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Israel - Court Threatens Ultra-orthodox Officials With Jail Over Beit Shemesh Modesty Signs

Published on: December 5, 2017 10:25 AM
By: Jerusalem Post
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Israel - The Supreme Court of Justice ordered the Beit Shemesh Municipal Authority to remove once and for all so-called modesty signs in radical neighborhoods of Beit Shemesh which tell women how to dress.

Despite the protestations of the Beit Shemesh authorities that its efforts to remove the signs are thwarted by determined members of the ultra-conservative neighborhood, the court threatened to jail city officials for contempt of court if the offending signs are not permanently removed.

The signs have been the subject of a protracted legal battle by non-haredi Beit Shemesh residents who have sought to have the signs removed, leading ultimately to a decision by the Supreme Court in September upholding a fine of NIS 5,000 per day against the Beit Shemesh municipality imposed by the Jerusalem District Court earlier this year for contempt of court in failing to remove the signs.

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On Monday, the Supreme Court gave a final ultimatum for the Beit Shemesh municipal authority to remove the signs by December 18.

The neighborhood in question, Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, is home to some of the most radical elements in the haredi community who take a militant position on what is considered modest attire for women.

Non-haredi women have said they are afraid to enter the neighborhood, and those who do report being spat on, cursed, and otherwise harassed. IDF soldiers entering the neighborhood have also been subject to severe harassment and intimidation.

“There’s no such thing in Israel, and there won’t be, as a road that’s closed to women,” said Judge Hanan Meltzer.

“The fines have not been paid, and there are other sanctions which can be employed, including prison. Do you really want that to happen?” Meltzer asked the Beit Shemesh officials and representatives in court.

“It won’t happen that women will be excluded from the public domain.”

In light of the efforts already made by the Beit Shemesh municipality to remove the signs, and the fact that the extremists subsequently replaced the signs, the court ordered the police to increase its presence in the city in the troublesome spots, and to be present for an extended period after the signs are taken down to ensure they stay down.

Representatives of the police agreed to these demands and said that the police would heighten its presence along Nahar Hayarden Street in particular, a major thoroughfare through Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet at the end of which is the largest and most recognized “modesty” sign.

Hazon Ish street will also see an increased police presence.

The Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement which has represented the non-haredi petitioners against the signs welcomed the ruling, saying that a situation in the state could not reconcile itself with a situation in which the rights of women in Beit Shemesh, or anywhere else in the country, are so badly violated.

“We, who stand at the forefront of the war against discrimination against women in Israel see this ruling as a great victory for the rule of law over the regime of violence, and for the rights of women and equality,” said Attorney Orly Erez Lahovsky, head of IRAC’s legal department.



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Read Comments (19)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 05, 2017 at 10:31 AM yonasonw Says:

Israel is not a theocracy governed by the most extreme among us. That shouldn't be a chiddush to anyone.

2

 Dec 05, 2017 at 11:04 AM VoiceOfSanity Says:

It's about time, Kol Hakavod. Next stop should be Meah Shearim.

3

 Dec 05, 2017 at 11:06 AM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

would the Zionists who hate Torah and tznius threaten Arabs, of course not! because their "Israeli Arabs brothers" enhance diversity.

4

 Dec 05, 2017 at 11:23 AM BoruchHoffinger Says:

Dear Judge Meltzer,
It's not OK to place signs re: 'modesty' in public places, but it is OK to destroy 17 Jewish-owned homes in Netiv Avos even though no one claimed ownership of these narrow strips of land, and your ( 'kangaroo') court wants to cause terrible pain & suffering to children, women and men?In ' Beth Shemesh' women can dress modestly, and there would be peace. Tell women to dress modestly.
'The Supreme KAT' Ha! Ha! Ha!
I just made 'Aliyah' & I feel like leaving. Ugh! 'Medinat Chelm & Cruelty.'
Ha! Ha! Ha! This 'Kohaine' & grandfather doesn't respect you.
Mafia.

5

 Dec 05, 2017 at 11:41 AM Anonymous Says:

Lol! This shld make news? Theyre shldnt be a sign at all. A modest people shld make up a Yiddishe medina. Israel is a secular despicable place where every goy and unaffiliated Jew wants to live in so called peace and the real authentic Jews r being ridiculed. Call it CHINA for god sake! Its not a Jewish land! Erlicha people hafta struggle to breathe. The gentiles in the US appreciate more our modesty than the Jewish lowlifes of ISrael. Horrible!

6

 Dec 05, 2017 at 12:01 PM A_glalitzyaner Says:

And this is called. Jewish state ?!?!? Lmaol

7

 Dec 05, 2017 at 12:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
BoruchHoffinger Says:

Dear Judge Meltzer,
It's not OK to place signs re: 'modesty' in public places, but it is OK to destroy 17 Jewish-owned homes in Netiv Avos even though no one claimed ownership of these narrow strips of land, and your ( 'kangaroo') court wants to cause terrible pain & suffering to children, women and men?In ' Beth Shemesh' women can dress modestly, and there would be peace. Tell women to dress modestly.
'The Supreme KAT' Ha! Ha! Ha!
I just made 'Aliyah' & I feel like leaving. Ugh! 'Medinat Chelm & Cruelty.'
Ha! Ha! Ha! This 'Kohaine' & grandfather doesn't respect you.
Mafia.

Dear BoruchHoffinger:

Please reformat your comment. It is not readable.

8

 Dec 05, 2017 at 12:28 PM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #6  
A_glalitzyaner Says:

And this is called. Jewish state ?!?!? Lmaol

Yes...no one ever pretends that it is a Torah state. Whatever we believe, surely you are not denying the Jewish identity of frei Yidden...nor can you be denying the secular nature of Israel's founding generation. Rav Kook was quoted more than once saying that the Zionists too have a purpose in Hashem's plans for Eretz Yisroel

9

 Dec 05, 2017 at 12:30 PM adar29 Says:

Reply to #2  
VoiceOfSanity Says:

It's about time, Kol Hakavod. Next stop should be Meah Shearim.

Next stop throw the judges in jail for not allowing
Breast naked women for walking in to the supreme
Court. There are decency
Protocols everywhere. Not the same as saying women aren't allowed. They are allowed. Just need to follow dress code just like in the courts. Try going bare feet and shirtless
To a government building.

10

 Dec 05, 2017 at 12:52 PM yamsar Says:

Reply to #2  
VoiceOfSanity Says:

It's about time, Kol Hakavod. Next stop should be Meah Shearim.

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

11

 Dec 05, 2017 at 01:19 PM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #3  
triumphinwhitehouse Says:

would the Zionists who hate Torah and tznius threaten Arabs, of course not! because their "Israeli Arabs brothers" enhance diversity.

Vat...I mean, who else but the Zionist's will protect the chicken s---t Chareidi draft dodgers and their hyper-zealous modesty gestapo?

The Zionists you spit on, religious and not, make up just about all Israeli war dead, sacrifice much to protect and maintain the Israel that is haven for all Jews, and protect your right to speak such rubbish.

12

 Dec 05, 2017 at 01:25 PM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #10  
yamsar Says:

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

Yamsar, if you do not know what kol hakovod means, I assume you are not exposed to even a minimally affiliated Jewish community...it is a widely used Hebrew expression, here and in Israel, that literally means "all the honor," and colloquially means "well done:" or "good job."

13

 Dec 05, 2017 at 01:43 PM yamsar Says:

Reply to #9  
adar29 Says:

Next stop throw the judges in jail for not allowing
Breast naked women for walking in to the supreme
Court. There are decency
Protocols everywhere. Not the same as saying women aren't allowed. They are allowed. Just need to follow dress code just like in the courts. Try going bare feet and shirtless
To a government building.

You are right. There are basic protocols for decency. Those are decided by a democratically elected goverment and enforced uniformaly across the board in all neighborhoods. Haredim can’t impose their extreme standards on the general public. Israel isn’t Somalia.

14

 Dec 05, 2017 at 01:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
yamsar Says:

What does kol hakavod mean? And whatever it means why couldn’t you write it in plain English?

Here we go again

15

 Dec 05, 2017 at 03:55 PM georgeg Says:

I have to agree with 3 and 4 in that the inequality and injustice perpetrated on Jews (and often by that court itself, and the double-standard against Jews when it comes to the Muslims) is so egregious that they have no moral authority on any matter, but in particular, on any moral matter.

16

 Dec 05, 2017 at 04:01 PM Beit Shemesh Resident Says:

Reply to #4  
BoruchHoffinger Says:

Dear Judge Meltzer,
It's not OK to place signs re: 'modesty' in public places, but it is OK to destroy 17 Jewish-owned homes in Netiv Avos even though no one claimed ownership of these narrow strips of land, and your ( 'kangaroo') court wants to cause terrible pain & suffering to children, women and men?In ' Beth Shemesh' women can dress modestly, and there would be peace. Tell women to dress modestly.
'The Supreme KAT' Ha! Ha! Ha!
I just made 'Aliyah' & I feel like leaving. Ugh! 'Medinat Chelm & Cruelty.'
Ha! Ha! Ha! This 'Kohaine' & grandfather doesn't respect you.
Mafia.

You just made Aliyah, yet you're an expert? Do you LIVE in Beit Shemesh? I suggest you do go back to NY; since you have such disdain for Israel, it's laws and its civil rights. I have no idea why you came here, but it's OK, you can go back. In fact, we'll help you. Go make nice with Chanina & all the other corrupt people you know as well as I do.

As for threatening jail: Dear Judge, PLEASE throw Mayor Abutbol in a cell & lose the key. Apart from his total incompetency & success in running our city into the ground, he supports these signs because the fanatics who put them up are his power base. They keep this weasel in power.

17

 Dec 05, 2017 at 04:04 PM I live in RBSG Says:

It's all very well ruling like this, but we all know the signs will be back up in hours and nobody, except people who protest them, will go to jail. Unless there are armed police in strategic places in Bet, this is a waste of time.

18

 Dec 05, 2017 at 04:40 PM favish Says:

Reply to #13  
yamsar Says:

You are right. There are basic protocols for decency. Those are decided by a democratically elected goverment and enforced uniformaly across the board in all neighborhoods. Haredim can’t impose their extreme standards on the general public. Israel isn’t Somalia.

listen here, the only legitimate claim of israel to the jews is the torah. so see what happens if yidden dont observe it...parshas bechikosay, parshes ki tavo and thruout tnach,dovid hamelech says in tehilleb 'vayitnu lohem artzos goyim bavir yismeru chukosov' 'and he gave the the land so they should observe the torah' so if you heretics say its a democracy so you lose your claim to the land and arabs have every right ti oust you '
you cannot have both

19

 Dec 06, 2017 at 05:38 AM RobertS Says:

Reply to #9  
adar29 Says:

Next stop throw the judges in jail for not allowing
Breast naked women for walking in to the supreme
Court. There are decency
Protocols everywhere. Not the same as saying women aren't allowed. They are allowed. Just need to follow dress code just like in the courts. Try going bare feet and shirtless
To a government building.

Walking on a public street is not the same as entering a property own by someone who sets rules for that property. And for public decency, laws of the state respect civil rights and sensibilities of the majority. You know, the chilonim? Nobody forces charedim to pay attention to women in public.

20

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