More than 4,000 people say they will attend a march in Beit Shemesh [Israel] this week to protest the exclusion of women and girls from the public sphere and the increasing Haredization of the city. The day, time and venue of the event have yet to be announced.
A number of times in recent weeks girls and women in Beit Shemesh have been been cursed and spit at, and even had rocks thrown at them, by members of the city's ultra-Orthodox community who claimed their dress was immodest.
A sign put up in the city center under the aegis of the municipality instructs women to use separate sidewalks and "walk quickly, without drawing a crowd and without talking to each other."
But it is the tears of a 7-year-old girl, broadcast on Channel 2's Friday-night news magazine this weekend, that is galvanizing thousands; only two days were needed for those 4,000 people to confirm their attendance at the march. Na'ama, who lives with her religiously observant family in Beit Shemesh, is afraid to walk the 300 meters between home and school because of the violence she has faced from Haredi men who say her clothes are too revealing.