Not too long ago, a woman sat in the ‘wrong’ section of a public bus. A group of men asked her to move to the back. She refused. The men became more insistent. She still refused. Infuriated, the men punched, kicked and beat her. The bus driver did not interfere or call police.
Did this happen in America’s Deep South? In Taliban-controlled Kabul? In some Third World backwater?
No. It happened in Israel, and it is not an isolated incident.
The men who beat that woman are ultra-Orthodox. The woman herself is Orthodox. Her ‘crime’? She refused to sit in the section of the bus designated for women. (…)
Ultra-Orthodox lawlessness is not new. Ultra-Orthodoxy has a clear disregard for laws it considers secular and non-Torah-based, and ultra-Orthodox Jews have long sought ways to skirt or completely evade inconvenient laws and government regulations.
Ultra-Orthodoxy is a fundamentalist, rejectionist movement. It lacks transparency, democratic institutions, and checks and balances. It is closer theologically to the Taliban than is it to Reform Judaism.
And one day soon, it may be riding on a bus with you.