Monday, May 24, 2010

This Is A Wrap-Around Story

Many years ago, when we were all young, I seem to recall a friend who put on tefillin for a while.

She was female.

Credit: L. Nimoy

I recalled that when I read this (but wait, there's a political angle on this as well):-

...According to a release from the Israel Religious Action Center, Noa Raz was accosted last week by the man in Beersheba’s bus station while waiting to board a bus that she takes to her job in Tel Aviv.

Raz was asked by the man two times if the imprints (*) that he noticed on her arms were from tefillin. When she answered that they were, he attacked her, kicking and strangling her. He also screamed “women are an abomination.” It is being reported that she was able to free herself from the attacker and managed to board her bus.

Raz, a Conservative Jew, is a member of Women of the Wall...The Israeli Religious Action Center has asked the Beersheba police to label the attack as a hate crime, after Raz filed a report with authorities on Wednesday.

Up until here, I was all wrapped up in her story with full sympathy.


The executive director of Women of the Wall, Anat Hoffman, characterized the assault as not being isolated but instead part of a growing trend towards creating a threatening environment for women who want to pray openly. The incident “should not be seen as an isolated incident but as taking place within an atmosphere of growing violence toward and intimidation of women who seek to pray freely and equally," Hoffman told JTA.

She added, "Too often these acts of violence are tolerated. The fact that this man thought it acceptable to attack a woman for performing a religious act in private is an example of the escalation of violence targeted against women and against religious pluralists in Israel."

Dear Anat (a good acquaintance of mine in real life), if we treated all "isolated incidents" as a product of an "escalation of a growing atmosphere of violence" that is "tolerated", what are we to do about left-wing acts against chareidim, Yesha residents, etc. that we thought were simply aberrations of individuals rather than a result of an ideological onslaught against political opponents?

After all, there is always another side to the story:-

Poll: 83% of haredim suffer ethnic discrimination

While most respondents say they have not experienced phenomenon, majority of haredi sector say they, or someone they know, were subject to discrimination. Survey also reveals half of Israelis give State failing grade on 'acceptance of others'

And as a postscript, a tefillin imprint is so much better than a tattoo.

My own imprint:

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1 comment:

Risa Tzohar said...

So where's it all going???
Just wait till you have 'mehadrin' busses to Shilo...