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    Thousands in Israel Protest Against Ultra Orthodox Violence


    by NTDTelevision

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    In Israel, more and more stories of Ultra Orthodox men forcefully imposing gender segregation in public places are surfacing in the local media, sparking outrage in mainstream society. On Tuesday, thousands protested in Beit Shemesh -- a city where clashes with Ultra Orthodox Jews are intensifying. Our correspondent brings us the story.

    On Tuesday thousands gathered in Beit Shemesh, a city situated between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to protest against what they call "Ultra Orthodox Domination." The crowd consisted of secular and practicing Jews alike.

    [Yair Borsekovski, Practicing Jew, Student]:
    "These extremists are a threat to democracy in Israel, a threat to Israeli society and Jewish communities all over the world. They want to take over our communities. They want to throw us out of our cities and out of our homes."

    The anger against Ultra Orthodox Jews in the city erupted last week after Israeli television aired a story about a little girl who fell victim to a group of Ultra Orthodox men.

    [Nir Vargon, Orthodox Jewish Rabbi]:
    "A little girl who was dressed in a very Orthodox and not at all provocative fashion happened to walk on the wrong side of the street, and she was bombarded with insults and humiliations and curses. She was so hurt that she could not even go to school."

    But the little girl is not the only victim in the city of Beit Shemesh, where about one third of the population is Ultra Orthodox.

    Stories of Ultra Orthodox men terrorizing the neighborhood are abundant.

    Ana Smirnov owns a shop that sells women's under garments, in a secular part of town.

    She says Ultra Orthodox men smashed the front window three times in the past three years.

    Now she takes extra precautions.