The Secular-haredi tensions over the exclusion of women
reached new heights in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel where there is a growing haredi community. Local bulletin boards were recently pasted with pictures of women posing almost entirely in the nude.
The pictures were put up suring the Sabbath and included a caption that read: "The glorification of women." The haredi residents were horrified by the "abominable signs" but could not remove them because it was the holy day and doing so would involve desecrating the Sabbath.
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Many signs were hung on the walls and fences of building sites in the neighborhood some with pictures of The Birth of Venus by Italian painter Botticelli, others featured the painting Two Tahitian Women by Painter Paul Gauguin.
The ANASH news website reported that the haredi residents were furious over the secular provocation which they claim, joins a series of acts of harassment against them. The secular struggle campaign headquarters made it clear they were not behind the acts – but were less than critical of the acts themselves.
Rutie Vazana, a religious resident of Kiryat Yovel told Ynet: "We immediately understood that (the acts were carried out) by the handful of secular residents campaigning against the neighborhood's "haredization."
Vazana believes beyond all doubt that the people behind the signs had no artistic or commercial intentions, their goal was to challenge the haredi population. In her opinion "it is clear that this was an intentional anti-haredi act."
She noted that as soon as Shabbat was out her husband and others removed the posters.
Ronit Gilboa from the secular struggle campaign headquarters in Kiryat Yovel said that she saw the posters in the neighborhood but had no information about the sources responsible.
Unlike the haredi residents, Gilboa found a positive aspect to the signs and said: "It was a nice decoration for the neighborhood – Gauguin and Botticelli. I'm not dissimulating; they really are beautiful works of art and are preferable to the Pashkevillim (haredi posters).
"This may be intentional secular provocation , but that's what the haredi residents do in the neighborhood every day – with their attempts to take over, their calls of 'Shabbos' and 'sluts' and by turning quiet synagogues into noisy yeshivas that operate from 5 am to midnight. The haredim have not realized that Kiryat Yovel will not surrender."