Israelis lately experience attacks not just from the outside but from its own ultra-Orthodox communities — about 10 percent of the country, and growing — whose activists have jeered and stoned “immodestly” dressed women and girls, as young as 6, on the street.
They defaced women’s images on billboards, forced illegal gender segregation in public facilities, including buses and sidewalks, and vandalized businesses that treat women as equals — such as one ice cream shop since female customers lick the cones in public.
An especially violent minority, the Sikrikim, employ some tactics reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan in America.
Each August in Urakawa, Japan, a “hallucination and delusion competition” takes place among visiting alcoholics and sufferers of mental disorders, who in principle are helped by bonding with fellow patients and revealing their failures and successes.
The Bethel Festival, named for its sponsor, brings about 600 people together for on-stage presentations (sometimes in the form of song or dance) and awards a grand prize to a standout visitor.
One year it went to a woman who lived for four days in a public restroom after a voice in her head told her to.
And in another year it went to a man who had overcome a 35-year stretch of never straying more than two yards from his mother.
Some mental-disorder professionals believe the festival is too-easily mockable by insensitive outsiders.
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa Fla. 33679 or go to www.newsoftheweird.com.)