“There’s a hint of irony in the fact that the seventh day of Hanukkah was the one on which thousands of Israelis gathered to protest haredi (ultra-Orthodox) abuses of women and girls in Beit Shemesh. The holiday does, after all, celebrate the zealous Hasmonean rebels’ purifying of the Temple from Hellenistic (sic. secular) rule, arguably making them the “haredim” of their time, even if they have become modern Israel’s national heroes.
Regardless, for many in the modern Jewish world the haredim crossed a line when they began to harass and abuse young modern religious girls for “not-sufficiently-modest-dress,” including the most widely-publicized case of 8-year-old Na’ama Margolis, whose story was told on Israeli TV. The only bright spot may have been the rare instance of secular-religious unity in opposition to these acts of religious zealotry, although I have found the sanctimonious and self-righteous response of the modern religious (dati) community hypocritical. The same Modern Orthodox now protesting for religious freedom and tolerance did very little when the increasingly ultra-Orthodox Israeli Rabbinate and political establishment marginalized non-Orthodox Judaisms, including Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist.”