The Struggle for Jewish Identity

Wednesday, February 01, 2012 |  Aviel Schneider

The media in Israel these days is less concerned about nuclear proliferation and longrange missiles in Iran than about the widening gap among Jews, religious and secular, Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox.

“What brand of Judaism is the most Jewish?” Religious sects, no matter how small, claim to embody the true faith, while secular Jews have their own version of the truth.

The issue grabbed national attention when women’s groups decided to defy segregation on buses in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. One Israeli woman who refused to sit on the back of the bus, away from the men, was cursed, roughed up and called a shiksa (Gentile). Then an eight-year-old Orthodox girl in the city of Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem was cursed by ultra-Orthodox men because of “immodest” dress and called a “whore.”

These incidents have led to criticism from foreign leaders and at least one pro-Israel Christian group ending its financial support of Israel.

But Orthodox Jews tell Israel Today that while Israel is in a state of religious upheaval, it is being misrepresented and misinterpreted by the foreign media.

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