It began here in Haaretz:
An American immigrant was attacked and beaten Sunday night in Beit Shemesh by a gang of ultra-Orthodox zealots, in what appears to be an escalation of tension between religious groups in the city. T., who is himself ultra-Orthodox, was kicked, beaten and threatened with further violence in an attack that landed him in the hospital. T.'s car windows were also smashed. T., who asked to go unnamed, has been active in trying to stem the recent tide of Haredi violence in the city.
It has slowly spread since there to multiple blogs that follow this situation. This is not the first time unprovoked Chareidi violence in Beit Shemesh has made the news. We have read for months about riots in the streets, attacks on public places like malls, the stoning of buses and the assaults on people who don't belong in the neighbourhood, according to the thugs that now roam its streets. And that's saying nothing about the threats and intimidation that goes unreported every day.
Understand clearly the depth of all this. These thugs are not simpletons running around and looking for a good time. They're not terrorizing innocent people for money or even kicks. They believe these actions are their God-given duty. In their minds, when they beat a woman on a bus for not wearing the right clothes, when they attack an American immigrant who was trying to arrange a peaceful rally, they think they are performing a mitzvah! There can be no greater perversion of God's just will and His Holy Torah than what these scum are doing! They have turned the Torah into a despicable weapon and no one cries to the Heavens over this!
We hear all the time from the Chareidi world about how they have set the standard for true Jewish behaviour. Disagree with any of their chumros and one is "beyond the pale" of true Orthodoxy. Isn't it interesting, then, to look at what puts you beyond the pale? Use your brain, like Marc Shapiro and come to conclusions that differ from the traditional answers that in truth have no real literature to support them and you are beyond the pale. Question the literal reading of the first chapter of Bereishis and you are beyond the pale. But if you attack a man in as cowardly a fashion as you can, if you assault women who don't agree to your taste in clothes, if you smash public property and threaten people with their lives, well that never seems to get mentioned, does it.
Confront the Chareidi leadership on this issue and you get evasive answers. "Tsk, it's just a few hooligans." "Tsk, well they're just concerned for their families and their Torah environment." The excuses go on and on. It doesn't matter if you put their phone numbers on your blogs. Any caller who disagrees with these villians is automatically a heretic and a target, such is the intensity of their self-righteousness.
It is time those of us who still have eyes in our head to see with stand back and state the obvious: If these kinds of cowards can still walk into any Chareidi shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh or just plain Beit Shemesh and be counted to a minyan, can be offered an aliyah, then we don't care about being "beyond the pale" because the Pale has become "A WRETCHED HIVE OF SCUM AND VILLIANRY". (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope)
Given the choice between being a "Torah-true Jew" which means having something in common with these dirtbags and being "a heretic" for still thinking that Torah and mitzvos is about creating a decent, loving Kingdom of God in this World, I'll go with the latter, thank you very much.
Stand up and be counted or acquiese. It's your choice.