Ultra-Orthodox extremists in Beit Shemesh attempt to scare all women whose dress does not conform to strict standards by plastering warning signs on government-funded health clinics.
Warning signs have been posted on the building of two major health clinics in an ultra-Orthodox Beit Shemesh neighborhood, telling women who are dressed immodestly to stay away.
The signs, plastered outside on the clinic buildings of government-funded health maintenance organizations Meuhedet and Leumit, read: “Dire Warning: It is forbidden to walk on our streets in immodest dress, including slutty clothing worn in a religious style.” It is signed “residents of the neighborhood.”
The wording of the signs reflect an escalation in the ongoing “modesty wars” in the city of Beit Shemesh. While modesty signs are not uncommon in Beit Shemesh, they generally make the “request” to dress appropriately, rarely the “warning.” In addition, this sign’s reference to indecent or provocative dress that conform to Orthodox Jewish guidelines is also highly unusual. It evokes the tension not only between the extreme Haredi elements in the city and the secular population, but also between the extremist Haredis and the modern Orthodox/religious Zionist population. That conflict came to a head and became a national issue in late 2011 when young religious Zionist girls were harassed at the Orot Banot school.