Woman says she was attacked for tefillin imprint


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jewish woman says she was attacked in Beersheba for having the imprints of tefillin lines visible on her arms.

Noa Raz was physically assaulted Tuesday morning by an ultra-Orthodox man in Beersheba’s Central Bus Station, where she was waiting for a bus to her job in Tel Aviv, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Israel Religious Action Center.

According to the release, the man asked Raz twice if the imprints were from tefillin. When she told him they were, he began to kick and strangle her while screaming “women are an abomination.” Raz, who practices Conservative Judaism, reportedly broke free from the man and boarded her bus.

Raz is a member of Women of the Wall, which holds a monthly Rosh Chodesh women’s prayer service at the Western Wall. In March, haredi men threw chairs at the women as they prepared to pray at the Wall. 

Raz filed a police report Wednesday on the incident. The Israel Religious Action Center has called on the Beersheba police to treat Raz’s assault as a hate crime.  

Anat Hoffman, the center’s executive director, said the assault on Raz for wrapping tefillin “should not be seen as an isolated incident but as taking place within an atmosphere of growing violence toward and intimidation of women who seek to pray freely and equally."

"Too often these acts of violence are tolerated. The fact that this man thought it acceptable to attack a woman for performing a religious act in private is an example of the escalation of violence targeted against women and against religious pluralists in Israel." 

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