Watch: Teen flees haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh

'I fled because they wanted to kill me,' says teenage girl filmed fleeing mob in Beit Shemesh. 'This is a small group of haredi radicals.'

David Rosenberg,

'Modesty' sign in Beit Shemesh
'Modesty' sign in Beit Shemesh
Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Footage taken in Beit Shemesh earlier this week made the headlines in Israel, after a group of teenage girls were forced to flee from a mob of religious extremists.

The incident occurred Monday night on Nahar Yarden Street within the predominantly haredi area of Beit Shemesh known as Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet.

Three teenage girls from Beit Shemesh walking down the street were confronted by a mob of religious extremists from Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, they say, forcing them to flee.

While two of the girls, Navah and Hadassah, both 18, were able to evade the mob, a 16-year-old, A., was chased down the street, running ahead of the crowd.

“I had to run away, they wanted to kill me,” A. later said.

A recording of the incident taken by a neighborhood was spread via social media networks, including the Whatsapp chat program.

The girls later filed a complaint with local police, who subsequently opened an investigation into the incident.

In an interview with Yediot Ahronot, Navah and Hadassah said the mob had been ‘provoked’ by what some residents considered the girls’ “immodest” clothes.

"There was no good reason for it. [It was] our 'immodest' clothes. We were just hanging around there,” said Hadassah.

The teens say that the mob was made up of extremists from the fringe of the haredi community who try to keep outsiders from passing through their neighborhood.

"It's like being in a warzone, where something can always burn you, something can always happen to you,” said Hadassah.

“This isn't all of the haredim by any means,” clarified Navah.

It's just one neighborhood," Hadassah agreed. "I want to emphasize, again, that we're not talking about all haredim. This isn't everyone. It's a small group that I wouldn't even call Jews. It's a really small group. Most haredim are great people."

In the wake of the incident, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel condemned the attackers, calling them ‘violent extremists’.

“These are extremists groups…violent and dangerous, who are trying to terrorize women on public streets. We need to treat them like criminals.”

“This is not in the spirit of Judaism or of Israeli culture, and they aren’t acting out of religious or spiritual concerns. Public spaces are open to everyone.”


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