Court extends remand of man arrested for attacking woman

Beit Shemesh victim Natalie Mashiach: They called me ‘whore’ and ‘shiksa.’

arrest  311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
arrest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
An ultra-Orthodox man arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of involvement in a violent attack against a woman in Bet Shemesh had his remand extended for three days in a hearing at the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Judge Yaron Minkevich said that there was a “basis for reasonable suspicion” against Yehoshua Mordechai Bloi, 28, who will remain in prison until January 27. Evidence against Refael Ekstein, 31, and Nachman Segel also pointed to “reasonable suspicion against the suspects,” the judge said. Ekstein was released to house arrest and Segel was released on restricted terms.
Of the two other suspects arrested, Eliezer Liebermensch, 22, was also released to house arrest and Yona Eichler, 28, was released with a NIS 5,000 bond. The judge said that evidence against Eichler and Liebermensch was weaker.
Beit Shemesh resident Natalie Mashiach, 27, was hanging up flyers for the national lottery in the ultra- Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet on Tuesday afternoon, when she was approached by haredi man who she said cursed her and spat in her face.
According to Mashiach, she retreated to her car, when dozens of men started pelting her vehicle with stones, punctured her tires, poured bleach on her inside the car and stole her car keys. She then fled to a nearby building chased by the mob, before the police arrived and dispersed them.
Mashiach sustained a light injury from a rock which was thrown at her head during the incident.
A police representative who spoke during the court hearing called the incident “a cruel lynch carried out on the basis of gender.”
Following the incident, haredi news website Hadrei Haredim reported a witness as saying that Mashiach had been dressed inappropriately and entered a synagogue to post the flyers. When asked to leave, she behaved inappropriately, it was reported, and at one stage lifted up her shirt in front of the crowd.
Mashiach categorically denies this and said that she had not created any provocation whatsoever.
On Tuesday, she described how dozens of ultra-Orthodox men had surrounded her car and how she thought she was going to be killed.
“They called me ‘shiksa’ and ‘whore,” Mashiach told the press.
“They were going to kill me, I could see it in their eyes, the hate and poison, I couldn’t believe it. I told them I’m Jewish, how can you do this to me? Until now I didn’t believe that such poison could be expressed in Israel.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the investigation was ongoing and that security has been heightened in Beit Shemesh following the incident, adding that the police are conducting ongoing dialogue with leaders of the ultra- Orthodox community to deal with the problems that exist.
The city of 80,000 people has been the focus of religious tensions in recent months.
Members of the national-religious and more modern haredi communities have stepped up a campaign protesting the actions of extremist ultra-Orthodox residents, and what activists describe as attempts by the ultra-Orthodox to “take over” Beit Shemesh.