Once again there was friction in the city of Modi’in due to the influx of many many chareidi families during chol hamoed Pesach. This is becoming a commonplace occurrence as the Anabe Park is the area’s largest in the area and therefore, a major attraction for families from nearby Modi’in Illit on chol hamoed when they are looking for a suitable inexpensive place for the family to spend a day.
Haaretz adds that during a show in the park, a woman volunteer was selected to assist on stage – and this was already an issue with so many chareidim present. A male could easily have substituted as volunteer, or alternatively, the crowd could have let it pass and another chareidi-secular incident could have been avoided, especially since the venue is a city that is primarily secular and dati leumi, where this would not be an issue.
It is explained that the circus was not catering to the chareidim since this is not the population of the city, and local residents do not want gender separation.
The article adds “During the show, a chareidi woman approached me and asked me, very politely, if I could carry on without the girl, out of consideration for the feelings of most of the people watching,” Vitis told Haaretz. “I decided to continue the act with a male volunteer. I was trying to do my best to show sensitivity and didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Avi Elbaz of the Free Modi’in organization however does not believe this was acceptable, explaining the performance did not take place in a chareidi community and it was not intended for chareidim so women should not be excluded. He pointed out this was not Modi’in Illit or Ramat Beit Shemesh, but Modi’in and the community should not be compelled to cater programming to outside visitors. He feels that if chareidim have a problem with women volunteers, they should simply stay away from the circus in their city.
Last year, residents of the city charged a fee to outsiders in an effort to keep the chareidim away. City officials however stated charging would be illegal. Last Sukkos they did host an event, billed for residents only, also to keep away chareidim who seem to enjoy visiting the city.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)