Channel 2 Documentary on Beit Shemesh School Battle

I had mixed feelings about translating and re-uploading this documentary about the school situation in  Beit Shemesh, which has been going on in September. There is a lot of anti-haredi feeling in the country right now, and I fear that it could get out of hand.

However, we can’t let people get what they want through violence and intimidation.

Thanks to Tsipi for helping with the translation.

Happy Chanukah.


  1. thanks for translating. this is very sad. its a shame that it has gotten to this point.

  2. Do the police regularly patrol the streets where this stuff happens? Do they set up police stations right in the middle of these neighborhoods? Shorten the time it takes for police to get there? Those things have worked in American areas with a lot of crime. I find it so hard to understand how law enforcement can’t handle this better. I know there are politics involved… but if someone calls 911, do they delay or not respond on purpose, for political reasons?

    • Not only are politics involved, but the police themselves are greatly intimidated and fear to go too far into the areas that where the kitzonim live. These are the same people that rampage and set dumpsters on fire. I have a former neighbor whose arm was broken by members of this group when he tried to come to the aid of a policeman who was being brutally beaten by this group. The policeman ended up in the hospital with head injuries.

      Additionally, there are far too few police in this country, and they are generally underpaid. This means that it’s not going to attract sufficient numbers of applicants. There are not enough vehicles to do rounds in all the places that need monitoring. The kitzonim must realize this. They may be crazy, but they’re not stupid.

      We really, really need Mashiach. Not that I want any enemies, but it’s so much easier when your enemies are not your brothers…

      • To try to relax from my little rant below.. I didn’t know that the police were far too few (though I’m not surprised) and underpaid.
        Yes, we need Moschiach. Badly!

      • Actually, I’ve been following this story closely from September. Both the police and yasamnikim have been in the area on a number of occasions, sometimes for weeks in a row. At a certain point, the let these bugs stand across the street yelling their obscenities, claiming it’s not illegal to yell on a street! This has nothing to do with weak police presence, and everything to do with politics and weak knees. Now that the whole country is starting to pay attention, I’m sure the well-buried statutes on harassment will suddenly surface and these girls might finally be taken care of.

  3. Police don’t care. So many people get away with so much in this insane country. Cen rotzin o lo rotzim! Shudder! Sinat chinam at the charedim! And they the other guy screams at him to get out of there!
    Ugh! So very disturbing! This is the kind of world I’m bringing my children into?? Something must be done! The police don’t care!

  4. According to INN one arrest was made last night.

  5. This brought to tears to my eyes. I believe this is a bigger problem than the Arab-Israeli conflict–and more likely to destroy us.

  6. Ugh. Disgusting. This makes me want to start a group of volunteers to walk these poor girls to school. Anybody want to help do something?

  7. 1) “I had mixed feelings about translating and re-uploading this documentary about the school situation in Beit Shemesh, which has been going on in September. There is a lot of anti-haredi feeling in the country right now”

    it’s important that you translated and posted this, but i don’t imagine it will do more damage in fanning anti-haredi sentiment than the hebrew original, which is what the vast majority of israelis will be exposed to.

    2) on the other hand, what the your clip does do is turn off lovers of israel in the golah. i would never say that i’m glad i don’t live in israel because of x, y, z. but this clip brings me pretty close.

    3) wrt to the comments above about police inaction: then it is time to send in the army or mishmar hagevul. this is israel’s little rock.

    4) maybe i’m not getting the entire picture, but as i see it the 7 years old girl and her siblings should be taken away from her parents for subjecting her to this treatment daily. i’m all for making a principled stance, etc., but then let her father take a stand. why is her mother taking her to school. it should be her dad with a swinging baseball bat. otherwise its time to move on.

    5) and in general why have the parents of these kids (and the larger communities they come from) put up with this thus far?

    i don’t generally comment, and not so long, but this is infuriating.

    • Unfortunately, the clip didn’t give the history of this entire story. The school was allocated this piece of land for their building years ago, before these crazies moved in. The school is located directly across the street from the DL community’s neighborhood. This is a large, long established dati-leumi community of at least 2500 that need a place to send their kids to school. However, the recently arrived crazies have decided that the school is on their “turf” and should belong to them.

      This isn’t a case of a “DL” minority stronghold trying to insinuate themselves into a new place. This community needs a place to send their kids to school, so they haven’t really had much choice but to deal with these crazies on a daily basis. The police have come to “keep the peace” between the groups on a number of occasions, parents and a number of community members have come to confront these guys and escort the girls to and from school.

      This would be similar to a case of a bunch of KKK crazies threatening kids at SAR , Yavne or Moriah on a daily basis and the police not effectively dealing with it. Should those parents just start sending their kids to other schools because they shouldn’t be subjected to such abuse? What choice would they really have?

      • Also, I was told that the mayor of Beit Shemesh made a private agreement with hareidim to give them the building. The problem was that Shaalei Torah paid for it and he had no right to promise it to them. But beyond that, I believe they also protested the Orot Banim school when it opened.

        As well as the fanatics, there are some very smelly local politics involved.

    • Abba,
      It is very depressing, isn’t it. Naama’s mother just spoke at the rally and said she is not leaving the city. How many months should the father leave work early to take his daughter to school? The extremists can wait it out.

  8. Hannah, this is so painful, I can’t watch the entire thing. I happen to have many friends in BS and who send daughters to that school. Unfortunately, the news report is totally true. This is why the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed. It is so so sad.

  9. I am appalled by what I have seen. The Haradi behave like a bunch of maniacs. I was thinking of making aliyah next year but when I see that my tax money which allows these maniacs to excist, will only bring harm to secular and religious Jews, then I’m staying put. What happened to ‘Love thy neighbour as theyself’???? Their yeshiva teaches them to maim and kill…..they are no better off than the arabs.

    • Unfortunately it is only through strength in numbers that they can be stopped. (For the record this is a small group, not all haredim.)

      • Yes, it’s a small group and not all haredim, but ALL haredi leaders have maintained public silence, despite the fact that they denounce one thing or another on a weekly basis. Where are the screaming pashkevilim?

  10. It may only be a small group of haredim but they have proved that they are powerful enough to stop at nothing. Who on earth in his right mind would spit on a little girl……..only a self-hating idiot. If I lived in Israel I’d happily walk those sweet children to school……with an AK47 tucked under my armpit.

  11. For all those looking for a reason not to make Aliyah–okay, if this is the reason you want to pick, fine. No doubt it’s a disturbing situation. But if you don’t want to/can’t make Aliyah, then don’t. But please don’t use this, or all the other things that are difficult about your Jewish Homeland as an excuse. Need an excuse not to make Aliyah? You’ll find more than one. But be honest with yourselves–you’re not coming because you don’t want to. And that’s okay, really it is. When you do come, it’ll be for all the right reasons.

  12. I did not see the video, but all in all, as you said, you blogged about this some time ago, the other english language blogs also mentioned it.

    The beshava newspaper had an article about this ages ago.

    It disturbs me very much, that the regular media (not religious etc), did not see fit to take any notice of this situation until it fitted into the anti haredi campaign they are currently waging. For them, this was not a newsworthy story until now

  13. Amanda Elkohen says

    as a total aside, is the reporter in this Latma of youTube fame? it sounds/looks like him!

  14. Baila……..My wife and I were talking about making aliyah next year. This haradi incident has put a damper on our thoughts. I don’t want my children subjected to this kind of harrassment and the government closes it’s eyes because it too is scared. As you well know this is not the only incident; there have been plenty of others instigated by the haredi all over Israel.
    I saw the video in more detail in one of our English papers here in the UK and the wife of the school teacher said that if she had known that this kind of thing was going to happen she wouldn’t have moved there. It sounded to me as though she was saying that she wouldn’t have made aliyah but I may be wrong…..maybe she was talking about not opening the school in the haredi area.
    A friend of mine visited Tel Aviv and a haredi started shouting at her then hit her over her head with a book simply because she was wearing a shoe-string top in the middle of July!! It seems to me that this is going to get much bigger than we anticipate.

  15. Michellr Wayne says

    Israeli government wants Jews to make alia to Israel,under this condition it will not happen, why are the secular and not so orthodox have more responsibility towards the country than this invented cult from kozak country, if you notice they even dress like kozaks in Russia, just a bunch of useless kune Lemels ruining the country now, just like the Muslims in Afghanistan same conditions, it makes me think, is there a connection?London is Londonstan and this is Israelharedi?? They have to do the same thinks as the secular do, go to the army, get a job, pay taxes, they schools have to be the standard of all schools, why the non haredim soldiers have to put they life on line for them but not them? Meshiyah you waiting for hahaha it will never happen not under this condition, is this what my family was murdered in in 2WW for?Stand up to this invented cult or we will louse what we where waiting for 3000 years and not to Arabs only to this bunch of mishigas.

  16. Personally, I don’t see these violent nutcases as reflective of Haredi society in general, any more than I see price tag people as reflective of religious Zionists, or organized crime families as reflective of Russian immigrants. Every sector has its criminal element.
    But I do think the Haredi society has been overly protective of its criminal element, both in not denouncing it, and in setting up a situation in which the police and the politicians are afraid of mass Haredi rioting if they apply the rule of law to these Haredi criminals.
    Remember the Haredi rioting a few years ago when the abusive mother was arrested for starving her toddler? They didn’t riot because they supported child abuse! They rioted because they do not want the rule of law applied to their criminals.

    • Are you aware that there have been slightly over 50 false arrests concerning the “price tag” incidents? The police can’t find any evidence implicating the religious Zionists.

  17. Thank you for the translation. I posted a response to this issue (from my secular-in-the-daispora perspective) at:


  18. Desiree O'Clair says

    Thank you for posting this translation. What a tragic situation for the families involved and for the entire people of the region. That brave mother who walks her daughter to school is doing the right thing as a mother and a woman, showing her daughter that no matter how scary it is, she will be standing beside her. I hope there are an army of mothers ready to take to the streets to walk these girls to their school, to support each other, and to make a stand. This seems to be motivated by greed. Sad and disgusting.

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    • Menachem Lipkin says

      Ita, there are 400 girls who attend Orot. The majority leave the school building each day in directions that take them away from the Chareidi neighborhood. So, it’s quite conceivable, even likely for most girls never to have experienced, first hand, these assaults.

      As one of a small group of people who live in the neighborhood near Orot and who work at home, I have been available to be in the area of the school whenever there’s a problem. In the beginning of the school year I was out almost daily. I’ve witnessed the cursing and the spitting. I have over 1000 photographs, some have been used by the police others have been used by the media. My friend Dov K. has around 20 videos documenting much of what we’ve seen. I personally have been spit at and shoved. My video friend was assaulted and thrown to the ground. All the women who join us have been spit at and cursed.

      I have a video of a group of girls nearly hit by an egg thrown from the roof of one of the Chareidi buildings. Another video, taken the next day, shows Chareidim throwing objects from the roof of that building. (You can find both videos by searching YouTube for “orot egg”, they should be the first videos in the search results.)

      So, Ita, you can stop wondering if the media is blowing this out of proportion! As a first hand witness I can testify that, if anything, the media has grossly understated what’s been happening here in the past few months and even in the past few years.

      Moderate Chareidim, like yourself, need to come to grips with the fact that this extreme behavior is an outgrowth of an ideology that runs through large segments of Charedi Judaism. That there are wonderful Chareidim who do wonderful things is nice, but it does not mitigate this problem. The moderates, rather than trying to blame the media, the chilonim, the Daatiim or whoever, need to take the bull by the horns and do what they can to rid this extremism from their midst.

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        • He is separating the nuts. What else does “rid this extremism from their midst” mean? As long as you’ve mentioned “price tag” incidents, the number of false arrests is now close to 60. And how can someone who writes “That there are wonderful Chareidim who do wonderful things is nice” be “bash[ing] an entire way of life”?

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    • Menachem Lipkin says

      Ita, for someone who claims to be trying to figure out what’s going you make a lot of definitive assertions and are quite prone to disbelief even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Are you truly trying to allege that I somehow concocted that video? Or that I just happen to randomly be taking a video when some random girls had a random egg thrown at them? Don’t you see what that does to your credibility? Also, if you are so doubtful, how are you a religious Jew? How can you possibly believe in Yetziyat Mitzrayim or Matan Torah? There’s no video!

      I’m sorry it’s not just a group of nutcases. I’m out there, I talk to people. Did you know about the Hafganah that was arranged by the extremists? It was in the midst of the worst assaults on the girls. Hundreds showed up and their was a Dais filled with leading Chareidi Rabbanim. Did you know that one of the leading Rabbis in Bet Shemesh, Rabbi Kopshitz, has sent men to protest at the school? I do, because one of them came over to me and apologized because he had no idea what R. Kopshitz was getting him into. There are many subgroups of Chareidim with very extreme ideologies: Satmar, Toldos Ahron, Toldos Avraham Yitzchak, just to name a few. Frankly, I don’t care so much what a person’s ideology is, that’s their business, as long as they keep it to themselves. I do care about their behavior. And there is a clear, direct line between the extremist ideology that exists among some Chareidim and the extremist behavior we see in many places, including the US.

      You can say, all you want, that their behavior is not Chareidi, and I believe that it’s not. Heck, it’s not even Jewish behavior. But the behavior itself doesn’t remove them from being Jews or Chareidim.

      Ita, you want to increase Ahavat Yisrael? Work on seeing reality, rather than hiding from it. Work getting people to understand that their theological “truth” may not be the only truth. Work getting people to understand that my Rabbi’s psak is just as valid as theirs. That will be a start.

  27. Wow, in reading some of the comments here and in other places, I have to say that I have very little hope left at this point. There was even one comment here suggesting that we don’t even know the motives of the egg thrower! After months of small girls enduring having to walk a gauntlet of hatred from fellow Jews on their way to school and back, we will be very ehrlich and be dan l’kaf zchut the “suspected” egg thrower. Does common sense have *any* place in your Judaism? Hanosein lasechvi VINA l’havdil bein yom u’vein layla!

    Do you have children of your own? Do you believe that your little girls would not be traumatized by adult men, garbed as pious religious Jews, daily throwing eggs, spitting, leaving feces outside there school, calling them “shiksas and prutzas,” and the biggest crime of all – davening to Hashem to make them disappear? I was not a Chareidi basher, but I am totally sick of the defensive reactions that I have read here and elsewhere. It is this very behavior – protecting our own at all costs – that has allowed this sick group to grow and flourish in the midst of the Chareidi population. And here it is again, without even skipping a heartbeat. No cheshbon hanefesh, not even though there are many gedolim who have clearly stated that this is horrible and there are no excuses.

    Here’s a wakeup call to all those who sit on the internet and are busy playing victim: You are not Chareidi – not by the standards of those you are protecting – or you wouldn’t own a computer, let alone the internet. You just think you are. But your children will be. You are sending them to Chareidi schools, and they will be raised with the young boys who throw rocks and shout Shabbos and think that this makes them more Kadosh in Hashem’s eyes.. You are too confident in your ability to keep that from happening to your children, but happen it will. If not to all, to a large percentage. It’s a decision that you made for yourselves and your children will inherit. Is that what you really want? Is that a gamble you are willing to take?

    YOU may have gone to college, or in the very least had a decent secular education and been raised with a certain amount of tolerance for all of Hashem’s children. You may even be into Kiruv and have all sorts pass through your door to experience the warmth of Shabbat (but would not be allowed to send their children to your schools if they were chozer b’tshuva). But while you are busy converting others to the beauty of your chosen lifestyle, you are raising children who would not have a conversation with me (with my covered hair, long sleeves and socks, but – gasp! – I wear actual colors and sneakers!). One day you may wake up and discover that your children are closed minded and uneducated, but it will be too late.

    Go ahead, keep an open mind about those who look like you even when they spit and throw eggs. Continue to accept their rules. Why do children need to play sports or ride bicycles anyway? Accept that you can’t move your arms while you walk and you shouldn’t gather in your buildings entranceways. Keep on insisting that the reason you dress your children in black and dull colors is not because of religious conformity, but because you like it. Or insist that none of this is true. It will be for your children and theirs. Is that what you really want? You, who sit in front of a computer reading this. Is this the future that you are making for your children?

    Hashem created us as 12 shvatim, not 1 shevet. Hashem was showing us that we can be all types and all be His children. Some people think that they have the corner on the market on how to be oveid Hashem. Some people worship their chumras so much that they believe that those who don’t keep them are not as good a Jew as they are.

    Thank G-d that Hashem is the ultimate judge and not our fellow Jews.

  28. Wow. Such hatred. Nobody is apologizing or trying to be dan lekaf zechus of the zealots. The first video
    is not so obvious who thew it while the second one was .

    But to assume that all chareidi children will grow up with those who throw rocks is a really disgusting statement.

    While what is going on in Beit Shemesh is totally reprehensible.. it seems when someone wants to analyze what is going on and really try to understand they get attacked.. Nobody here is keeping an open mind about what happened. There are people who want to be objective . It’s very hard to be objective when you are so emotionally entrenched .

    It is also horrific that this was brought to the world media. At a time when Israel is under the media’s microscope it is something horrible to do. By bringing it to the world media it has brought attacks on run of the mill Chareidim as well. Do they count? Did you all think of what bringing it to the media would affect the run of the mill Chareidi? to the rest of world Jewry where the world hates us as is????

    • Sorry Neshama, Tzirel just described many former Modern Orthodox charedim to a T. Educated, open minded parents who are raising closed-minded, judgemental children who might not be throwing rocks but have no tolerance for people who don’t look like them. I see it happening in my own family. It’s not hatred. It’s describing a reality that we who do accept anyone, hate.

      I’m personally sick of the charedi closed-minded charedi mindset that says reject all who are different at all costs (except for kiruv and tzedaka purposes, of course!) and it’s my way or the highway. This needs to be in the media and charedim need to know that this attitude will not be tolerated any more. I won’t tolerate intolerance anymore.

      • Neshama, don’t you think there’s something very wrong with a community that doesn’t fully accept the children of BT’s even though their parents have been leading religious lives since several years before they were married? Or whose children will ridicule a classmate for wearing the “wrong color” socks, white instead of black, without even informing him of the “cultural norms” first or even later?