Beit Shemesh mayor condemns attack on woman for modesty

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul condemned an attack on a woman by a haredi Orthodox man who accused her of not being dressed modestly enough.

Abutbul issued a statement Tuesday condemning the attack of last week.

“I strongly condemn this violent incident, something that is forbidden according to the law and according to the Torah,” Abutbul, of the Sephardic Orthodox  Shas party, said in the statement. “I have asked the chief of police in Beit Shemesh to strongly pursue this case. I also addressed the entire city police force and underlined my policy of zero tolerance to violence.”

The modern Orthodox  woman, who was with her 2-year-old daughter, was attacked at a bus stop in the haredi Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. The attacker shouted at her before the physical attack, she told a reporter for Israeli television’s Channel 2. The victim said she was wearing a skirt and had her hair covered.

She said no bystanders came to her aid and that her daughter was being treated for post traumatic stress disorder.

Beit Shemesh, a city about 20 miles west of Jerusalem, has seen conflict between haredi and non-haredi and secular residents over restrictions on women’s dress and gender-segregated seating on public buses. In a widely publicized incident in 2011, an 8-year-old Orthodox girl was spat on by haredim on the way to school for her perceived immodest dress.

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