Suburban D.C. County Suspends Beit Shemesh 'Sister-City' Talks

Montgomery County Leaders Troubled by Haredi Violence

By JTA

Published February 13, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A community in Maryland has suspended negotiations over a sister-city agreement with Beit Shemesh following violence in the Israeli city against women by Haredi residents.

Montgomery County, which is home to a large Jewish population, was at the end of the process to ink the sister-city arrangement with the Jerusalem suburb when disturbances by Haredim outside a Modern Orthodox girls’ school and other assaults on women in the area were reported internationally.

Negotiations over a sister-city relationship began in 2007, according to the Washington Post.

Montgomery County inked its first sister-city relationship with Morazan, El Salvador, in July, and is now considering Gondar, Ethiopia, for its next sister city. The sister-city program encourages cooperation between municipalities through educational, cultural, social, economic, humanitarian and charitable exchanges.

The non-profit Montgomery Sister Cities board has proposed a public meeting on Beit Shemesh in late March, according to the Washington Post.

The negotiations were suspended after local activists met last month with County Executive Isiah Leggett over recent media reports about Beit Shemesh. Some activists had been warning Leggett about religious extremism in the city for years, according to the newspaper.

“I really support efforts to build bridges, but we have to be practical,” County Council member George Leventhal, who is Jewish, told the Post. He added, “The deeper you get into issues like this, the greater risk you run of getting your own constituents really mad.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.