Traders in Jerusalem’s best-known market, Machane Yehudah, are vowing to stamp out modesty zealots who tell women to cover up if they disapprove of their outfits.
Until now, the phenomenon of extremist Jews pressuring others to dress by their own standards has been an occurrence only in Mea Shearim and a few hard-line, predominantly Charedi neighbourhoods. But the Machane Yehudah market is in the city centre and attracts a mixed crowd.
“It’s a free market, a market for everyone,” said stallholder Avram Levi, a board member of the Machane Yehudah Merchants Association. He stressed that the modesty patrols have been infrequent, but said: “To me, this is a type of verbal violence.” Another trader, Boaz Tzidkiyahu, said that he would “send them away from here on their bottoms to Mea Shearim”.