion. I truly am.

    But these people are not representative of all Charedi / Chassiic Jews. In any sect / culture / race / religion, there will always be those nutters who do incredibly idiotic, terrible, disgusting acts. I am NOT condoning what these people have done or rationalising them in any way. I am merely stating that in every denomination of people, there will always be nutters.

    Their actions go completely against what they are taught and believe in. They are meant to “love their neighbour as themselves”, and to “judge favourably”.

    • Are they also no true scotsmen?

      • *high-five*
        Also: COTW!

      • I never said they weren’t “real Jews”, I chose my words carefully. As long as the men in that scene were born to a Jewish mother, or converted to Judaism, then regardless of their actions, they are 100% Jewish. So please don’t try and make out that my argument is fallacious.

        I said their actions do not represent Orthodox Judaism.

        To give an analogy, did the scientists that truly believed in the field of eugenics, were convinced that it was possible to improve society in such a way, represent mainstream science as a whole? They might have thought it was science, but the general consensus is that eugenics is not science. Does that mean they were not scientists? Absolutely not. They were still scientists. They were simply not practising science.

        The actions of a person that is taught an idea, preaches said idea, and then does something that is completely opposite doesn’t represent said idea. It means they are a hypocrite. And that is what these people are. Amongst other things….

        These idiots were not practising Judaism. They are distorting Judaism for their own personal gains and that is WRONG. However, there are many, many Jews who are on a similar religious “level” as these people who don’t chant abuse at 8 year old girls wearing “immodest” clothes or throw fecal matter (I honestly did not see any fecal matter thrown. Would someone please actually tell me the time in the video that it was thrown), or do anything of the sort.

        I honestly hope that none of you infer from what I am saying that I am condoning their actions. I cannot stress enough how much I am not doing so. But, whilst these people are almost certainly 100% Jewish, their actions do not represent Judaism, Jewish teachings or Jewish practices.

        • The thing is we know they don’t represent Judaism (or rather that we’ll be told they don’t). How abuot telling them instead of disclaiming it to us non-believers and rationalists?

          Otherwise it’s rather pointless.

      • Uncalled for. Lotak went out of the way NOT to commit the No True Scotsman fallacy.

  7. These men are messed up. Seriously!? Do they not realize how bad this will make them look to rational people, or do they not care?

    • Their problem is they are so messed up they think they are rational.

      The problem is that in Israel, the seemingly rational people who claim to be secular and in charge, are not willing to stand up to these nutters.

      It is sort of how the GOP can’t stand up to the teabagger wing of their party, and how the leaders in Pakistan can’t stand up to the Taliban.

      • It’s so true and I can’t understand it. Half of them don’t even vote. What’s the point of kowtowing to the haredim? I think, sometimes, that it is a sort of romanticized pseudo-nostalgia.

  8. Religion
    Poisons
    Everything

    Have truer words ever been spoken?

  9. Don’t monkeys throw feces at things they don’t like?

    Meepo!

    • Meepo,

      I think they just monkeyphided themselves! : )

      • Remember that these people don’t “believe” in “evolution”.
        And after seeing this, I’m not sure if I do either…

        • My understanding is that evolution has no direction: that a human is not necessarily more evolved than a bacterium or slug and that the best evolved are simply the best at breeding in a particular environment.

          These people are not liked by many of their own fellow countrymen and women because they are exempt from military service and yet are the fastest growing subgroup within the population.

          Meepo!

  10. I used to live right below Beit Shemesh in the mid 80′s and it just wasn’t like that when I lived there. It was a mainly Sefardi neighborhood that was a mix of denominations. I swear, the pendulum is swinging so far right, I don’t want to be in the way when it crashes back…

  11. Looks like a great neighborhood for a Slutwalk. If I had the money to go, I’d offer to attend in a mankini (if nothing else, it’d strike these assholes blind, and then their aim would suck…).

  12. Let’s review:
    Hirsute primates screaming,and flinging feces at people…I think I’ve seen this somewhere before…hmmmm…where was that?

    • All the time, it was…We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you!

  13. These guys are pretty much the Israeli equivalent of Fred Phelps and his followers, but unlike Phelps, they are not above throwing rocks at buses that run on the Sabbath and committing other illegal acts to make things miserable for secular and moderate Israelis (I’m assuming the Orthodox Jews usually get a pass, but who knows, maybe some of them have been attacked for not being Orthodox enough).

  14. Why does the University of Alabama come to my mind?
    .
    Similar ignorance I guess.

  15. FWIW, I am a Jew. I posted this link on Facebook and within hours I had amassed a ton of comments, all from Jewish friends, denouncing this behavior, and expressing various levels of disgust and outrage – including from a self-professed ultra-Orthodox Jew, who claimed this violated all the tenets of her religion as she understood it.

  16. We don’t even need to leave the North American continent to find spectacular crap from this cult. (Yes, I used that word for a reason.)

    “Yiddish signs briefly sprouted on Brooklyn trees asking Jewish women to step aside when a man walks down the sidewalk.”

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/breaking_news/yiddish_signs_ask_wburg_women_move_over_men?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheJewishWeekHeadlineNewsFeed+%28The+Jewish+Week+Headline+News+Feed%29

    The note at the end was great – they’ve also told women that tank tops are forbidden. And Brooklyn is definitely a hotbed of religious extremism, right?

    I call this a cult because it doesn’t even fit traditional Judaism. They have gone off the deep end to enforce Stone Age tribal customs – just like their fellow Muslim and Christian fundamentalists.

  17. I still hope that we, as a group
    won’t define ourselves by our troop.
    I know we’re monkeys
    but I still thought we
    had evolved past flinging our poop

  18. “Misogynist zombies” – wonderfully accurate. I just hope it isn’t contageous.

  19. For the record, what I’m about to say in no way excuses the abominable behavior which Rebecca expertly documented. It deserves to be exposed, ridiculed, and stopped. If I understand the commenters on this thread, this behavior is an aberration and not representative of the Jewish faith. I’ll take them at their word – I am not a Jew and have never travelled to Israel.

    However, I have travelled to Muslim countries in the Middle East. There, this type of misogyny is the rule not the exception (I saw the aftermath of an honor killing first hand, but I’ll save that story for another day). Which led me to wonder – how often has Islam been written about in the same vein on this blog?

    I searched the site for “Islam” and “misogyny” and found 3 posts, all from the same writer, and all from 3 years ago.

    I quickly searched Rebecca’s posts for the last 10 months – lots of posts on Christianity, a couple on Judaism, crickets on Islam.

    This is surprising to me. There is a huge misogynist rhinoceros in the room and we seem to be afraid of the misogynist mice scurrying around at its feet. I haven’t yet seen a compelling reason why this is so, but would be very interested in the answer.

    Is it because we know Christianity/Judaism and have an easier time criticizing it? Do we not want to ‘offend’ Muslim sensibilities? Is there truly a belief that Islam isn’t that bad when compared to other religions?

    • Oh look! Concern-trolling AND fatwa envy, together!

    • Hmmm. Someone brushing aside Rebecca Watson’s point by noting that Muslims are so much worse than the case she’s discussing.

      Nope, this tactic has never backfired on anyone. Carry on, Major!

      • See my first paragraph, I did not brush Rebecca’s point aside, I specifically addressed it. The rest of my comment was a bit off-topic, but on a blog which barely discusses Muslim misogyny one has to be off-topic to bring it up.

        How is this a ‘tactic’? Am I not asking a fair questions? Have I framed the issue incorrectly? I’m honestly at a loss.

        • It is ironic that Rebecca’s strong denunciation of the barbaric Muslim practice female genital mutilation was the start of all the recent misogynist hate attacks on her. See her post of March 24th.

          • Point well taken – however it also helps to illustrate what I was saying.

            Nowhere in that post are the words “Islam” or “Muslim” (I didn’t see the whole video so she may have mentioned it there). By contrast, there is a post here entitled “The Religious Right vs. Every Woman on Earth”. I’m not quibbling about usefulness of going after misogyny in Christianity or Judaism – that’s important. I am wondering, rather, why or how we have almost entirely excluded Islam from this discussion.

            Someone else accused me of concern trolling and fatwa envy which, aside from being ad hominem non sequiturs, couldn’t be further from the truth. Misogyny is bad, period, full stop. Yet we only seem to criticize major religions where that misogyny is the exception not the rule, at the same time we refrain from criticizing one religion where misogyny is not only the rule but in many countries institutionalized. That difference puzzles me.

          • @majortom
            And where exactly in the “The Religious Right vs. Every Woman on Earth” post was Christianity or Judaism mentioned?
            .
            If you need Islam or Muslim to be specifically mentioned to count shouldn’t the same be required for Christianity or Judaism?.
            .
            Female circumcision is a largely, though not exclusively, Islamic practice so it is implied just as much as Christianity is implied within the term “the religious right”.
            .
            I don’t think you are concern-trolling but I do think you are seeing what you expect to see.

  20. @majortom: I guess self preservation would be a major issue. How much hate can one person take?

    I mean, it’s all very well for us egging them on behind our pseudonyms, but most of the Skepchicks use their real identities.

    I for one would not want a fatwah declared against me, and there are plenty of real bastards out there that would be more than willing to oblige.

  21. A few details that aren’t getting much press that are worth mentioning:

    First of all, one should keep in mind that this is essentially an Orthodox (dati) v. ultra-Orthodox (charedi) dispute, not an Orthodox v. secular dispute. There are a lot more disputes in Israel that fall into the charedim v. secular category. What is to some extent notable about this is that the charedim are targeting students at an essentially religious school. The students at the school are non-charedi Orthodox.

    The section of Beit Shemesh where this is occurring is one that used to be a mixed neighborhood of mainly Orthodox and some secular Israelis (chilonim). However, over the last 20 years there’s been a large influx of ultra-Orthodox into the area as well as a drop in the number of chilonim. This demographic trend is contributing to the problem.

    There’s also a more general problem: the police throughout Israel are not very willing to do much when the charedim misbehave. They are afraid that if they do it will result in riots. This has lead to the charedim becoming increasingly emboldened and rioting over all sorts of things, archaeological digs, arrests of abusive charedi parents, etc. A typical example of this sort of thing is http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3921366,00.html Note how it ends with all charges against the charedim being dropped.

    The charedim have increasing power in Israel both from politics and by violent threats. While only a small minority of the charedim are engaged in riots they are not strongly condemned (if at all) by the other charedim, and it is clear that the rioters generally advance charedi goals. Israel could try to crack down on the charedi rioters but it would require politicians willing to take a real stand and police chiefs who are willing to take actions that will lead in the short-run to further protests and riots. Unfortunately, neither of those seems likely right now.

  22. Braaaaaaaiiiinnnnnss. Braiiins. Brraaaaaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnnssssss

  23. Excellent response to these a-holes. I read a very interesting book a while back: “Start-up Nation”
    ( http://www.amazon.com/Start-up-Nation-Israels-Economic-Miracle/dp/044654146X ) which details why Israel is doing so well in terms of starting and developing successful technology based enterprises. It is mostly down to the technical and science training that all Israeli young people (except the parasitic orthodox) get in the army. One of the big problems facing Israel going forward is the burden of maintaining the orthodox Jews who are able to spend all their time pontificating, praying, and popping out babies who also will never have to contribute to society except by throwing shit at their more productive fellow citizens. If current demographic trends continue, there will soon be more orthodox boneheads clogging up the country than productive workers supporting them. Something will have to give. If the orthodox are not curbed, Israel will descend into abject poverty and chaos and will ultimately be over-run by its neighbors.

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