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Haredi Men Riot In Beit Shemesh After Crackdown On Exclusion Of Women

Haredi Men Riot In Beit Shemesh After Crackdown On Exclusion Of Women

Haredi Orthodox men rioted against police in Beit Shemesh to protest a crackdown on the exclusion of women in the public sphere.

The clashes occurred in two Beit Shemesh neighborhoods Monday afternoon. Two Beit Shemesh residents were arrested.

About 300 haredi Orthodox men threw stones at police and burned trash cans after police removed a sign calling for the separation of the sexes on city streets, Haaretz reported. The signs had been replaced after being removed the previous day.

Rioters on Sunday reportedly surrounded the city workers who removed the signs and threw stones at them. Some reportedly called the police who came to break up the riot "Nazis."

One sign called for women to cross the street in front of a local yeshiva; another called for women to dress modestly in public. The sign removal began on Sunday evening, when it was assumed that people would be in their homes lighting Chanukah candles, Ynet reported.

The municipality announced following media reports of attacks on women by haredi Orthodox men that it would install hundreds of security cameras in areas where harassment of women is occurring.

News teams from two Israeli television channels were attacked by haredi Orthodox men attempting to film in the city on Sunday and Monday.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 people have responded to a Facebook group organizing a march in Beit Shemesh this week to protest the treatment of women in the city and the increasing haredization of the city, Haaretz reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend called on the Israel Police to act aggressively against violence against women in the public sphere.

The order came from Netanyahu Saturday night through Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, following a television expose the previous evening showing an eight-year-old modern Orthodox girl who said she was afraid to walk to school because of harassment from local haredi Orthodox men.

Netanyahu reportedly also spoke with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to make certain that laws against excluding women from the public space were enforced.

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