Victim of haredi attack: I thought I was going to die
Beit Shemesh resident Natalie Mashiah, who was assaulted by haredim while hanging signs in a synagogue, says she begged assailants to leave her alone, but they wouldn't. 'Some 50 people stood by and watched. Nobody said or did anything,' she recounts
Beit Shemesh resident Natalie Mashiah, 27, who was attacked by dozens of extremist haredi men while trying to put up posters of Mifal Hapyis (Israel's national lottery) in a synagogue recalled the moments of horror.
"I didn't even have time to pull down the hand brake, and they already surrounded me. They shattered all the windshields and threw stones at me. I begged them to stop, I promised to leave, but they wouldn't let me go.
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"Meanwhile, some 50 people stood by and did nothing – men, women and children. No one said anything or did anything," she recalled painfully.
The young woman, who was lightly injured in the incident, said "I saw death right in front of me. I thought I was going to die. I saw dozens of haredim appearing from all corners with rocks and bottles and I didn't know what was in them."
She only later found out the bottles contained bleach.
Mashiah next to car with shattered windshield (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
Mashiah has been working as a sales team manager for a firm that increases the chances to win the lottery. "I worked with the haredi sector before. In my current position I hang signs. People call, and I come to their houses, so I get to work with haredim quite often," she noted.
'I thought they would set car on fire'
The Beit Shemesh resident said she warned her attackers that she will call the police. "I went back out to the car, which was still running, and called the police. I told them that someone called me a whore and spat on me. They asked me to wait there until they came.
"After 10 minutes, I called again. They said they were on their way. I also called my brother and told him that I have been attacked. While I was talking to him I saw dozens of haredim approaching with stones and bottles," she recounted.
Mashiah's car after the attack (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
While Mashiah waited for police to arrive, the men continued to assault her. After shattering the windshield of her vehicle, one of the assailants poured bleach into the car.
"I was sure that they were going to set the car on fire while I am in it. I thought I was going to die. I slipped out of the car and hid behind the door while crouching with my hands over my head, but it still didn’t stop."
Mashiah said a man came near her and threw a stone on her legs. She then escaped to a nearby building, but one of the assailants was inside. "He called me a 'whore' and a 'shiksa', while I stood there shaking and crying."
Minutes later, police arrived and the haredim began to disperse.
After the incident mashiah said she came to the neighborhood with modest dress: "I am an observant woman, and I respect them. But I won't come near Ramat Beit Shemesh again. Something has to change. It's inconceivable that I will be afraid to walk on the streets of my own city."
Three haredi men were arrested in connection with the incident.
Haredi media outlets said Mashaih provoked the men by lifting her shirt. The woman said the accusation
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