Consider, for example, a recent incident in Jerusalem where a woman was beaten by several men for refusing to sit in the back of the bus. Apparently, it's custom for women to move to the back — they're basically treated in a manner similar to how whites in America used to treat blacks. Yes, it would seem that there is a Jim Crow attitude among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel towards women.
[Miriam] Shear says that on the bus three weeks ago, she was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed by a group of men who demanded that she sit in the back of the bus with the other women. The bus driver, in response to a media inquiry, denied that violence was used against her, but Shear's account has been substantiated by an unrelated eyewitness on the bus who confirmed that she sustained an unprovoked "severe beating." ...
"Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back, sometimes politely and sometimes not," she recalled this week in a telephone interview. "I was always polite and said 'No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'"
But Shear, a 50-year-old religious woman, says that on the morning of the 24th, a man got onto the bus and demanded her seat - even though there were a number of other seats available in the front of the bus.
"I said, I'm not moving and he said, 'I'm not asking you, I'm telling you.' Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-bitch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back. At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me. My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face."
The bus driver reportedly did nothing to help a woman being assaulted by four men; later, he denied that the beating even occurred. If it weren't for the witness coming forward, it sounds like this incident would become non-existent. The cause for all this cannot be laid at the feet of anything except for the Judaism of the men involved: treating women like second-class citizens who don't deserve to sit up front, treating women like objects or animals that can be beaten and tortured for refusing to obey, and treating women like they are invisible by looking away when they suffer at the hands of brutal, bullying men.
This is where all religious violence ultimately starts — not in wars or inquisitions, but in personal violence committed by one or two people against another and in a manner that becomes so common, so accepted, that most people are comfortable turning away and denying that it even happens. When people believe that they have a god-given right to rule or are part of a divinely chosen group to rule, they will stop at nothing to assert their authority or speicalness — even in petty situations like who gets to sit where on a public bus.