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Jewish Journal

Peres: ‘fighting for the soul of the nation’ in rift between Ultra Orthodox Jews and other Israelis

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 27, 2011 | 9:40 pm

An ongoing story in Israel is the tension between Ultra Orthodox and secular or more moderate religious Jews. Shmuel Rosner recently called it “Israel’s demographic time bomb”—and I’ve mentioned reports of Ultra Orthodox Jews rallying for racism and trashing an ice cream shop for “promoting promiscuity.”

The issue has come to the fore in the past week because an 8-year-old girl says that Ultra Orthodox men accused her of dressing immodestly and spat on her as she walked to school. It’s bad enough that Israeli President Shimon Peres urged the nation to mobilize against efforts by the Ultra Orthodox in Beit Shemesh.

Reuters reports:

“We are fighting for the soul of the nation and the essence of the state,” Peres said in broadcast remarks at an event at his official residence.

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“Today is a test in which the entire nation will have to mobilise to rescue the majority from the claws of a small minority that is chipping away at our most hallowed values,” Peres said.

“No person has the right to threaten a girl, a woman or any person in any way,” he said. “They are not the lords of this land.”

Read the rest here.

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