The Global War Against Women in Israel

From the March 12, 2012, New Yorker “Talk of the Town,” David Remnick, the New Yorker‘s editor, wrote a comment about how our soaring hopes for democracy after populist revolutions like the Arab Spring must descend to earth after the revolution, as we must

acknowledge the distance between the ecstasy of rebellion and the realization of democratic institutions … There is another state in the region that is embroiled in a crisis of democratic becoming. This is the State of Israel.

[Theodore] Herzl envisioned a pluralist Zionism in which rabbis would enjoy “no privileged voice in the state.” These days, emboldened fundamentalists flaunt an increasingly aggressive medievalism. There are sickening reports of ultra-Orthodox men spitting on schoolgirls whose attire they consider insufficiently demure, and demanding that women sit at the back of public buses. Elyakim Levanon, the chief rabbi of the Elon Moreh settlement, near Nablus, says that Orthodox soldiers should prefer to face a “firing squad” rather than sit through events at which women sing, and has forbidden women to run for public office, because “the husband presents the family’s opinion.”

My mother rejected Judaism precisely because of its “medieval” tendency to force women to ride at the back of the bus, and bow to the husband’s “family opinion.”

Women, it is time to leave Judaism. Assuming you’re not willing to put Orthodox male soldiers in front of a firing squad.

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