Sunday, September 11, 2011

Haredi Protests against national religious "OROT" school in Beit Shemesh

Photo: Tzedek Tzedek


Its been going on for a while now: Haredi "Kana'im" have been demonstrating in front of the national religious "OROT BANOT" girl's school.

Every day, a small group of Haredim (those Haredim who have a stricter opinion on modesty) have been gathering in front of the national religious girl's school OROT. The school itself says that it has a 40 % amount of English speaking students. In general, the English speaking population among the national religious in Beit Shemesh is quite high. In fact, there is an entire neighbourhood not too far away from the haredi part of the town which is almost entirely anglo saxon.

People I know in Beit Shemesh (from Chassidut Toldot Avraham Yitzchak) told me more than once that the national religious hate the Haredim at the other side of the bridge separating the two neighbourhoods. The national religious aren't too religious but extremely modern and always try to provoke the haredi population. 

I am not a specialist in the field of the Israeli school system but OROT in Beit Shemesh calls itself "Mamlachti Dati" school. Meaning a state - religious school. Can anyone please explain to me what the difference between those OROT girls and the NOAM girls is ! Is BANOT NOAM maybe stricter ?

The Haredim, however, don't like the national religious school too close to their neighbourhood, as the Dati Le'umi girls wouldn't be too modest and thus spread modern and immodest ideas in the area. It is hard to figure out who is right when people don't really now what kind of a school OROT is. Strict or just plain modern Orthodox national religious. The kind where girls wear jeans under their skirts and prefer the Carlebach style more than NOAM girls.

The national religious published this VIDEO showing the haredi Kana'im in action. From what I see is that the national religious are also provoking the haredi demonstrators in order to get some good pictures.


  1. We spent the past 2 years living in one of the mostly Anglo neighbourhood nearby, and my sons attended the boys division of Orot (adjacent to the new Orot Banot building). The school is actually Dati Torani, and the boys and girls study in separate buildings. I would say the student population is around 1/3 Anglo (that number includes children born in Israel to Anglo parents), and virtually every teacher is an Orthodox Israeli (men with large crocheted kippahs, some with payot - women with hair covered, longer sleeves and skirts). Just to clarify, the girls' uniform consists of a 3/4 sleeve uniform tshirt with a modest round neckline, and skirts below the knee. Socks are not required and sandals are allowed (very common in the Israeli heat, in which even some teenage girls in their Bais Yaakov school uniforms walk the streets of RBS wearing sheer nylons). In addition the school consists of children in grades 1-6 - meaning no girls older than 12.
    Of course all these details are irrelevent - so what if this were the local mamlachti dati school, with a more lenient dress code? These are not teenaged girls flaunting their bodies in bikinis - they are my friends' little girls and boys going to school and learning Torah (at quite a high level) along with the secular subjects.
    The fact remains that these men have nothing better to do all day than stand outside their apartment building watching little girls' ankles (the school is not next to any synagogues, rather abuts a newly-built strip of apartment buildings). They don't have jobs and are obviously not learning (or they wouldn't be there). The most extreme charedim in the world live literally right at the doorstep of several dati communities - in a community that didn't even exist when our friends made aliyah to those already established neighbourhoods less than 15 years ago. If they are unhappy they can leave and build their own community elsewhere, instead of trying to impose their fringe views on an existing mixed neighbourhood.

  2. It doesn't matter who was there first. We ALL have to try to care and respect each and every single Jew. If we all look hard enough we will realize that we all have to work on this issue.
    PS. The woman in the video could have walked to the other side of the street. She davka walked passed them because she knew what their reaction would be..that is JUST as bad... so quit the sinas chinam and help bring the Bais Hamikdash instead.