First, it was a woman being beaten up for not moving to the back of a bus in Israel. A few months ago, a girl was grabbed, thrown to the ground and kicked in Beit Shemesh for supposed tznius violations (the post describes them as "properly dressed"). Now, we have a story of a woman who was beaten up in Beersheba for the sin of... having worn tefillin.
As per the article:
According to the release, the man asked Raz twice if the imprints were from tefillin. When she told him they were, he began to kick and strangle her while screaming “women are an abomination.” Raz, who practices Conservative Judaism, reportedly broke free from the man and boarded her bus.
OK, so perhaps the guy was a loon. If he's shouting "women are an abomination," I'll probably even grant that perhaps he doesn't have all his marbles. But that's not really the issue here.
The problem is that it's easy to shrug off an isolated incident as the workings of a "lone wolf" or a "madman." The problem is that this is beginning to happen more and more frequently. And when it begins to happen more and more frequently, it's much harder to describe the acts as those of the fringe or madmen.
Personally, I don't care if it's absolutely forbidden for a woman to wear tefillin or not -- there's still absolutely no justification for anyone -- man or woman -- to physically attack her for doing so. It just sickens me that this is becoming a regular feature of some segments of chareidi society in Israel.
And, what's worse, I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts that it's all based on misogyny. Forget the guy's comment about women being an abomination for a moment -- let me ask you this question. Do you think he would have attacked her if she were eating a ham and cheese sandwich? Do you think he would have tried to strangle her if she were eating chametz on Pesach? Do you think he would have even noticed, let alone cared if she finished eating and failed to bentch? Or if she failed to have a mezuzah on her door? Personally, my belief is that he would not have cared at all. But let her show signs of having put on tefillin? Or daven at the Kosel? Oh, no! We can't allow that! For that we have to beat them. Violate a mitzvah from the Torah? Not a big deal. Put on tefillin? Daven at the Kosel? Why that's an even *worse* violation!
I'm telling you all, there are times when my faith in Judaism is shaken... and it's incidents like this that do it.