Would Ultra-Orthodox Jews Have Spit On Golda Meir?

Pure lunacy.

Lets recall when Golda Meir took the podium at the United Nations–then read what the ultra-Orthodox Jews at doing in Israel these days.

The professor, Channa Maayan, knew that the acting health minister, who is ultra-Orthodox, and other religious people would be in attendance. So she wore a long-sleeve top and a long skirt. But that was hardly enough.

Not only did Dr. Maayan and her husband have to sit separately, as men and women were segregated at the event, but she was instructed that a male colleague would have to accept the award for her because women were not permitted on stage.

Though shocked that this was happening at a government ceremony, Dr. Maayan bit her tongue. But others have not, and her story is entering the pantheon of secular anger building as a battle rages in Israel for control of the public space between the strictly religious and everyone else.

At a time when there is no progress on the Palestinian dispute, Israelis are turning inward and discovering that an issue they had neglected — the place of the ultra-Orthodox Jews — has erupted into a crisis.

And it is centered on women.

“Just as secular nationalism and socialism posed challenges to the religious establishment a century ago, today the issue is feminism,” said Moshe Halbertal, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University. “This is an immense ideological and moral challenge that touches at the core of life, and just as it is affecting the Islamic world, it is the main issue that the rabbis are losing sleep over.”

The list of controversies grows weekly: Organizers of a conference last week on women’s health and Jewish law barred women from speaking from the podium, leading at least eight speakers to cancel; ultra-Orthodox men spit on an 8-year-old girl whom they deemed immodestly dressed; the chief rabbi of the air force resigned his post because the army declined to excuse ultra-Orthodox soldiers from attending events where female singers perform; protesters depicted the Jerusalem police commander as Hitler on posters because he instructed public bus lines with mixed-sex seating to drive through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods; vandals blacked out women’s faces on Jerusalem billboards.

Public discourse in Israel is suddenly dominated by a new, high-toned Hebrew phrase, “hadarat nashim,” or the exclusion of women. The term is everywhere in recent weeks, rather like the way the phrase “male chauvinism” emerged decades ago in the United States.

7 thoughts on “Would Ultra-Orthodox Jews Have Spit On Golda Meir?

  1. Craig skip Weis

    I don’t think so. No spitting. Orthodox Jews are too busy banging their collective heads against stone whaling walls to worry about such trifle matters as to how much of a female body is not covered up and who sits next to whom.

    “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” The INTERNET will soon defile this “immense ideological and moral challenge” to a more level playing field.


  2. Solly

    It’s not as progressive as stoning women conveniently accused of adultery so that their abusive husbands can get rid of them in Saudi Arabia or Iran, or women burned to death in Pakistan by their families for being raped or chosing their own husbands and dishonoring the family. But we all can’t have enlightened religions.

  3. Patrick

    I’m bothered by what the Orthodox are doing to women–it sickens me, but there is nothing to make one believe that you are. After all, you are silent about the rampant abuses of the sickening muslim world and its deep cultural abuse of women, except for the thin caveats of rhetorical necessity. Your ethos on this issue is in the crapper. The only reason you post this is because of your hatred of Isreal. I can imagine how excited you were when you read this: another big gotcha moment. Your only tag should be liberal moral relativism.

  4. I also need to add that I have spoken out about those who bastardize Islam. I have done that over and over. For anyone to suggest otherwisr just does not read what I write.

    In fact just this past week I added a comment to one of my posts, and will use a quote from that commment about urinating marines, to again underscore my point not only about what I feel to be true about this religion, but also how others spin Islam for their own use.

    “I love it when conservatives use the actions of those who bastardize Islam (and are not true Muslims), as a defense….”

    The fact that I put a strong woman’s picture on this blog post to underscore my overall point seems to have been lost on those who want to dodge what a segment of Israel’s population is doing.

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