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Israel, the MeToo shakes the Orthodox world

2022-01-13T18:17:03.732Z

Writer accused of child abuse is killed (ANSA) There is stormy air these days in Israel's Orthodox conurbations. Social media are in turmoil and on the streets - which is completely unusual in a society characterized by an extreme traditionalism - social activists, who are also observant, patrol. On the walls stick flyers entitled 'We believe you': a reference to the victims of sexual abuse by members of the community, sometimes even authorita



There is stormy air these days in Israel's Orthodox conurbations.

Social media are in turmoil and on the streets - which is completely unusual in a society characterized by an extreme traditionalism - social activists, who are also observant, patrol.

On the walls stick flyers entitled 'We believe you': a reference to the victims of sexual abuse by members of the community, sometimes even authoritative.


    The most striking case is that of the renowned Orthodox writer Chaim Walder (52), who committed suicide last month after Haaretz had published the testimonies of three women who accused him of having been their sexual predator years before, when they were between 13 and 20 years. With their leaflets, activists are now also pointing the finger at those in Walder's entourage who erected a protective wall around him, both when he was alive and after death, discrediting the accusers.


    "We believe you," say the activists, who are now busy gathering a body of painful testimony from those who, in similar circumstances, claim to have suffered for years in silence because the subject of sexual abuse was a taboo in their conservative society.


    In the desperate farewell letter, published after he took his own life at his son's grave, Walder proclaimed himself innocent and wrote: "The dangerous cancel culture has also come here from Big Sister America. A dangerous phenomenon, which destroys glorious careers. On social media - he argued against the home version of 'MeToo' - the internet user is the self-proclaimed accuser, the Judge, the Executioner. '' And the testimonies collected against him by Haaretz before, and by police after? "" Lies! Denigrations! "authoritative rabbis thundered at his funeral. They also recalled that the Bible condemns without appeal the slanderers. A cold wall of silence then fell on the matter, and the main Orthodox newspapers abstained fromface it.


    The drama wasn't over. Two days later an Orthodox young woman, Shifra Yocheved Horowitz, also committed suicide. A writer who knew her later testified that Shifra, as a young man, had also been subjected to similar sexual abuse. She was desperate - he added - at the sight of the rabbinic exaltations of the figure of Walder and the censorship in the orthodox mass media about the specific accusations made against him.


    Faced with an Orthodox religious and political establishment perched in the bitter defense of a respectable aspect of its society, individuals rose up, injured by traumatic episodes of their youth, trying to make their voices heard on social media.

A chain reaction took place.

The emergency telephone exchanges were inundated with calls, and the underground protest emerged with aggressive leaflets in the vicinity of the homes of people (men and women) suspected of molesting minors.


    A leadership hitherto confident of its own is now being questioned from a restless base.

"A protest in true MeToo style - the Israeli secular media now write - and in the most unexpected place".


Source: ansa

All life articles on 2022-01-13

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