Ashdod police have began investigating a new case of haredi exclusion of women from the public sphere in the mostly secular city. A., a 15-year-old girl and her mother complained that a haredi man asked the girl not to walk by a yeshiva located in the city center, and even spat on her because of the way she was dressed.
"I will continue to walk in my neighborhood like I'm used to," she defiantly told Ynet Monday.
The girl was walking along the street Monday, as she does everyday, to pick up her 6-year-old little sister from kindergarten. At a distance of a kilometer and a half away from her home, the girl – who wore a tank top and a skirt – was approached by a haredi man who yelled at her: "Walk behind the parking lot's wall"
At first, A., did not understand what he was talking about, and asked the man "Why?" to which he replied "Because you're immodest, there are people studying Torah here."
A., who did not want to confront the man picked up her pace and defiantly told him "I'm not going to," to which he answered "Why are you so stubborn?" and then spat on her.
According to the mother, "the two girls were completely shaken by what happened. When they arrived home they called and told me what happened." She could not believe something like that could happen in her city.
"The kindergarten and the yeshiva are on the same street in a secular part of the city. We have been going to this kindergarten for a year without a single incident and without anybody saying anything.
"It never crossed our minds that there is something or someone to fear, because in Ashdod we have haredi neighborhoods which secular residents respect by not entering during Shabbat and only in modest attire. But this is a completely different story."
The girl said "I wasn't scared, but I wanted to get home as fast as possible because my little sister was with me and I didn’t want anything else to happen. Even when I went back to the place to meet my mom and the cops I wore the same clothing, I dare them to tell me what to do."
Police who arrived at the scene failed to locate the suspect, but stressed they are treating the incident with the utmost severity and promised to make additional efforts to locate the man.