Haredi Jews Beat Up U.S. Immigrant

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - An American immigrant was beaten by a gang of ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews in Beit Shemesh, a city about halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The victim, himself an observant Jew, was beaten so viciously that he required hospitalization.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent attacks by the Haredi community in Beit Shemesh.

"A bunch of goons, maybe 20 or 30 guys, attacked me," said the victim, who asked that his name not be published.

"It was like a pogrom [organized massacre of Jews that took place in eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union]," he told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

"They kicked me, beat me, and then just left me there," he said.

The Haredi Jews are relative newcomers to Beit Shemesh, which has a large population of modern Orthodox, who are beginning to organize themselves against the growing religious intimidation by the ultra-Orthodox.

Haaretz reported that Haredi residents threatened one family in a modern Orthodox neighborhood because their television faced a main street bordering the Haredi area.

In October, five Haredi men assaulted a woman and an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier for sitting next to one another on a bus traveling to Beit Shemesh.

According to the city's deputy mayor, Shalom Lerner, the most recent incident evidences the increasing problem faced by Beit Shemesh residents.

"It's sad they're trying to terrorize the city," said Lerner. "Unfortunately, though, the Haredi violence isn't news anymore. The fact that there is a demonstration, however, that the silent majority is standing up and fighting back, is a major achievement," he said.

"People are realizing the time for action is now," he said.

Beit Shemesh police say they're investigating the incident. "We have a few leads," said police spokesman Shmulik Ben Rubi.

Source: Haaretz

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