The haredi man who is accused of sexually harassing IDF soldier Doron Matalon after she refused to sit at the back of a public bus in Jerusalem, told Ynet Monday that she had intervened in an argument between him and another woman who stood near the "men-only" section of the bus.
According to Shlomo Fuchs, 44, Matalon acted provocatively. "She stood amidst the ultra-Orthodox men. It's the most basic concept: A woman should not stand amidst men, just like no woman would go into a men's bathroom. So I called her a slut."
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Fuchs said he was travelling from his home in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood to a yeshiva in Mea Shearim last Tuesday when "some Russian woman stood by the men's seats at the front of the bus."
"I told her: 'Lady, you don't have to present a ticket if you have a monthly pass.' She said, 'Thank you very much, sir.' Suddenly I heard someone from the middle of the bus saying, 'She'll stand wherever she pleases.' So I answered 'What business is it of yours?' I couldn't see who was speaking, because the bus was full. I only heard her voice. I didn’t see it was a soldier. I could only make out her head, and I yelled 'slut.'"
At this point, Fuchs claimed, Matalon said "Look at you; parasite; parasites, taking money from the State. I protect you."
"She protects me? I sit at shul from eight in the morning till midnight and study, and she's protecting me? I protect her," the ultra-Orthodox man told Ynet. "I understood who I was dealing with, so I went back to studying for my test and things calmed down."
'Completely detached.' Fuchs (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
However, Fuchs said, Matalon continued to argue. According to him, she said "these haredim do what they want. We will bring an end to it. Take him to the police."
Fuchs claimed he was not aware of the significance of the word "slut" in the secular world. "I am completely detached from the (secular world). I don’t own a television set and I never have newspapers in the house. People laughed at me because I don't have any idea what women's exclusion is and don't know what happened in Beit Shemesh," he said.
"I do not forgive (Matalon). She cannot give back the hours of studying that I lost; she cannot take away the fear that I have when I go out to the street. She shamed us all and made us out to be criminals," Fuchs said.
He also claimed Israel Police had deliberately assigned female investigators to handle his case. "I always thought police were supposed to protect me, but I will never forgive them for the nightmare they made me go through. Yes, they harassed me only because I am haredi," Fuchs said. "This is a blood libel."
Asked about the controversial Holocaust display at a recent ultra-Orthodox rally in the capital, Fuchs said, "I sympathize with these feelings of persecution. They tried to present me as though I were the worst criminal in the world, and from this perspective it is just like the goyim treated the Jews for generations.
"Let me live in peace. I too sang 'Hatikva' (national anthem) once. I want to be free in our land. Leave me be."
Udi Matalon, the soldier's father, said "apparently (Fuchs) is trying to present himself as the victim. This attempt should not be taken too seriously."
Meanwhile, Ynet has learned that two women told investigators that Fuchs did not confront Matalon. "The incident on the bus involved a different female soldier who does not fit Matalon's description," one of the eyewitnesses said.