Beit Shemesh women challenge 'haredi extremists'

Eight months after 8-year-old girl was spat on, three women continue their struggle on women's exclusion.

August 10, 2012 14:07
Beit Shemesh women against exclusion of women

Beit Shemesh women against exclusion of women 370. (photo credit: Hadas Parush)

Almost eight months after the issue of Hadarat Nashim (exclusion of women) exploded in the media when eight-year-old Naama Margolis was harassed by haredi extremists outside the Orot Girls’ School in Beit Shemesh, three concerned women, including Naama’s mother, are still fighting for a more equal society in their city.

Hadassa Margolis, Alisa Colman, and Nili Philipp, modern-Orthodox women who call Beit Shemesh their home, only want to the ability to move about their city freely without worrying about being harassed because of what they wear.

In an effort to raise public awareness, the women organized a tour of the city to highlight areas where they still feel at risk, in conjunction with the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism.

The women's tour went through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods surrounding their own and described limitations on their movement within the city. Streets have big signs demanding that women avoid dwelling on one side of the street, in front of synagogues, and that they wear modest clothing, which includes long sleeves and skirts, and no tight or revealing clothing.

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