The more extreme Orthodox Jews in Israel really need to back off before they seriously piss off the diaspora.
When I hear about them spitting on little girls who they deem not dressed modestly, stoning LGBT Pride Parades, or discriminating against women in the military, it makes my blood boil. As a secular Jew from the United States I will only support a free Israel — not an ultra-Orthodox one that seeks to clone the ways of Iran’s mullahs. The latest kerfuffle involves the right of women to pray at the famous Western Wall. According to the New York Times:
Amid outrage across the Jewish diaspora over Israel’s flurry of recent arrests of women seeking to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments – in defiance of Israeli law — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, to study the issue and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews.
The move comes after more than two decades of civil disobedience by a group called Women of the Wall against regulations, legislation and a 2003 Israeli Supreme Court ruling that allow for gender division at the wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, and prohibit women from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls there.
Such barbaric behavior and backwardness is an embarrassment to Jews everywhere. Many of us are truly fed up with the tantrums of religious fundamentalist nuts — whether in Gaza, Tehran, Cairo, or Jerusalem. These totalitarians want to dominate the majority population and violently impose their anachronistic values and views. When it comes to the diaspora it is our duty to stand up and says NO — and demand reforms. The answer at the Western Wall is to allow full access to women at all times. If the Ultra Orthodox have an issue with it, send in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to integrate the shrine. That way, the bigots can fight men in uniform, not bully women who want to pray. If God is so much on their side, they will no doubt defeat the IDF.