UPJ speaks out against Haredi violence

It is always a strange feeling when an issue that has caused huge concern amongst those “in the know” suddenly hits the headlines and causes an entire nation to erupt with indignation.  On one hand, there is a concern about the possible repercussions of the truth being seen for all its ugliness.  At the same time, though, there is the sense of relief and vindication that efforts to combat a social evil have been justified.

This is exactly the feeling that we and the 26 congregations and communal organisations that we represent, along with our colleagues in the Progressive movements in Israel and around the world, experience as the efforts of the Haredi minority to make Israel a society segregated by gender are exposed as un-democratic, un-Jewish – and unacceptable.

The Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC) has been fighting these excesses for years and their efforts to expose the insidious efforts of people who use religion as an excuse to discriminate against women have been tireless.  

The revulsion felt by the vast majority of Israeli society at the sight of a Haredi man spitting on an 8-year old girl because of her “immodesty” will hopefully encourage the Government to act decisively against these groups and not allow their so-called religiosity to protect them from the rule of law and the demands of a democratic society.

We have written to Prime Minister Netanyahu in order to offer support and encouragement for him and his Government to stand up to those groups in the hope that this will lead them to take further action to ensure that Israel becomes the inclusive and democratic state described in the Declaration of Independence and longed for by Jews around the world, including within the State itself.   

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