According to a release from the Israel Religious Action Center, Noa Raz was accosted last week by the man in Beersheba’s bus station while waiting to board a bus that she takes to her job in Tel Aviv.
Raz was asked by the man two times if the imprints that he noticed on her arms were from tefillin. When she answered that they were, he attacked her, kicking and strangling her. He also screamed “women are an abomination.”
It is being reported that she was able to free herself from the attacker and managed to board her bus.
Raz, a Conservative Jew, is a member of Women of the Wall. The group has sparked outrage within ultra-Orthodox circles for its monthly Rosh Chodesh prayer service for women at the Western Wall. In March, as the group began its service, haredi men threw chairs at them.
The Israeli Religious Action Center has asked the Beersheba police to label the attack as a hate crime, after Raz filed a report with authorities on Wednesday.
The executive director of Women of the Wall, Anat Hoffman, characterized the assault as not being isolated but instead part of a growing trend towards creating a threatening environment for women who want to pray openly.
The incident “should not be seen as an isolated incident but as taking place within an atmosphere of growing violence toward and intimidation of women who seek to pray freely and equally," Hoffman told JTA.
She added, "Too often these acts of violence are tolerated. The fact that this man thought it acceptable to attack a woman for performing a religious act in private is an example of the escalation of violence targeted against women and against religious pluralists in Israel."
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life