‘Modesty Guard’ demands Jerusalem woman leave ultra-Orthodox neighborhood
In yet another case of exclusion of women in Israel, a mother of two is threatened for having ‘crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel.’
A Jerusalem mother of two was sent a threatening letter on Thursday, in yet another case of exclusion of women. In the letter, the woman was told she must leave the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood immediately, for having “crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel.”
R., who classified herself as belonging to the “Masorti” movement, has been living with her two small children in the central Jerusalem neighborhood of Mahane Israel for seven months. She says the haredi nature of the neighborhood was unbeknownst to her when she moved there, but until today has enjoyed peaceful relations with her neighbors.
“I came back from America and needed an apartment urgently,” said R., “That’s how I got here.” She added that she is not a malicious person, and has no desire to stir up anyone. “I do wear pants, but not short ones,” she explained.
But, on Thursday, R. received a letter demanding she leave the neighborhood immediately, for having transgressed the Jewish laws of modesty:
“[I]t will not happen here any longer. We are requesting you leave our neighborhood for having crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel and modesty in our neighborhood. We ask that you leave our neighborhood immediately. [Signed,] The Modesty Guard.” At the end of the letter were the words, “This is a first and final warning.”
R. filed a complaint at Israel Police, where policemen assured her that they would increase surveillance in the neighborhood. “I had a neighbor that ignored a warning like this and they burned down her house,” said R., “It’s scary. I don’t know how I’ll leave the house tomorrow morning.”
About two weeks ago, during the Passover holiday, a young woman who went on stage at an event organized by the Modi’in municipality, was forced to get down immediately. She was replaced by only boys and men. The decision aroused a protest among audience members, who rejected the decision to replace the female volunteer with a male. At the peak of the incident, the performance was interrupted and was renewed for only a few minutes.