Things it the town of Beit Shemesh, not far from Jerusalem, are escalating fast - Police arrest more then 20 Ultra-Orthodox in suspicion of attacking women. Israeli news crew assaulted by group of Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) men in Beit Shemesh.
PM Netanyahu to meet with ultra-Orthodox politicans to ask them to speak out against public segregation of women.
Religious Anglo residents of Beit Shemesh put up a fight against ultra-Orthodox encroachment : "We're turning up the pressure," said says Dov Lipman, a 40-year-old rabbi, author and teacher from Baltimore, MD, who has formed the "Emergency Committee to Save Beit Shemesh." "The future of our city is at stake."
"We're going to put up a fight," says Rachelle Goodman, a resident and committee member, who described how Haredim pelted her husband and small children with eggs and gravel as they walked along the thoroughfare linking the communities of Ramat Beit Shemesh A and B on a Friday night. "We are not going anywhere."
A Channel 2 news team was attacked and beaten by 200 Haredi men on Sunday morning in the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh.
Stones were thrown at the news team's jeep. One camera was also broken in the incident.
Police and an ambulance crew rescued the news personnel.
The jeep's windshield was smashed and its tires slashed.
One photographer suffered an injury to his hand and required medical treatment.
The incident occurred a day after a Haredi man was arrested in Beit Shemesh on the suspicion of cursing and spitting at a woman last week.
During the recent time more then 20 Haredi were arrested by the police, afater attacking,intimidating women in the town.
Religious Anglos put up a fight against ultra-Orthodox encroachment in the town -"We're turning up the pressure," said says Dov Lipman, a 40-year-old rabbi, author and teacher from Baltimore, MD, who has formed the "Emergency Committee to Save Beit Shemesh." "The future of our city is at stake."
Though the city's 2,500-family native English-speaking community continues to thrive, with its high quality of life and robust communal, educational and religious institutions, a growing number of residents are mounting a defiant stand in the face of what they consider the steady encroachment of radical Haredi elements upon parts of the city.
"We're going to put up a fight," says Rachelle Goodman, a resident and committee member, who described how Haredim pelted her husband and small children with eggs and gravel as they walked along the thoroughfare linking the communities of Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph and Bet on a Friday night. "We are not going anywhere."
"I regret to say it, but it's all about power and control," says the bearded, bespectacled Lipman, who considers himself Haredi, but with a "modern-Zionist" orientation. "This is the work of the Haredi political leadership, along with some of their rabbis, who want to establish Beit Shemesh - which has been a traditionally balanced city - as Haredi and impose their will."
Many English-speaking residents interviewed by Haaretz over the last two weeks expressed anger and frustration over what they called a seven-year Haredi "reign of intimidation" of local shopkeepers, pedestrians and riders of mass transit, with their demands for modest dress and separation of the sexes.
The spate of incidents and skirmishes reached a new low last September, when a group of radical Haredim held regular protests outside a newly-opened structure housing the religious-Zionist "Orot Banot" elementary school for girls. Citing what they called the girls' "immodest dress" and criticizing the city for relocating the school in close proximity to their community, the Haredim hurled insults, eggs and feces at young girls, calling them "shikses" (non-Jews ) and "whores."
Alisa Coleman, a British immigrant and mother of four whose children are not enrolled at Orot, was so outraged by the protests that she arrived at the school to help escort the children safely onto their buses. The fitness instructor-turned human buffer was spat at and cursed by the protesters. "We cannot allow this to continue," she says, adamantly.