Jewish religious zealots attack “immodest” Jerusalem shops

October 18, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood on August 11, 2011 against the Jerusalem municipality for organising outdoor summer events, some of which will take place on the Sabbath on roads near religious neighbourhoods/Baz Ratner

A sign at the ice cream parlour may caution men and women not to lick cones in public, but the warning didn’t stop Jewish zealots vandalising the shop in Jerusalem’s main ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. Other businesses in Mea Shearim, including a book store and dress shops, have been damaged in night-time attacks by Sikrikim, a group of some 100 ultra-religious men who want one of the holy city’s most tradition-bound quarters to become even more conservative.

“Promiscuity” reads graffiti scrawled in black at the entrance of a clothing shop selling dresses whose lengthy hemline and drab colors have been deemed too racy by the group. Other stores in the neighborhood, where men wear traditional black garb and women bare little but their face, have had their windows broken, locks glued and foul-smelling liquid smeared on walls.

“They also threw once a bag of excrement inside and smashed our windows three times,” said Marlene Samuels, manager of the Or Hachaim bookshop, whose bright lights and large storefront sign stand out among smaller and more dimly lit businesses.

The shop has been attacked more than 10 times since it opened a year and a half ago, Samuels said. The latest assault was last week when one of the store’s branches had its locks glued overnight.

Samuels said the shop’s owner met with the Sikrikim several times. The store stocks only religious books, but they include volumes published by Orthodox institutions that are Zionist — anathema to the Sikrikim, who believe a Jewish state can be established only with the coming of the Messiah.

Read the full story by Maayan Lubell here.

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2 comments

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If this prove something, it must be that we understood nothing about world cultures, and Israelis’ in particular. The criticism most levied on Muslim was not because it is wrong, but because our inability to understand it. The world is big and complicated, nothing is black and white, and one person is so insignificant that to easily denounce something simply because its beyond our grasp can only prove how a fool we all are.

Posted by hereiam2005 | Report as abusive

Why I am not surprised when I realized that this appeared in REUTERS CANADA instead of REUTERS US. American news outlets seems incapable publish anything seems even remotely imply any criticism toward Jews in general. To think that we understand so little of the Jews and Israeli society. To offer unconditional supports to a society that we understand so little – is that not foolhardy?

Posted by hereiam2005 | Report as abusive