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No kidding.

The leadership of the Israeli city Beit Shemesh has told that country’s courts that everyone’s too afraid to go in and enforce legal decisions. The latest one orders the town to take down its many threatening and humiliating signs — signs that not only tell women how to dress, but order them to keep their vileness away from sacred areas. Ultra-orthodox fanatics in town are now so violently out of control that the whole place has become a no-go zone.

[T]he central commercial area of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet has become so notorious that it has become known by some non-haredi residents as “The Heart of Darkness.”

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In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Yigal Marzel decried the lawlessness in the extremist neighborhoods of Beit Shemesh, in which, he noted, the authorities appear to have abandoned the area to violent radicals.

Marzel quoted the response of [the town’s mayor] and the Beit Shemesh Municipality, in which they described the situation in the city as “a war” and “catastrophic,” where extremists are violent toward IDF soldiers, pedestrians and police personnel, throw stones at people and vehicles, and harass and curse people.

“[The state] cannot reconcile itself to this situation, and all the authorities need to take the necessary steps to restore order and observance of the law,” wrote the judge.

The state cannot reconcile itself… Interesting language. It’s like saying I can’t fucking believe this. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

And just as there are people with deep pockets paying the fines of women who keep wearing the burqa where it’s illegal, so UD feels certain there are people with deep pockets happy to pay the penalty ($1,400 per sign every day) the judge will soon impose on lawless Beit Shemesh. For this religious state is in the peculiar position of having decided that the ultra-orthodox of Beit Shemesh are the world’s realest Jews, and thus the very heart and soul of Israel. And now the courts of that country are living with this decision.

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A peculiar position? Only if you forget what Ronald Dworkin said about religious states.

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