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昨年の夏以来、イギリスのメディアで断続的に取り上げられているニュースに、エルサレムでの暴力を伴った女性区別問題があります。区別しようとしているのは、「Ultra Orthodox」とされるユダヤ教信望者の男たち。宗教全般に対して、ややネガティヴなことを書くであろうことを先にお知らせしておきます。

Gender segregation on rise in Israel


Still, secular Jews there and elsewhere in Israel worry that their lifestyles could be targeted, too, because the ultra-Orthodox population, while still relatively small, is growing significantly. Their high birthrate of about seven children per family is forecast to send their proportion of the population, now estimated at 9 percent, to 15 percent by 2025.

Though categorizing is difficult, it is estimated that about one-quarter of Israel's 6 million Jews are modern Orthodox, another quarter are traditional and the rest secular.
Numbers aside, the ultra-Orthodox wield disproportionate power in Israel's fragmented political system.

Their norms, she said, are "segregation of women and discrimination against them."

Ultra-Orthodox Jews around the world have long frowned upon the mixing of the sexes in their communities, but the attempt to apply this prohibition in public spaces is relatively new in Israel.

Israel's ultra-Orthodox, known for their black garb and flowing sidelocks, began testing gender segregation years ago when ultra-Orthodox men started ordering women on certain bus lines to sit at the back of buses traveling through their neighborhoods.

Some supermarkets in ultra-Orthodox communities, once content to urge women patrons to dress modestly with long-sleeved blouses and long skirts, have now assigned separate hours for men and women ― another practice seen in ultra-Orthodox communities in the U.S. Some health clinics have separate entrances and waiting rooms for men and women.

 僕の理解という限定の中で、さらにかいつまんで書くと、近年、エルサレムで人口を急増させているUltra Orthodoxの男たちが、日常生活の中で女性を締め出すことを進めている。ターゲットになるのは、大人だけでなく子供まで。

The battle of Bet Shemesh

Since the state-funded religious-nationalist school of Orot Girls opened in new premises in September, groups of extreme Haredi men regularly gather at the gates, screaming "whore" and "slut" at the girls and their mothers. The demonstrators say they are dressed "immodestly"; that even girls as young as six should cover their flesh. When staff and pupils returned after recent holidays, they found a stink bomb had been hurled through a glass window, its stench of excrement and rotting fish putting a classroom out of use.

What they do is described as "terrorism". "They instil fear, they use terror tactics," Michal Glatt, the mother of a 10-year-old pupil, says. "Screaming at little girls? What other word is there but terrorism?"

The Haredim are not interested in explaining their grievances or justifying their tactics to the media. But when community activist Rabbi Dov Lipman asked one protester why they were focusing on the way small girls dress, he was told "even an eight-year-old draws my eyes".


Some of the girls have been traumatised by the demonstrations; there has been a spike in bedwetting and nightmares. Debbie Rosen-Solow, the mother of two daughters at the school, says the Haredi protests had "definitely put a lot of stress on the children". Her six-year-old embarked on her school career believing it was normal to have police cars outside the gates. "You saw the terror on their faces," she says.

Many in the religious-nationalist and secular communities of Bet Shemesh believe the issue of "modesty" masks the crux of the campaign: to drive non-Haredim out of the area. Lipman says the drive to turn Bet Shemesh into a Haredi city could succeed: "After all, who wants their child to be assaulted verbally on a daily basis?"

Lipman sees the events at Orot Girls as "a microcosm of what could happen in this country. At some point they will become a majority; it's a demographic fact. We can embrace the moderates or let the extremists run wild. We have to come down on [the extremists] hard, not let them have control.

Israeli women stand up to gender segregation with musical protest


 僕は自分の宗教観を問われたときには、アグノスティクと答えます。I do not know whether God exist or not.無神論者ではないと思っています。なぜなら、神が存在するのかどうかを僕は証明できないから。





 日本で知られているかどうかは全くわかりませんが、昨年、イギリス出身の論客でアメリカに帰化したクリストファー・ヒッチンス(Christopher Hitchens)という人が亡くなりました。無神論者として広く知られていたようです。彼の友人の一人は、日本でも人気の高いイギリス人作家、イアン・マキューアン

Christopher Hitchens: one man's service in the war against delusion

 正直、二人の対談の内容は、僕の生活からはかけ離れていることだったので、ほとんど頭に入ってきませんでした。楽しく読めたのは、児童文学者のフィリップ・プルマンによる、「Imaginary friends」というタイトルの文章。これは、科学者としての立場からドーキンスが御伽噺を否定したことへの反論が目的でした。プルマンらしい、とてもよい文章だと思います。児童文学や、古今東西の御伽噺、そして子供たちの豊かな想像力、そして現実とファンタジィの線引きについて興味がある人には面白い内容だと思います。インターネットでは公開されていないようなので、大きな図書館で探してみてください。


Science vs God: Richard Dawkins takes on Archbishop of Canterbury

Richard Dawkins v Archbishop of Canterbury: how do they compare?

Rowan Williams and Richard Dawkins in Oxford argument




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