Israel charges woman for blasphemy for campaigning for equal rights

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8243726/Female-Israeli-activist-could-be-sent-to-prison-for-praying-at-Wailing-Wall.html

An Israeli activist who defied orthodox Jewish custom by leading a group of women in open prayer at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall has been told to expect years in prison for breaching the peace.

Anat Hoffman has been awaiting her fate since being arrested in August amid a worsening debate about her campaign to allow women to pray at Judaism's holiest site in the same way as men. The police have now chosen to ask prosecutors to charge her with "disrupting a policeman performing his duties under dire circumstances", a crime that carries a mandatory prison sentence of up to three years.

Many in the country's rapidly growing ultra-orthodox community believe that a woman's role at the wall should be limited to silent worship. Women should not be allowed, they believe, to read aloud, sing or read from the Torah.

Mrs Hoffman's case is a stark illustration of the growing power of religious groups in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem where the segregation of the sexes is becoming more common. She and her followers have been taunted and even assaulted by ultra-orthodox men at the Wailing Wall, part of the western wall of the Jewish Temple that was otherwise destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.

In August, she recalled recently: "They took me to the jail and told me: 'we're going to put an end to this behaviour; you won't get away with it any more'."

That she is facing so stern a request for punishment from the authorities is evidence, Mrs Hoffman said, of the rise of the religion Right in what is a secular country.

There are now over 100 state bus routes, many of them in Jerusalem, that offer segregated services requiring women to sit in the back. Israel's High Court yesterday ruled that the practice could continue. Many offices in the city also keep the sexes apart while a growing number of clinics require men and women to book appointments on different days.

"The religious world in Israel has become more and more extreme," Mrs Hoffman said. "Much like in Islam, religiosity is now measured by the distances at which women are kept from society."

Despite the threat of jail, Mrs Hoffman and her supporters are continuing their monthly services at the Wailing Wall. Mrs Hoffman and her fellow members of the Women of the Wall group test the boundaries of religious strictures by singing and praying out loud but they refrain from reading the Torah.

As they broke into song at a recent gathering, the men's section grew more restive as resentment started to stir. A bearded man, his black cloak marking him as ultra-orthodox, shook a fist at the women and yelled: "Burn in hell, you dogs."

[ sarcasm on ]
Yeah keep those women down! They should be in the kitchen not praying out loud at a holy site! [ sarcasm off ]

So discussion of this news piece and also a question i'd like to pose. Is Isreal becoming more and more like SA or Iran?

TheGuy(wantstobe):
Yeah keep those women down! They should be in the kitchen not praying out loud at a holy site! [ sarcasm off ]

So discussion of this news piece and also a question i'd like to pose. Is Isreal becoming more and more like SA or Iran?

I don't support the segregation on the busses (and in fact would argue that there is no foundation for it in Jewish law anyway).

The Kotel is however a religious site. Religious restrictions at a religious site don't seem unreasonable to me.

And maybe its just me, but I didn't hear any group or loud reading on the men's side of the wall either, at least on my visits. You could hear the quiet prayers of those present, but it is a quiet and dignified place. "Breaking into song" at that location would be very disruptive, I could see why people would be annoyed, no matter what the gender of the person was. You might note that the article says she was charged for breaching the peace (which being disruptive is) and not blasphemy as your thread title claims. Try to be accurate.

I've said it before, in your private little clubs you can have whatever rules you want, so in a church, mosque, et all, yes have your rules.

But in public transport, doctors etc? No. Religion needs to step away from anything such as that.

Rkiver:
I've said it before, in your private little clubs you can have whatever rules you want, so in a church, mosque, et all, yes have your rules.

But in public transport, doctors etc? No. Religion needs to step away from anything such as that.

A doctor is a private practice. They choose their patients and how they like to schedule them. If they want to see all senior citizens they can. If they want to specialize in women, they can do that too. If they want to put all their physicals in the morning and the sick people in the afternoon, they can do that too.

ravensheart18:

Rkiver:
I've said it before, in your private little clubs you can have whatever rules you want, so in a church, mosque, et all, yes have your rules.

But in public transport, doctors etc? No. Religion needs to step away from anything such as that.

A doctor is a private practice. They choose their patients and how they like to schedule them. If they want to see all senior citizens they can. If they want to specialize in women, they can do that too. If they want to put all their physicals in the morning and the sick people in the afternoon, they can do that too.

And yet none of those are examples of discrimination, whereas forcing women to take appointments at a time of day they do not wish to for religious reasons IS discriminatory. As you noted, it's quite possible for a doctor to specialise in one type of patient, if the concept of men and women in the same waiting room is so repugnant to their tiny minds, they can feel free to specialise in treating one sex or the other. Until that point, they must give any patient they are willing to treat equal consideration.

Further, to your carefully worded response earlier, designed to imply that a woman deserves to go to jail for three fucking years for talking too loud while the men are praying; is that really how far you'll go to defend your faith? You'll stand up and say that women, in a supposedly secular country, should be sent to prison for three years for protesting in order to raise awareness about discrimination?

sosolidshoe:

ravensheart18:

Rkiver:
I've said it before, in your private little clubs you can have whatever rules you want, so in a church, mosque, et all, yes have your rules.

But in public transport, doctors etc? No. Religion needs to step away from anything such as that.

A doctor is a private practice. They choose their patients and how they like to schedule them. If they want to see all senior citizens they can. If they want to specialize in women, they can do that too. If they want to put all their physicals in the morning and the sick people in the afternoon, they can do that too.

And yet none of those are examples of discrimination, whereas forcing women to take appointments at a time of day they do not wish to for religious reasons IS discriminatory. As you noted, it's quite possible for a doctor to specialise in one type of patient, if the concept of men and women in the same waiting room is so repugnant to their tiny minds, they can feel free to specialise in treating one sex or the other. Until that point, they must give any patient they are willing to treat equal consideration.

While I don't agree with the scheduling issue and while it has no real foundation in jewish law, neither men nor women are discriminated against by seperate booking times.

There are times at the gym I go to where only women can work out. That of course discriminates against men. There are no men-only times. Private businesses (well and actually this is a government owned business) can differntiate between clients to meet the needs of those clients. It doesn't trouble me as long as all clients are served.

Further, to your carefully worded response earlier, designed to imply that a woman deserves to go to jail for three fucking years for talking too loud while the men are praying; is that really how far you'll go to defend your faith? You'll stand up and say that women, in a supposedly secular country, should be sent to prison for three years for protesting in order to raise awareness about discrimination?

You are putting in things I never said. My point was ANYONE who was being disruptive there deserved to be charge with disturbing the peace and the prayers of both the men and women present.

The actual sentance I can't comment on because I know nothing about her priors, I don't have the exact details of her disruptive activity or if she resisted efforts to quiet things down when asked, etc. Those things always impacts sentance.

She went to a holy site to disrupt it, and she was charged. Gender isn't an issue, the fact that she was being deliberately distruptive is.

religion is a sick old dog that needs to be put down for the good of humanity

TheGuy(wantstobe):

There are now over 100 state bus routes, many of them in Jerusalem, that offer segregated services requiring women to sit in the back. Israel's High Court yesterday ruled that the practice could continue. Many offices in the city also keep the sexes apart while a growing number of clinics require men and women to book appointments on different days.

State bus routes? As in, operated by the state? And they do that?

.... What the hell, Israel?

I've heard a couple of other reports on the very patriarchal way things are still being handled in Israel. An interview with an Israeli feminist was particularily interesting in that regard. So, I'm not totally surprised to read any of that. They need a Rosa Parks.

Um...yeah. Pretty messed up, on both the buses and the Wailing Wall. The latter I can only really sigh about, but the former is just repugnant.

I didn't know Israel had blasphemy laws. To me, this just makes me wonder if Israeli democracy was ever truly there.

Hey, wait a minute. I don't see any incidences of the word blasphemy in that article. Did you just make that up?

This article needs a lot more detail too. Why were they charged with disrupting a policeman if they were just making noise at the wall? Where is the legal distinction between quiet prayer and prayer through song in a secular country? How is the wall regulated? I doubt it's run by a private organization like those Sharia wannabe clinics.

And how the hell does breaching the peace carry a jail sentence of three years? How does it square with the "dire circumstances" mentioned in the accusation and how were those circumstances "dire."

And although private organizations can make whatever rules they want, public officials don't usually enforce them to fullest extent of their powers.

There are times at the gym I go to where only women can work out. That of course discriminates against men. There are no men-only times. Private businesses (well and actually this is a government owned business) can differntiate between clients to meet the needs of those clients. It doesn't trouble me as long as all clients are served.

There's a rather huge difference between those instances and segregation inspired by religious misogyny, which the article suggests is the case in comparing it to the bus issue.

maturin:
Hey, wait a minute. I don't see any incidences of the word blasphemy in that article. Did you just make that up?

Yes, he just made that up.

It's time for passive resistance, every lady that cares should be hustling to that wall and causing "disturbances" until the prisons are so full they can't handle it, until nobody can make a baby because all the women are in prison. They can't arrest them all, they can't kill them all, it's now that these women need to stand up. They have a potential Rosa Parks in the works here.

The question is, of course, whether or not the other women in the country will rally for liberation or if they have been so firmly put in their places that they can't find the will to come back for more.

Time to get all Ghandi on their misogynistic asses!

ravensheart18:
There are times at the gym I go to where only women can work out. That of course discriminates against men. There are no men-only times. Private businesses (well and actually this is a government owned business) can differntiate between clients to meet the needs of those clients. It doesn't trouble me as long as all clients are served.

It's stuff like this that makes me sigh and think the entire last century was a waste of time.

There are women only times at the gym because for numerous social and historical reasons some women feel uncomfortable doing physical exercise in front of men. Yes it is discriminatory and in an ideal world wouldn't happen, but to say that vindicates every form of discrimination anywhere is a pathetic argument. If there was a compelling social reason why some men might not be comfortable working out in front of women we would have our own gym times, we don't because there is no need, as should be very obvious.

'Men and women need to be kept separate' is not a compelling social reason, it's an arbitrary rule with potentially negative consequences for those involved. It also violates the core requirements of a secular state, but then I think we're long past the illusion that Israel is a secular state.

So being a women in Israel is a bit like being a black person in America's past?

evilthecat:

ravensheart18:
There are times at the gym I go to where only women can work out. That of course discriminates against men. There are no men-only times. Private businesses (well and actually this is a government owned business) can differntiate between clients to meet the needs of those clients. It doesn't trouble me as long as all clients are served.

It's stuff like this that makes me sigh and think the entire last century was a waste of time.

There are women only times at the gym because for numerous social and historical reasons some women feel uncomfortable doing physical exercise in front of men. Yes it is discriminatory and in an ideal world wouldn't happen, but to say that vindicates every form of discrimination anywhere is a pathetic argument. If there was a compelling social reason why some men might not be comfortable working out in front of women we would have our own gym times, we don't because there is no need, as should be very obvious.

'Men and women need to be kept separate' is not a compelling social reason, it's an arbitrary rule with potentially negative consequences for those involved. It also violates the core requirements of a secular state, but then I think we're long past the illusion that Israel is a secular state.

Only men are allowed to pray aloud at the Wailing Wall because for numerous religious reasons ultra-orthodox men feel uncomfortable hearing women sing. Yes, it is discriminatory and in an ideal world it wouldn't happen, but the Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

The bus segregation thing is another story, since a public bus is clearly not a religious site. However the article that was posted was incredibly misleading. The Israeli High Court did not rule that it was legal to have bus lines "requiring women to sit at the back". They ruled that although it was legal for passengers to segregate themselves, it was illegal to force women to sit at the back. A quote from the decision:
"A public transportation operator, like any other person, does not have the right to order, request or tell women where they may sit simply because they are women," Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in his ruling. "They must sit wherever they like."

The bus lines will stay segregated for the most part because the people who ride them (the ultra-orthodox) want them to be segregated. But that's their choice, and there's no government regulation to enforce it.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/high-court-gender-segregation-legal-on-israeli-buses-but-only-with-passenger-consent-1.335567

Jerious1154:

Only men are allowed to pray aloud at the Wailing Wall because for numerous religious reasons ultra-orthodox men feel uncomfortable hearing women sing. Yes, it is discriminatory and in an ideal world it wouldn't happen, but the Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

Given that this is Israel, I can't help but compare it to its Muslim neighbors.

Now what Western person would even think to say something like that if this were the Dome of the Rock. Should all female visitors wear the full burka to cater to Saudi crazies? (that they are probably forbidden as a security risk notwithstanding)

The ultra-orthodox don't own the wailing wall. Unless there is something I don't understand here it belongs to the Jewish people. Why is the secular government handing it to people who sound often enough like Hamas?

maturin:

Jerious1154:

Only men are allowed to pray aloud at the Wailing Wall because for numerous religious reasons ultra-orthodox men feel uncomfortable hearing women sing. Yes, it is discriminatory and in an ideal world it wouldn't happen, but the Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

Given that this is Israel, I can't help but compare it to its Muslim neighbors.

Now what Western person would even think to say something like that if this were the Dome of the Rock. Should all female visitors wear the full burka to cater to Saudi crazies? (that they are probably forbidden as a security risk notwithstanding)

The ultra-orthodox don't own the wailing wall. Unless there is something I don't understand here it belongs to the Jewish people. Why is the secular government handing it to people who sound often enough like Hamas?

Men and women do, in fact, pray separately at the Dome of the Rock in accordance with the teachings of Islam. I don't think that anyone should have to wear the burka there, because it's not required by the religion, only by certain sects. Similarly, I don't think you should have to dress like a Hassid (ultra-orthodox sect of Judaism) in order to visit the Wailing Wall. But it is a commandment in Judaism that women cannot pray aloud around men, and that men cannot hear women pray aloud. If it were allowed at the Wailing Wall, it would in effect mean that those most observant of Jewish customs would be unable to visit the most sacred site in Judaism. When you're at a religion's sacred site you follow the rules of that religion. I don't necessarily agree with strict Jewish doctrine, but I have no problem with it being enforced at the Wailing Wall.

How is it possible for societies to get MORE hyper-religious (not the right word I'm looking for. But work with me) ?

To me, religion always seemed so, anti-human nature. People should be inquisitive and desire for knowledge, yet some people fall so far into that stuff to promote stuff like this.

Digitaldreamer7:
religion is a sick old dog that needs to be put down for the good of humanity

This post is hilarious by the way.

OT: Nowhere in this article did I see the word blasphemy, so I'm going to assume you added it yourself, ironically implying that *IT'S BLASPHEMY A WOMAN WANTS EQUAL RIGHTS IN ISRAEL*

Yeah it's not what you meant, but I've been nitpicking every post today, so I thought you should be no exception.

ravensheart18:

The Kotel is however a religious site. Religious restrictions at a religious site don't seem unreasonable to me.

Hold on a tick ... a religious restriction on one's faith that is purposely designed to be socially divisive and could serve no common good in any way, of which is based on something that is intrinsically unchangeable to begin with .... is 'reasonable'?

Thats the fucking definition of UNreasonable right there.

Jerious1154:
The Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

Not in a secular state there isn't. Supporting Jewish orthodoxy over other Jewish sects runs directly counter to the secularism Israel claims to have.

She's not about to go to prison for breaking some non-existent religious law but because of "disrupting a policeman performing his duties under dire circumstances". That's completely different and it seems the article is trying to hide that point. :|

Feeble minded pathetic little men with their religious dogmas which spawns open hostility to women and their worth.

Religion makes me puke. Every time a member of one of the 3 main desert dogmas feel like speaking out on women rights issues I wear a special smile. Like they don't know how negatively their religion display women. It is funny to watch them ignore it. That women subscribe to this nonsense do not speak well for them either.

Israel full of religious extremists? BREAKING NEWS!

What next OP? you gunna tell me that god isn't real?

This is a travesty of basic political rights, but the OP is misrepresenting this whole thing. Nothing in it about blasphemy, as several people have pointed out. Way to oversell your point OP. You could have gotten agreement just fine with what actually happened without showing yourself to be biased in the process.

The current government of Israel is formed of ultra messianic orthodox/rightwing government that at best is known to pass highly racist laws targeting now jewish minorities.

arragonder:

Jerious1154:
The Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

Not in a secular state there isn't. Supporting Jewish orthodoxy over other Jewish sects runs directly counter to the secularism Israel claims to have.

I agree with you in 99% of cases, but the Wailing Wall is not a secular institution, it is a religious one. People should follow religious restrictions at a religious site. If someone refuses to follow those restrictions, that would most likely disturb the peace, which is what this woman is being charged with.

I have a problem with the ultra-orthodox approach to the role of women, and I assume that you do too, but it's not the fault of the state of Israel.

Jerious1154:

arragonder:

Jerious1154:
The Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

Not in a secular state there isn't. Supporting Jewish orthodoxy over other Jewish sects runs directly counter to the secularism Israel claims to have.

I agree with you in 99% of cases, but the Wailing Wall is not a secular institution, it is a religious one. People should follow religious restrictions at a religious site. If someone refuses to follow those restrictions, that would most likely disturb the peace, which is what this woman is being charged with.

I have a problem with the ultra-orthodox approach to the role of women, and I assume that you do too, but it's not the fault of the state of Israel.

yes it is the fault of the state of Israel because Israel is the one that manages the wall. But ok say it's a religious site and that's allows religious rules to be enforced, why do the orthodox Jews get their way while all the other sects of Judaism don't. What if one sect had rules specifically for women reading pray aloud or just didn't have the provision against vocal women (none except the Orthodox have that provision)? why isn't their version enforced?

Rastelin:
Feeble minded pathetic little men with their religious dogmas which spawns open hostility to women and their worth.

Religion makes me puke. Every time a member of one of the 3 main desert dogmas feel like speaking out on women rights issues I wear a special smile. Like they don't know how negatively their religion display women. It is funny to watch them ignore it. That women subscribe to this nonsense do not speak well for them either.

Just out of interest, have you ever met an observant Jewish woman in your life?

Jerious1154:

evilthecat:

ravensheart18:
There are times at the gym I go to where only women can work out. That of course discriminates against men. There are no men-only times. Private businesses (well and actually this is a government owned business) can differntiate between clients to meet the needs of those clients. It doesn't trouble me as long as all clients are served.

It's stuff like this that makes me sigh and think the entire last century was a waste of time.

There are women only times at the gym because for numerous social and historical reasons some women feel uncomfortable doing physical exercise in front of men. Yes it is discriminatory and in an ideal world wouldn't happen, but to say that vindicates every form of discrimination anywhere is a pathetic argument. If there was a compelling social reason why some men might not be comfortable working out in front of women we would have our own gym times, we don't because there is no need, as should be very obvious.

'Men and women need to be kept separate' is not a compelling social reason, it's an arbitrary rule with potentially negative consequences for those involved. It also violates the core requirements of a secular state, but then I think we're long past the illusion that Israel is a secular state.

Only men are allowed to pray aloud at the Wailing Wall because for numerous religious reasons ultra-orthodox men feel uncomfortable hearing women sing. Yes, it is discriminatory and in an ideal world it wouldn't happen, but the Wailing Wall is a religious site, and as such there is a "compelling social reason" to follow the most restrictive Jewish guidelines there.

Yes, but Israel is supposedly secular, and since following the "most restrictive Jewish guidelines" would disqualify it from such status, the arrest should not have happened.
Israel has been acting like a prick for a while now. I think it's high time we withdraw support.

Digitaldreamer7:
religion is a sick old dog that needs to be put down for the good of humanity

Back in the Ancient Greek times, similar practices were followed due to people citing "scientific" evidence that women were biologically inferior. (Similar thinking motivated a lot o racism over the years.)

I'm not trying to slam the other side, I'm just saying that religious faith is not a prerequisite for intolerance.

PaulH:

ravensheart18:

The Kotel is however a religious site. Religious restrictions at a religious site don't seem unreasonable to me.

Hold on a tick ... a religious restriction on one's faith that is purposely designed to be socially divisive and could serve no common good in any way, of which is based on something that is intrinsically unchangeable to begin with .... is 'reasonable'?

Thats the fucking definition of UNreasonable right there.

You have reached a conclusion that is based on your biases. My wife enjoys the additional rights she gets as a woman under Jewish law that I do not get as a man.

Cakes:

Rastelin:
Feeble minded pathetic little men with their religious dogmas which spawns open hostility to women and their worth.

Religion makes me puke. Every time a member of one of the 3 main desert dogmas feel like speaking out on women rights issues I wear a special smile. Like they don't know how negatively their religion display women. It is funny to watch them ignore it. That women subscribe to this nonsense do not speak well for them either.

Just out of interest, have you ever met an observant Jewish woman in your life?

I'll lay money he hasn't, or if he has that they shook their head in disbelieve and turned away from him to avoid telling him what they really thought of him.

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