Jerusalem dance studio is the new frontline in battle for secular liberty | World news | The Observer
Since the company renovated its premises in the centre of Jerusalem, installing picture windows that let passers-by see the rehearsals, ultra-orthodox Jews in the locality have waged a campaign against what they call the “indecency” of the women dancers.
They have demanded that the company close the blinds to conceal the women, banging on the windows and yelling through the glass whenever it has not complied.
Last week the company took a stand. It raised the blinds for an informal performance of Babel and the dancers continue to rehearse in full view.
Tension between the Haredim and other Jews is mounting across Israel. But it is acute in Jerusalem, where the proportion of Haredim is more than 20% and rising fast because of their high birth rate and the flight of many secular Jews from the city. Many non-Haredim say that the ultra-orthodox wield disproportionate influence on Jerusalem’s politics and social policy. Amir Kolben, the founder of the dance company, says its visibility is only one issue. “Jerusalem is full of friction points between ultra-orthodox Jews and secular culture. We have nothing against religious or orthodox Jews, but unfortunately this is not the case from the other side,” he said..