An 8-year-old Israeli girl has returned to school yesterday after experiencing a prior incident with Jewish religious extremists, who spit on her for dressing in a way they deemed was not "modest."
As classes resumed after a holiday break, Naama Margolis returned to her school in the city of Beit Shemesh along with her schoolmates. Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar greeted her as she stepped through the school doors.
In response to the religious extremists responsible for their behavior, Sa’ar stated that "we will not bow to threats and hooliganism." Religious coercion by the group reportedly occurs frequently in Naama's neighborhood.
Naama’s mother, Hadassah, stated that she hoped that "everything we did up to now will lead to change."
Naama became a national symbol of female harassment when ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists harassed her in public. The group deemed she was not dressed "modestly" enough to their liking. They began to spit on her as she walked past.
A television report broadcasted the incident, which gained the attention of many.
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish conduct code abides by strict guidelines. Those who follow it must adhere to conservative dress and rigid separation of the sex’s laws. The accordance to these rules varies among religious Orthodox Jews, though.
The ultra-Orthodox Jews are said to have tried enforcing their beliefs on Jews of other religions as well.
Last Sunday and Monday, clashes occurred between the religious extremists and the city officials of Beit Shemesh. The extremists tried to prevent city officials from removing a sign they put up, which requested women to "vacate" the sidewalk outside an ultra-Orthodox synagogue. They demanded they cross to the other side of the street.
Two weeks ago, Tanya Rosenblit was demanded by an ultra-Orthodox bus passenger to move to the back of the bus. She, however, refused the person’s request.
Last Wednesday, an ultra-religious Jew was arrested in Jerusalem. He reportedly called a female soldier a "slut" because she refused his demand to move to the back of a bus serving the ultra-Orthodox community.
Naama’s spat with the ultra-Orthodox Jews joins the long list of incidents brought on by religious extremists.
The following video from the Associated Press details Naama's story: