It is obvious that a child is a human being that should be always offered protection, care and respect. No matter how one behaves, she or he deserves embracing and love. The case of Naama Margolese proves that this perception of childhood might be far from true in some societies.
The girl in question was spat on because she was considered to be dressed immodestly. Arguing what is provocative and what is not seems to be out of place in the context of a child who became a tool in a game of rancor between adults. Apparently, the tensions that have been covered under a thin coat of political correctness and deceptive gestures were released in a most unimaginable way. Naturally, the ultra orthodox tendencies have been present in discussions, they evoked various actions or protests, but the harassment of Naama might have opened a way to privately managed social anathema. From the perspective of a student living in the UK, this type of extremism channeled to an unprotected and evidently innocent being is simply unconceivable. The added religious background of the whole event makes it even more dreadful. What is more, some environments tend to argue that the harassing behavior of those spitting on a girl was an expression of religious emotions. No other logic can be more ludicrous.
I am a women, a mother, a Jew. I have been educated at University and in my Jewish home. I see things happening around me, both the good and the bad. However, one would imagine that in today’s society there is a certain level of freedom, tolerance, respect, the ability to live without fear, to feel safe and to have human rights protected.
Who gives someone the liberty to humiliate, bully, or harass another human being, especially a younger person? Surely this is not fear but possibly some combination of a lack of education, discrimination, hyper-nationalism, extremism, and self-anti-Semitism within the one country that Jews were waiting for. Why is this happening?
Naama’s story reached many people in the world, through the written press and TV outlets. After reading about the story you ask yourself, “is this actually possible”?
(This article was originally posted in the Jewish Week and can be found here: http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial_opinion/opinion/we_need_more_dirty_laundry_conversations_about_israel)
When I invite guests for dinner, I clean up my apartment, and put the dirty laundry in the closet. But it’s usually in full sight when I’m home with family.
Jews have traditionally acted similarly regarding Israel. In public discourse, support for Israel is forceful on issues related to war and peace. Within the family, though, there often is lively discussion of fears and hopes, with recognition that choices are very difficult and outcomes uncertain.
Conversations reveal the deep loyalty that many Jews have toward Israel and the palpable sense of their stake and role in Israel’s future.
Lately in Israel, there’s been a wave of media coverage surrounding the relationship between the Haredi community and the rest of Israeli society. This avalanche stems from a number of recent stories including: a Haredi man spitting on a young religious girl walking on her way to school, Haredi soldiers disobeying orders by walking out of an official ceremony where female soldiers were singing, attempts to create gender-segregated public buses, Haredi men verbally assaulting women on buses, efforts to remove images of women from public advertisements, and the vandalizing of stores because of the books they choose to sell. Efforts to promote, and sometimes even enforce, notions of religious acceptability vis-à-vis “modest” dress and Sabbath observance have occurred --- sometimes sporadically, sometimes more consistently --- for quite some time.
I remember reading across the top of the page the Hebrew word "Asown" and thinking to myself if it meant "tragedy" or "disaster." Below it, a horrific wildfire leapt off the page, while a torched bus seemed ready to collapse in on itself.
The nuances of the word, though subtle, were there: was the Carmel inferno a human tragedy or a national, natural disaster? Where was the headline's focus? The answer of course was both.
The flames in Israel's “green gem” in the north claimed the lives of 44 people and shook the nation to its core. Then again, it is the Israeli way of life to first be stunned at the magnitude of a tragedy before swallowing our emotions, picking up the pieces and moving on to tomorrow. The country's seen so much sadness that the only way to cope is to press on amid the concerns of our daily lives.