Photo: Amir Yempel
Shoham women sing in protest of Atra Kadisha provocation
Photo: Amir Yempel

The women who sang Haredi extorters away

Atra Kadisha, an extreme ultra-Orthodox group, disturbed construction works claiming it desecrates ancient tombs that never existed, and then asked for money to allow works to continue; when local women started singing the group ran off

Shoham residents Susie Bar and Dr. Kinneret Shefer didn't want to become web stars. But when a group of extreme ultra-Orthodox men arrived in their community again to interrupt the construction of a new industrial area, claiming it would disturb ancient tombs — that don't actually exist — they couldn't remain silent. So, they sang.



"They're not from our community, " says Dr. Shefer, an activist in Free Shoham, a group that monitors and responds to events of religious coercion. "This is a handful of extreme Haredi Atra Kadish men who have made this a tool for money extortion."


צילום: אמיר ימפל


שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

הסרטון נשלח לחברך


הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:


Shoham women sing in protest of Atra Kadisha provocation (Photo: Amir Yempel)
Shoham women sing in protest of Atra Kadisha provocation (Photo: Amir Yempel)


The Atra Kadisha group is famous for disturbing constriction works and archeological excavations around the country on account of protecting Jewish graves, often asking for bribe money to evacuate and allow the costly work to continue. However, the group possess no archaeological knowledge and often arbitrarily provokes protests despite professional surveys and excavations ruling out any presence of such ancient graves.


They came to Shoham for a second time late June and as usual, got in the construction pit and halted works despite an Antiquities Authority report that determines no graves ever existed in the area. Local women were outraged to hear about the demand for bribe and quickly arrived in the scene, where they burst out singing Halleluiah.


The ultra-Orthodox provocateurs, who believe women's singing posses sexual characteristics that men should no listen to, were quick to run away, covering their ears. Construction resumed and the crisis was over.


"This (land) belongs to a contractor who has the rights over it. He started digging with all the necessary permits, including one by the Antiquities Authority who excavated in the area in the past and found nothing," says Susan Bar, head of the opposition list in the small community.


"This has a broad impact," says Bar. "There's the loss of money (when construction stops) but beyond that they asked for extortion money. When the money is received, the works can resume."


"There is no fight between secular and religious residents in Shoham," said Bar. "We live together and set an example for other cities, we cooperate. But when works like this are halted, the contractor understands that next time he takes on a project, he has to include extortion money in the budget, and that affects the prices all of us have to pay."


The two activists are getting ready to sing it loud along with other women from the community in construction works planned for mid-July. "We're very happy that there's no need to use any kind of strength or violence (to intervene)," Shefer says.


"We involved the public and we got the police to notice, all without using any kind of strength, and that's really important."


"We feel like we've developed an unconventional non- violent weapon of women singing," adds Bar. "This could be a start up."


פרסום ראשון: 06.30.19, 11:00
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