Israel’s High Court of Justice once again has been petitioned to address modesty signs in frum areas of Beit Shemesh, signs that were already ruled to be illegal and ordered removed by City Hall.
At the conclusion of the latest hearing, the court ordered the signs removed within two weeks. The city has also been instructed to replace security surveillance cameras in the area that were vandalized.
The signs in question are near a shul in a frum area, instructing women to use the opposite sidewalk towards maintaining tznius.
Justice Chanan Meltzer explained, “There will not be a reality in the State of Israel in which a street is closed to women. From my perspective, police can send a battalion there to monitor it day and night, half the police force can be there.”
The court also indicated the next step is the arrest of Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul for contempt of court, as the city repeatedly failed to remove the signs, insisting they cannot control extremists who continue to replace the signs if removed.
This latest court hearing was at the behest of five women, residents of the city, objecting to the signs which are close to the intersection of Nahar Yarden and Yehuda HaNasi Streets, as well as regarding signs to stairs leading there instructing men to use the right side and women the left during busy hours when people are coming and going.
Speaking to Reshet Bet News after the hearing, Mayor Abutbul stated he would not permit anyone to discredit the city’s name. “There are signs in Meah Shearim too. why aren’t they being addressed? Why the discrimination? We are talking about a small group of extremists. We call on the police to handle them. The court expects us to do what the police cannot and we do not have handcuffs.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)