Dangerous to Wear a Kippa (sruga?)

I am often required to travel to Turkey for business – and with the downward spiral in Turkey/Israel relations, I have increasingly uncomfortable wearing my kippa in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara. Locals have advised me to remove my kippa, for my own safety.

I have asked my rav (Rav Chaim Soloveichik) whether I can take my kippa off, if I feel this can put me at physical risk? He confirmed that I can (even should?) – or wear a hat if this will sufficiently disguise my identity (wearing a hat itself looks “odd” in Turkey).

Arutz 7 has published an article about a recent attack (what they call a lynch) upon a bunch of kids who were walking through Ramat Bet Shemesh (Bet) on their way back from celebrations, on Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day). The article features graphic photos of bruised and bloodied kids, and tells a harrowing story of how they were attacked by a mob of local residents with rocks, metal-buckled belts, pots, shovels and other domestically-available weapons.

Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet is a predominantly Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood; it is also the home of groups of  Neturei Karta and other anti-State-of-Israel extremist sects (such as the group in the top photo).

Every year, those small groups of extremists hold demonstrations on Israel’s National Holidays, including Israeli flag burning, waving large black flags, and shouting & graffiti-ing their blood-curdling curses upon the State.

There have also been many cases of drivers being attacked (particularly those with traditional Israeli flags fixed on their cars) and their vehicles being damaged.
I myself had my car stopped by a crowd of demonstrators and a flag snapped off my car while driving along the main road in Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet.

In an incident about a year ago, a group of National Religious kids from Givat Sharett were severely beaten up (including my pediatricians daughter), while walking through Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet. This event resulted in Givat Sharett residents organizing a large (and orderly) demonstration against neighboring militants.

Unfortunately, I fear it is only a matter of time before someone gets killed, chas veshalom, by such a mob.

Do I need to tell my kids to disguise their National Religious identities? To wear hats over their kippot in Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet? In which case, what’s the difference between being a Jew in Bet Shemesh, and being a Jew in Istanbul?


  1. David, can you please post a link to the article. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous: "please post a link"

    I'm not quite sure what that means or entails...could you email me off line and explain? Thanks.

  3. > In which case, what’s the difference between being a Jew in Bet Shemesh, and being a Jew in Istanbul?

    None. In both places you are surrounded by evil, violent thugs who hate you because of who you are.

  4. He probably means the Arutz Sheva article.

    The thought of hiding our identity is strange, as in the past 20 years, it became acceptable to show our religiosity. Chilling.

  5. Ahh! - thanks for clarifying Nosson!
    I've added the link to the Arutz 7 article.
    And a photo from that article of one of the beaten kids.

  6. You left out the fact that the "kids" were a bunch of at risk teens looking for a fight and they got it.
    They deliberately walked through bet with flags draped on their backs on yom haatmaot, with the sole purpose of instigating.
    I'm not defending the guys in bet, but when somebody looks for a fight and then gets beaten up they shouldn't go crying to their mommys.

  7. The lynching occurred in RBS Bet around 1:30 AM, near Megan Avos. The noisy kids in Aleph were not the problem. Those that were attacked were not making noise just merely walking home from the events in BS (taxi's were scarce due to the holiday, the only ones I saw were Arab's from outside BS taxi companies) The boys and girls were separate and the grown men attacked the girls (several of them were grabbed and felt in inappropriate places on their bodies). The noise you referred to at midnight was from another group, in another location and not related to the attack. - A Lynching is an appropriate word for this attack. The kids didn't want to walk through bet, but there really is no choice and they have every right to talk there safely.

  8. Anonymous - "I'm not defending the guys in bet, but..."

    Actually, that's exactly what you're doing.

    "The raped girl had it coming to her."

    "The mugged lady should have known better than walk in unlit areas..."

    "The murdered soldier shouldn't have hitch-hiked".

    The kids should have...done what? Avoided walking through RBS Bet on Yom Ha'Atzmaut? Hidden anything blue & white? Moved to Modein where they can behave like regular Israeli kids and NOT get beaten up by a mob for it?

  9. Where were the police?

  10. Anonymous - "I'm not defending the guys in bet, but..."

    wow. that's some nerve! last time i checked, Israel is a free country, where our young generations have died to defend our right to live HERE and EVERYWHERE we want. Bet belongs to everybody and anybody should be able to walk home proudly displaying their patriotism without the risk of getting attacked.


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