I tried. I really tried to write this gently. Not possible. This needs a firm, blunt and clear response.
At the end of an article reporting the misogynistic and racist analogy of MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler about the Women of the Wall, a reader commented by calling the Women of the Wall “ugly bitches.” It’s certainly not the worst epithet that’s been thrown at them. Enough is enough.
There are moments when the truth is plain. Sometimes it’s harsh, but the truth nonetheless. This time, it’s a truth that those fighting for the equality of women in both secular and religious life already know. Perhaps this is stark enough for others to see.
Misogyny and repression are at the heart of the objections to women’s prayer at the Kotel.
To that foul-mouthed man: A man who uses that language hates women. Pure. Simple. No debate. That’s what you’ve shown about yourself. That’s what you’ve shown about all of those who use boorish language, physical violence, attempted intimidation and unbridled nastiness against women practicing Judaism as they see fit, as protected by the courts of Israel. You simply hate women.
Most ultra-Orthodox men I know object to women reading Torah, but they privately express a live-and-let-live attitude. They oppose the monthly Women of the Wall Rosh Chodesh service, but they’re also disgusted by the use of crude and ignorant language and actions taken in their name, in the name of protecting the Kotel and in the name of G-d. They say G-d will sort it out in the end. There’s a difference between heartfelt opposition and expressions of hatred.
Sadly, these live-and-let-live men fear the social isolation that will surely come if they speak up. The result: the vast majority of voices we hear from the ultra-Orthodox world are full of hate. Shame on hatred. Shame on silent collusion.
To Rabbi Eichler: sanctity doesn’t yield anger; holiness and hatred cannot occupy the same space. As a rabbi and a public official you should know better than to use inflammatory analogies. Comparing Women of the Wall to the ‘Murabitat’ — women who are paid to harass Jewish visitors to Temple Mount — is a hateful deceit and an incitement to violence. We deserve better from public officials.
How sad that some Jews oppress other Jews. How ironic that it happens at the Kotel. How embarrassing when it comes from the mouth of a rabbi. How undemocratic when it comes from the mouth of an MK. It’s nothing less than Jewish anti-Semitism.
To all men: You may not call women ‘bitches.’ Period. No discussion. Not your wives. Not your daughters. Not your neighbors. Not in private. Not in public. And not the Women of the Wall. There are several other words you may not use. You know them. I don’t need to repeat them here. No excuse. And never.
To any women whose husband or boyfriend uses these words: dump him. He has violence in his heart. He’s shown it with his language. When he reads this, he will call me a ‘pussy,’ a ‘faggot’ and a ‘freak.’ Don’t listen to his words. Listen to his violence. Look at the depth of anger on his face. He’s a bully. He’s showing you something important. He’s showing you his very quality as a man.
Good men who stand for just causes don’t need to use harassment, intimidation or verbal violence. They don’t incite violence with hateful rhetoric, despicable analogies and outright lies. They speak their truth without vulgar attacks. They are strong in their place without inflicting hatred on others.
How you speak shows exactly who you are.