If you’re one of my more tech-savvy readers, you know what a flash mob is — when a group of ordinary people come together, in what appears to be spontaneity but has in fact been orchestrated via cell phone, Facebook etc., and perform a group dance or dramatic action in a public spot. There are some great examples on YouTube of people doing this in places like Grand Central Station. It’s fun to watch the looks on the faces of passersby as they try to figure out what’s going on.
Beit Shemesh, an otherwise pretty ordinary city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is the latest hot spot in the ongoing clash between the ultra-Orthodox and modern-minded women in Israel. Signs had been hung in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood instructing women not to walk on the same pavement as men, to dress modestly and not to loiter by the local synagogue. Girls as young as eight and nine are regularly harassed, spat upon and called “prostitutes” by local ultra-Orthodox men as they walk to school.
This particular flash mob is not great as far as choreography goes. (For better choreography, see the classic flash mob doing Do Re Mi in the Antwerp train station.) But I love the spirit behind it and the statement it makes.
Plus, who’d ever have guessed that a song by Queen would become a political statement fro women’s rights in the Middle East?