Points of Views
From Jerusalem
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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


"A demonstration in Jerusalem: 'Sephardi girls are not anyone’s property'

Dozens of Haredi extremists disrupted traffic in Jerusalem's Geula [1] neighborhood and waved signs against the recruitment of girls [to the Israeli army] [2]. One of the signs read: 'Sephardi [3] and traditional [4] girls are not the property of anyone.'

[The sign in the picture reads: “Only in North-Korea and in Israel is there compulsory army service for women.”]

– Kikar Hashabat

0202 Editor's Notes:
[1] A Haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem.
[2] Many in the Haredi society, broadly speaking, object to enlisting in the army. While more and more Haredi males are gradually joining the army, there is a clear and strong consensus against Haredi women serving in the army.
[3] Sephardi (lit. from Spain) is a term referring to Jews whose origins are from middle- eastern and north-African countries. Generally speaking, there is a clear divide in Haredi society between the Sephardi communities and the Ashkenazi communities, which originated in Eastern Europe. Moreover, the Sephardis in Israeli society have often been looked down upon by the Ashkenazis and considered religiously inferior. In recent decades, relations to Sephardis has been improving towards relative equality and acceptance.
[4] ‘Traditional’ in this instance is referring to girls, mostly from Sephardi background, who personally lead a somewhat lenient religious life style (contrary to the rigorous demand of the Haredi mainstream) but still see themselves as part of the Haredi society. The army authorities sometimes demand that these girls enlist in the army as their religious life style does not justify exemption from the army as with most of the Haredi girls. There is fierce opposition to this in Haredi society.

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