ISRAEL: 250 Women Dance in Beit Shemesh Protest Flashmob

Friday, January 6, 2012
Jerusalem Post
Western Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Conflict Prevention

More than 250 women participated in a flashmob in Beit Shemesh Friday morning, dancing in protest of gender segregation in public spaces.

Passersby and locals running to the bank in the Old Beit Shemesh city square were surprised to see a group of women grooving to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" in the small town outside Jerusalem, a flashpoint of conflict over gender segregation in recent weeks. Inspired, some residents joined into the dancing, which was organized via Facebook over the course of three weeks.

Dance organizer Miri Shalem said that the event was organized in protest of the violent extremist actions of "the group of crazies," and to show that there is another side to Beit Shemesh. "Today the women and girls demonstrated our unity in public and I hope we will continue to do this in the future in order to improve our city,” she said.

In recent weeks, an ultra-Orthodox man spat on an 8-year-old girl for "immodest" dress, and a subsequent protest for women's rights drew national attention, featuring speeches from national political leaders.

"We wanted to express our feelings in a unique way and highlight a different face of Beit Shemesh," said Brenda Ganot, a flashmob organizer and Beit Shemesh resident.

"We love our city and want peaceful coexistence between the different sectors of the population; however, we will not sit quietly and let a group of crazy extremists set the tone for our city.”