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WATCH: Ultra-Orthodox spit on “immodest” 8-year-old girl in Beit Shemesh

Since this news report last Friday, about a little girl from Beit Shemesh, secular-religious relations seem to be the only thing Israelis are talking about

Haredi in Bet Shemesh. "You are sick. I'm healthy" (photo: youtube)

Naama Margolis, an 8-year-old from Bet Shemesh, is the most famous girl in Israel today. In fact, nobody can stop talking about her.

And why is that? Well, on Friday evening, Naama told her story on the most watched news show in the country. Interviewed by Channel 2’s Shai Gal, Naama told how she was afraid to go to school, just a few hundred meters from her house in Bet Shemesh, because Haredim cursed and spit on her for being dressed “immodestly.”

The report, translated in full below, has sent Israeli public discourse on relations between secular and religious into a frenzy.

Since the report, the Israeli Prime Minister has spoken about it, the Haredi Beit Shemesh Mayor has condemned it, Haredim in Beit Shemesh attacked a Channel 2 news team who came to town again on Sunday, and rioted when municipal workers took down signs calling for segregation between men and women. They later put the signs back up. Today, the city announced plans to put up 400 security cameras.

But guess who hasn’t said anything? That’s right: the rabbis. Apparently, they don’t care. And why should they? It’s not like they recognize the state or anything. And guess what else: They don’t have to. Because the invalid who spoke from inside his car at the end of the item is actually right. Out of all the ignorance he spewed, he managed to say one correct thing at the end:

“All of Israel will be Haredi, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

He’s right. The numbers speak for themselves.

Actually, it makes the whole two-state, one-state discussion seem like a waste of time. What does it matter when in a few decades between the river and the sea, secular people of any nationality will be a small minority.

You’ll just have to chose your theocracy.

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    1. AYLA

      Sexualizing an eight year old girl. How holy.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Mitchell Cohen

      My family and I used to live in Beit Shemesh. This is one of the (although I would be lying if I said only or main) reasons we got the heck out of there, ran to Gush-Etzion and didn’t look back. And that was 7.5 years ago. It has ONLY gotten worse since. I have an 8 year old daughter and if anyone spit on her, oy va voy to them!!!!

      Reply to Comment
    3. john

      Ami – unfortunately you are right. Thirty years ago the hijab was an uncommon sight in Ramallah. Fifty years ago Palestinians in bikinis bathed off the coast of Gaza. Both sides are becoming more religious. The ultra-orthodox (even those who support a state of Israel) and the Islamists have much more in common with each other than either does with the secular Palestinian or Israeli populations. They will make an accommodation with each other that accords with their religious/societal needs (political and national needs being less important to either). When some of us say that the end of the 2-state solution is coming we are talking about this as much as about the physical problems of settlements. In thirty years time the Israelis and Palestinians will be at peace and sharing this land. But it won’t be the sort of country that you or I would want to live in. I suspect that long before then your own children will have relocated overseas. What a terrible terrible shame. Israel created a wonderful secular liberal European-style democracy on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. But in the end it’ll be swallowed up by the Middle East.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ramon

      Someone give that girl a can of pepper spray. Let them suck on that next time they try to spit.

      Reply to Comment
    5. alessandra

      crazy situation, difficult to believe for me as a European. extremisms touch themselves from both sides.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kibbutznik

      ” Actually, it makes the whole two-state, one-state discussion seem like a waste of time. What does it matter when in a few decades between the river and the sea, secular people of any nationality will be a small minority. ”
      great Ami just great
      now you have got me all depressed
      i’m going to go bury my head in the sand again and stop reading 972 anymore
      whats the point of anything ?
      we might as well give up now

      Reply to Comment
    7. @kibbutznik – I’d be more than happy for you or any one else to cheer me up with some encouraging stats, figures or analysis. Really.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Kibbutznik

      ” I’d be more than happy for you or any one else to cheer me up with some encouraging stats, figures or analysis. Really ”

      dont look to me i aint got none
      i aint gonna run either

      Reply to Comment
    9. Mitchell Cohen

      I don’t have any “encouraging stats” to offer, but I will say this: this is EXACTLY one of the reasons I am AGAINST cutting/eliminating child allowances. The thugs in this video will continue producing children like nobody’s business with or without child allowances. On the other hand, the secular/traditional families who would like to have more kids will have less children if child allowances are cut. Food for thought, perhaps?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Aaron

      Maybe that secular guy was right, that the seculars in Beit Shemesh are to blame for allowing this to happen. It was the secular and the national-religious residents who allowed the haredim to take over their neighborhoods.
      The beautiful souls (yefei nefesh) of +972 presumably oppose neighborhood autonomy, because segregation is supposed to be evil. But segregation, whether de jure or de facto, is the most just way to prevent this kind of destruction of communities. A neighborhood should be allowed to define its own character and, in the case of a secular or national-religious neighborhood, to forbid haredim from moving in.
      And just in case there are any beautiful souls who are still with me on this, I’ll add that a Jewish neighborhood should have the exact same right to protect itself against Arabs, and an Arab neighborhood the exact same right to protect itself against Jews. A few people’s feelings will get hurt, and not everybody will get what they want, but it’s the most just way, maybe the only just way, to preserve local communities.

      Reply to Comment
    11. @aaron – i have no idea if i fall under your categorization of Yefe Nefesh, but you know what I think is evil? Spitting on 8 year old kids. Pretty clear cut for me.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Aaron

      Absolutely clear-cut for me as well. Spitting on an eight-year-old girl is disgusting and inexcusable. It doesn’t matter whether that happened in Beit Shemesh or Bnei Brak. What I want to do is stop the haredim from taking over non-haredi neighborhoods as they did in Beit Shemesh.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Does anyone have link to info about upcoming demonstrations against this?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Tahel Ilan

      it’s actually starting to get annoying hearing everyone complain about the religious.

      seems to me most secular men jumped on board because they they think this will make secular women forget (and it has in fact done that) that most wrong doings in the past and the present are their own faults. They are the ones that opened the door for the religious to take it to another level.

      At the end of the day the only ones truly to blame are secular women. We long ago needed to stand up for ourselves and our religious sisters.
      We fucked up and we’re letting the men once again take the reigns of this war.

      Reply to Comment
    15. @tahel – that’s pretty extreme. but surprisingly, i think i might agree with that.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Alain

      Respect voor vrijwel alle geloven, waaronder ook het joodse MAAR niet voor de ultra orthodoxe. Begrijp niet dat als jezelf strijd tegen onderdrukking dat je dan een klein meisje zo onderdrukt en vernederd. Respectloos en slecht voor het uitdragen van het Joodse geloof

      Reply to Comment
    17. Leen

      You know, I’m surprised there isn’t hard line tactic against this type of harassment. If we were let’s say in England, and an 8 year old girl was walking to school, if someone spat in her or verbally harassed her, the person who did this would be thrown into jail.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Valerie

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jo

      “in the only democracy in the Middle East”

      Reply to Comment
    20. Ken Roseman

      I am really scared about what is going on in Israel. Fundamentalists of all sorts have more in common with each other than with others nominally of the same group. I am also opposed to large families/high birth rates, no matter who is the source. Large increases in the human population, accompanied by the resource consumption patterns that go along with market capitalism, means that preservation of the environment, even in its present weakened state, is unlikely. The combination of extreme orthodox religion, market capitalism, and extreme nationalism will have terrible effects on our planet.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Lili

      @Ami: Wow Let’s say I am chocked, now I got it when they talk about the tense of Israel. People live in the country without respecting it.

      There are a couple of things that I can think about now, this report is really great because it highlights something big in Israel but on the other hand watching this made me scared, and that’s also the success of the charedim they are fearing so much g od, and disrespect all the other things that we just fear them back. It seems unstoppable. Maybe it would have been cool and appeasing for everyone to finish on something different. I just don’t want that secular people fear them especially girls and women to the point of dress like they want. I mean we can’t let them win on our values. AND YES why they are not in jail ?? Where is the state?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Mike Middle

      Once again, the dangers of keeping church and state united have reared their ugly head. History shows that in every civilized nation this has required tolerance, and has never been able to be accomplished without serious bloodshed that ultimately leads to separation of church and state. They who take from the state coffers, accept the protection of the state yet refuse to partake in our security? They are protected my the military and police, who they refuse to join. They break the law they are foresworn to protect!…And in their zeal and myopia professing to keep the law by offer up a way forward in keeping a Jewish faith alive…. what garbage! my God, my God. What would Abraham have said? Leaders spiting on children? Children of faith! A provocative seven year old? What is next? Stoning? SHAME. SHAME ON THEM.

      Reply to Comment
    23. victor

      The liberals,¨moderate religious¨and secular people are the main responsible for the creation of a chavinistic,militaristic society. The orthodox are only an expression of the trends going on in Israeli society. Those who left Ein Shemesh and went to Adomim or Gush Etzion, instead of spiting and throwing rocks on other Jews, they are doing the same to the Palestinias.

      Reply to Comment
    24. its so sad whats happen here.
      women should rule the world,and im sure its will be peace and love in the holyland finally.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Azzazel

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment
    26. Belen

      The monster is turning on its master-how appropriate. (I especially love how they called the reporter’s comments “anti-Semitic.”)

      I can direct you to lots of videos of settlers spitting on and THROWING ROCKS at kids. Oops, those are Pali kids, so they don’t matter.

      Israel, you are reaping what you have sowed. Oh, hey, does that make me “anti-Semitic?”

      Reply to Comment
    27. Next year in Teheran. The destruction comes from within. All those millions of dollars worth of hasbara lost. Like we have seen often in the past, the real enemy of the state are not the victims of propaganda, but rather the ones behind it.
      Wonder if Goldstone has something profound to say tomorrow.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Michal

      Mike, this has nothing to do with keeping church and state united. Do you think that similar things haven’t happend in the U.S. or other countries where there is a separation of church and state? Spitting on anyone is illegal in Israel and just disugsting behavior — therefore a couple of these men were arrested yesterday. Police have been in Bet Shemesh since yesterday handling this issue. This issue is not being taken lightly by the Israeli government.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Lisa

      First of all, thank you to the subtitler(s) without whom I wouldn’t have been able to watch the piece. It was very, very interesting.

      I thought the guy in the end who said he had been there in the 50s (while the ultra-orthodox men he was speaking to had not) raised a great point – and it seemed the ultra-Orthodox couldn’t counter his argument.

      I would imagine that, like many things in the world, this had more to do with economics than religion or morality. All of that construction the ultra-orthodox are doing — while the secular mall project seems abandoned – will ultimately be supported by politicians. They want to see growth and spending, regardless of the social circumstances, so they’re not going to cross the ultra-orthodox for fear of losing that contribution to the overall economy.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Soy judia y ver esto me produce verguenza pertenecer a la religion que estos profesan……si no hacen algo para pararlos o que el gobierno deje de subsidiarlos como asi he oido, estos parasitos nos obligaran a negar nuestra religion por pena a que nos relacionen con ellos.

      Reply to Comment
    31. sh

      “They want to see growth and spending, regardless of the social circumstances, so they’re not going to cross the ultra-orthodox for fear of losing that contribution to the overall economy.” They want their votes too, Lisa. Don’t blame the haredim, blame an insatiable political leadership that has coveted too much and will end up with nothing.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Shran

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment
    33. Anat

      Question for Ami: What are the laws in Israel regarding harassment? Why do these extremest haredim avoid arrest?

      Reply to Comment
    34. Baht Harim

      Can’t stand these religious fanatics. There ought to be a law. On the other hand, in Saudi Arabia, she probably would have been beheaded.

      Reply to Comment
    35. sherifffruitfly

      Just like Afghanistan has it’s Taliban, and we in America have our own Christian version, so too, it seems, Israel has it’s own Jewish version.

      The evils of religion appear to be pretty much the same, regardless of what specific religion is under discussion.

      Reply to Comment
    36. My heart feels sad for this little girl. But I suggest the Jewish media begins to refer to these people as fundamentalists, so all can see that this Israeli phenomenon is the same as Islamists in Egypt for example. Once we realize that fundamentalism in on the rise everywhere, we can ask, and eventually discover why. And once we know why we can see what path is occurring.

      I suggest the current path is one in a series of humans struggling with learning how to live life in a way that is beneficial for all. But that requires people opening up to their hardwired internal sense to move to where all they do is optimal, and there is a consistent sense of reward (thorough enjoyment) while doing most of their daily activities.

      All fundamentalists today are fundamentalists because they are running away from this personal freedom potential. Yet, while they live in this manner, they inwardly realize they are not free, and as each day, week, and month goes by, they also realize they are experiencing a steadily increasing sense of inner restriction.

      The movement of human kind is toward greater personal freedom, and as Tahrir square and Tunsia showed us, this is an unstoppable movement. But even in its unstoppable nature, there will be many stops and restarts along the way. So weep for each moment of suffering, but don’t give up the faith. Freedom, truth and justice always win in the end; and struggle for what is righteous causes the eventual success to be sweeter and more pleasurable.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Bosko

      “Actually, it makes the whole two-state, one-state discussion seem like a waste of time. What does it matter when in a few decades between the river and the sea, secular people of any nationality will be a small minority”
      A few decades from now, couldn’t many Haredim children grow up shedding at least some of the bigotry of their parents? It is just as likely as not. After all, my grand parents were strictly religious. My parents less so and I could not be less religious. People do change and cultures too. I guess thet better change because this type of behaviour could lead to the end of Israel. These people need to grow up because the country faces enough external threats without having to put up with this kind of stupidity.
      Having said that, I do hope that this will not lead to a backlash against all religious Jews most of whom are much more decent than this.

      Reply to Comment
    38. ToivoS

      Lets see “All of Israel will be Haredi, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” and they do not work nor serve in the IDF.

      I guess foreign workers will be needed to work in all of those high tech companies that US capital has built to pay taxes to support them and foreign mercenary troops to defend the state. Seems Rome tried that and look what happened then.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Shran

      Funny that so many comments on this specific blog get deleted, is it really so hard to understand that these… specific… fundamentalists have a lot in common with a guy named Hitler ???
      Is the past perhaps so painful that you rather close your eyes when a repetition stares you in the face ???
      Please wake up 972, your kids could be the next ones telling stories like these.

      Reply to Comment
    40. @shran – your earlier comment was deleted because it was a call for violence. If you do it again, you will be banned from the site. Your choice.
      Good day.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Mitchell Cohen

      “Having said that, I do hope that this will not lead to a backlash against all religious Jews most of whom are much more decent than this.” [End of Bosko]

      Exactly Bosko. And I applaud Ami for deleting the comments he has. I saw most of them before they were deleted and they were the other side of the coin (to put it nicely)….

      Reply to Comment
    42. Shran

      If telling it’s hard not to wish something terrible to guys like these is a call for violence, then ban me from this site.
      It’s only an expression of an emotion, but if that’s not allowed, good luck raising your kids and don’t be surprised if they actually will act on their emotions and start calling for violence.

      Ami…. Good night.

      Reply to Comment
    43. @shran – your wish is my command. Consider yourself banned.

      Reply to Comment
    44. aristeides

      Toivos – Carthage

      Reply to Comment
    45. Eduardo

      I feel Jews should not fight among themselves, enough people around the world want to fight us. I “may” respect the way these ultra-Orthodox people want to live. It´s their life. But if I see anyone, Jew or not, harassing, bothering, spitting, insulting or making a Jewish girl or woman feel bad, I will go to him and let him have a piece of my mind. A man, I don´t care who he is or what he believes, that does that to a little girl or to a woman is a COWARD. Jews are not cowards, I have NO respect for a person who thinks that way. Shame on this men….

      Reply to Comment
    46. Giovanna

      What I don’t really get is why the Israeli authorities don’t intervene to uphold the law. Are these Haredim communities this powerful? For what I know, they are the poorest communities in Israel… And it seems that this is the most serious problem that Israel will have to put up with…

      Reply to Comment
    47. PPK

      As an American I have decided to no longer support any politician who continues foreign aid to Israel. Israel champions itself as a democracy, but apparently women are treated better in the West Bank than Israel. Also, as a Cornell alum I am ashamed that my university is pairing up with an Israeli institution.

      I used to think highly of Israel, not anymore.

      Reply to Comment
    48. incredible! How comes they permict this?

      Reply to Comment
    49. Jeroen

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment
    50. Bosko

      “I used to think highly of Israel, not anymore”
      Just about everyone else in Israel is as outraged about this stupidity as you are but you blame all of Israel for this? OK, by your logic, the next time a serial killer strikes in America, all Americans should be blamed for it (NOT!!!!!)

      Reply to Comment
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