BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — A sign outside a row of synagogues
directing women to walk on the other side of the street has turned this
town near Jerusalem into a front line of a raging national debate about
the imposition of strict social codes by ultra-Orthodox zealots.
A community of 86,000 about a half-hour’s drive from Jerusalem,
Beit Shemesh has a growing ultra-Orthodox population. The town has
become a cauldron of tension in recent days, with crowds of
black-cloaked men assaulting television crews and facing off with police, pelting them with rocks and eggs.