Israel Police Called 'Nazis' After Removing Beit Shemesh Sign Ordering Exclusion of Women

Ultra-Orthodox Beit Shemesh residents cursed, shouted at police for removing street sign; several hours afterward, residents reinstate sign.

Residents of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Beit Shemesh called Israel police officers “Nazis” on Sunday, after they removed a sign ordering the separation of men and women in a street in that neighborhood.

In response to the removal of the sign by police officers and city inspectors from Beit Shemesh, a crowd of local ultra-Orthodox residents gathered around them, shouting and cursing at them. One man hurled rocks at the police officers, but managed to flee the scene. No one was hurt and no arrests were made.

Beit Shemesh sign removed by police - Shiran Granot - December 25 2011
The Beit Shemesh sign that was removed on December 25, 2011. The sign asks women to cross to the other side of the street. Shiran Granot

Several hours after the police removed the sign, residents of the neighborhood reinstated it.

Earlier on Sunday, a Channel 2 news team was attacked and beaten by 200 ultra-Orthodox men at the same location on the street where the sign that was removed had been hanging.

Beit Shemesh sign - Chadash Be Beit Shemesh - December 25, 2011
Beit Shemesh inspectors take down the sign ordering separation on men and women, December 25, 2011. Chadash Be Beit Shemesh

After the assault on the Channel 2 news team earlier Sunday, one resident living nearby said that the sign in question has existed for six years already. He added that it does not order women not pass in the street, but to abstain from gathering on the sidewalk.

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