‘Tis the season to be jolly … violent!

JOURNALISTS and police were roughed up, stones were thrown and refuse bins set alight in the Israeli town of Beth Shemeth yesterday when hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men got stroppy in defence of rules they have imposed to segregate their womenfolk – or chattels as they tend to regard them.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish lad delights in a shouting match between an older nutter and a young secular Jew in Beth Shemeth yesterday (Photo: REUTERS/Oren Nahshon)

Zealots in the town, according to this report, have been trying to impose strict apartheid rules –including erecting a sign which ordered women to cross a road to avoid walking past a synagogue – and violence erupted when demonstrators gathered in support of segregation.

Images broadcast on Channel Two last week of an ultra-Orthodox man in Beit Shemesh spitting at a woman led to his arrest on Saturday night. He was freed by magistrates on Sunday.

The same broadcast featured a religious eight-year-old girl terrified to walk the short distance between her home and school, since she is subject to verbal abuse of ultra-Orthodox men who claim her attire is not sufficiently “modest”.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to crack down on acts of gender separation and ultra-Orthodox violence towards women, and keep Israel “open and safe to everyone”.

Yesterday’s demo also saw slanging matches erupt among religious lunatics and those of a secular bent who object to anti-female discrimination.

Unnamed ultra-Orthodox activists representing the Beit Shemesh community issued a statement in which they spoke out against the scuffles and stoning events … but they blamed it on the media.

We condemn violence in any form and shape, but at the same time condemn the wild incitement of the media that initiates deliberate provocations in order to make the peaceful, quiet and tolerant residents, who live their lives according to their beliefs look bad.

Earlier, at a midnight mass in Southampton, heavy chairs were thrown when a fight broke out among a group who entered St Edmund’s Catholic Church. Booze is thought to have sparked the brawl.

Father Vincent Harvey said the people involved in the fight were not regular churchgoers and he believed they had entered the church part way through the service. He added that the disagreement was between the people involved and not targeted at the congregation.

He said most of the 350 people in the church stayed to hear the rest of the mass, although some, who were “shaken” by the incident, went home.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said three men, aged 24, 27 and 31, were arrested at or near the church at about 1am.

The men, all from Southampton, were questioned on suspicion of affray and bailed pending further inquiries.

Update: And bang on cue, rival groups of Orthodox and Armenian clerics clashed over the boundaries of their jurisdictions inside the  Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The BBC has some amazing footage of the violence.

Hat tip: Daz (Israel report), Remigius and Agent Cormac (Southampton report); and Cliff Knoetz (BBC report).

30 responses to “‘Tis the season to be jolly … violent!”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    “We condemn violence in any form and shape, but at the same time condemn the wild incitement of the media that initiates deliberate provocations in order to make the peaceful, quiet and tolerant residents, who live their lives according to their beliefs look bad.”

    Yes, how jolly well dare the media broadcast images that show when religiots say they are peaceful, quiet and tolerant what they actually mean is violent, barbaric and bigoted.

  2. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    What is it with religion and women? Why does any woman want anything to do with a cult that denigrates her and describes her as a chattel?

    At least the idiots in Southampton had the excuse of drink!

  3. Newspaniard says:

    This article might just as well been about fundie xtians in America or islamists anywhere. Merry F***ing xmas and peace to all men (women excluded of course (Tee Hee))

  4. Angela_K says:

    The islamists have been hogging the limelight and topping the stupidity charts for too long, so now the jews want their turn – only fair.

    OT. BBC4 8.0pm The Royal Institution xmas lectures, this year’s subject: the human brain.

  5. Don says:

    Aren’t we due another brawl in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre around now?

  6. Pete H says:

    Stanley Kubrick on the left.

  7. AngieRS says:

    It’s amazing how these religious types think they can just alter/ignore the law when it suits them yet scream blue bloody murder if someone objects.

  8. Faithless says:

    I ask my self the same question, why do women tolerate this Crap!?

  9. barriejohn says:

    I love the expression on the boy’s face!

  10. john c says:

    GMR, I agree, Its a damm shame women actually open their legs to morons like these, they could so easily be the selecting force against the stupidity gene.

  11. Stonyground says:

    I think that it would be the Church of the Nativity (Built on the site of the stable where Jesus was born, honest) where fights would be breaking out at the moment. For fights at the holy sepulchre (the actual cave with the big round stone where Jesus was temporarily buried, honest) we will have to wait until the spring equinox, plus some ridiculously complex calculations involving the moon.

    @john c
    I completely agree, surely natural selection will eliminate these morons due to the fact that moral progress will eventually make it impossible for them to ever get laid.

  12. Lazy Susan says:

    I think women’s lib is the movement that could end religious stupidity.

  13. 1859 says:

    Because deep, deep down they know what’s happening, they can all sense the end of their religion – the end of their entire identity as some special group – it’s the old tribalistic way of being all over again. And so as more and more young people ‘modernise’ their thinking and open themselves to other ways of living, the more desperate and bigoted these religious pricks will become -and why? – because they know that if they do not scream and lash out at women and gay people and secular folk, their whole way of life as they now see it will become totally meaningless…so don’t expect them to melt away and go down quietly.

  14. L.Long says:

    I always wondered about the why women stay there. But then it is fairly obvious. There are two reasons.
    1-outright FEAR! where are they going to go and get help? How do hey get there, if the help exists? and what do they do after running off from their families and support structure?

    2-indoctrination. After being told what a worthless piece of schite you are for over 18yrs you tend to believe it. You can see this here where girls do not go into science or math because they can’t get dates if seen as smart or mommy & Daddy expect a girl to just be pretty and play with dolls. Some of the most fervent xtians are girls and look how their religion treats them and they do have ways to get out but don’t.

  15. Newspaniard says:

    @Lazy Susan. Womens Lib is currently a bit of a joke. When it comes to muslim women’s rights total silence from the remainder of their gender. P.C. at its sickening worst.

  16. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    @barriejohn: From the picture, all that’s changed is the colour. If these men cannot stand the sight of women then they should blind themselves. All the abrahamic religions are the same towards women, even hard line jews want their women to wear clothing resembling the muslim sack. Pathetic.

  17. barriejohn says:

    G M-R: I bet they think that they need the men’s permission to wear anything more “gaudy” than black! I’m surprised that they haven’t latched on to this yet:

  18. AgentCormac says:

    barriejohn & GM-R

    They should have gone to this muslim fashion show instead.

  19. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    @Don & Stonyground:

    Right on cue:

  20. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    There’s a great video here -lol-

  21. Don says:

    Damn, I was just about to post that.

    stonyground, you are prescient.

  22. Don says:

    Wait, Sepulchure is in there too. Result all round.

  23. Stonyground says:

    Mrs. Stonyground indulges in the harmless hobby of staking small amounts of money on predictions concerning the varying successes of large quadrupeds piloted by very small men, and the occasional very small woman. Given my newfound status as a prophet she is now asking me to apply my precience to the sport of kings.

    Actually, it wasn’t that difficult to predict was it? I doubt that Blue Square would have granted me very good odds.

  24. Don says:

    OK, I’m putting twenty quid on ‘Sepulchure Brawl’ on the 2.50 at Hexham.

  25. barriejohn says:

    I had friends (the retired proprietor of a number of Christian bookshops and his wife) who went to Israel for a few weeks over the Christmas period every year (at their own expense) to assist at “The Garden Tomb”, and I can assure you that all such sites are very busy at this time of year (mainly with American visitors – natch!). You have to feel sorry for the damn lot of them, really.

  26. James G says:

    The photo is filled with nutters. They actualy think that they are agruing about something of substance.

  27. 1859 says:

    To them it is of substance – it’s their entire way of life. Remember, what chance do they have to think differently if they have been indocrinated by religious mumbo jumbo from the moment they could breathe? From the moment they opened their eyes they were surrounded by ritual and dogma and it’s been like that 24/7 every day since.

  28. […] Shemesh, a town of 80,000 near Jerusalem, has witnessed a string of clashes between ultra-Orthodox activists and other […]