In Jerusalem, a 70-year-old woman was robbed and brutally beaten by a gang of four thugs. It wasn't about money, though, it was about religion. They beat her with a metal rod, broke one hand, crushed one leg, and injured her face. They also used cell phones to proudly document the attack.
And why was she so monstrously attacked? That's not entirely clear.
On Monday night, a haredi man claiming to be a beggar came to her door and asked for spare change. Less than a minute after he left, she heard another knock on her door. This time, four masked men in gloves forced their way in, cuffed her and searched her home.
"They yelled, where are the video tapes, where's the computer," S. recalled. They didn't find any tapes, but took her laptop and her cell phone, and left.
S. managed to get up and get help, but when she stepped outside she realized the nightmare wasn't over. The assailants were still in the yard; they forced her back into her home and brutalized her.
"They yelled, you have a bad influence on our neighborhood," she said. "I knew there were rumors in the neighborhood that I'm a missionary, because they see non-Jewish women entering my home, but I'm only helping them convert to Judaism."
So she's helping non-Jews learn enough about Judaism to convert to Judaism. Normally, I'd think that devout Jews would approve of that. I guess the problem for these extremists is that by encouraging non-Jewish women to convert to Judaism, she's having non-Jewish women around -- i.e., the problem is the presence of non-Jews. Or maybe non-Jewish women who are insufficiently modest. Or something like that.
It's not entirely clear, though, because the comment from the thug -- "you have a bad influence on our neighborhood" -- could mean almost anything. They seem to hate just about everything, after all, and so just about anything could qualify as a "bad influence" in their warped minds. I honesty wouldn't be surprised if they wanted to beat an elderly woman for showing too much ankle while in public.
What do you suppose the Israeli government would do if a gang of Palestinians beat an old Jewish woman because she was a "bad influence" in their Arab-Muslim neighborhood? Yeah, it wouldn't be pretty. Witness the total absence of such a reaction when it's Jews doing it. Now, explain to me why the difference shouldn't be attributed to petty bigotry?