by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
We had some great comments and feedback on events in Beit Shemesh. I’d like to point a few out, and a few other articles that highlight thoughts on what’s going on.
First Rav Slifkin at Rationalist Judaism, someone I’ve met and attended his lecture (and my daughter has babysat for him!). He writes a deep analysis of why other ultra-orthodox rabbis aren’t standing up to counter the zealot-thugs. His conclusion, they deplore the violence but aren’t completely against the goals of a “holy neighborhood”.
Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish has a completely different take. He traces back the money trail of those who promoted a minor local disturbance into an international news event. At the end of the trail he finds George Soros, who is consistently financing projects to fracture Israeli society.
On both accounts I’ll note the amazing fact that when 20 (seemingly) religious Jews misbehave in a large town in Israel, it becomes a number one world headline!
Many of our reader comments were incredible and approached the issue exactly as I had been thinking about it….
Yishai said “Be among the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving all creatures and bringing them closer to Torah.”
There is so much Torah about peace, unity, and the mitzvot of Bein Odom L’chavero (between man and his fellow), and so little about zealotry with absolutely NONE about attacking your fellow (unless he’s trying to physically kill you). There is no Torah in what’s going on and no possible Jewish justification.
This is thuggery in the name of Torah, a straight out chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s name).
This doesn’t mean there are no negative actions happening on the other side. There are people looking to take advantage of the situation, trying to start a fight with the ultra-orthodox and people who will jump into the situation for their own personal benefit. And some of the organizations now involved are receiving foreign funding to damage Israel and the Jews.
But it doesn’t matter. There is no justification for terrorizing elementary school girls.
Two comments were upsetting, and I’ll reply to them here:
The animals spitting at children are NOTHING to do with the Charedi community here and nor are the immodestly dressed mizrachi women who feels its appropriate to go to the non religious press. Both are as bad as each other and have nothing to do with the Charedim in Beit Shemesh.
“How can you talk about Rabbai’im in such a way?” – Where there are no men, be a man (Pirke Avos).
This woman’s child has been terrorized for 3 months. The police didn’t deal with it. The mayor didn’t deal with it. The rabbaim she approached either didn’t deal with it or couldn’t deal with it. Would you let your child continue to be terrorized or do ANYTHING you could to make it stop (like going to the press)? I know my answer.
Abbi, you’re obviously looking to pick a fight. As with the previous comment, I wonder if you even read the articles as we took direct actions to stand against the zealot-thugs actions against the school and the girls. If you want to completely alienate the charedi community and define every Jew who wears a black hat and long coat as a problem, then you’ll be helping the zealots who go around telling everyone in the charedi community that that’s the case.
Israel is going to be more religious, more ultra orthodox whether anyone likes it or not. That’s a fact of demographics that can no longer be avoided (and previous governments took actions to starve the community, reducing child and poverty payments). The government has done everything it can to stop that, keep the charedim segregated and limited in economic capacity (yes, there are 2 sides to the story and I’m telling the other one.)
Now the government and society should be working to moderate, make some accommodations, and integrate them into the operational aspects of society. (No, you’re not going to get them to integrate into Israeli culture – trying to force that is part of the isolation response of today.)
I attended the protests to defend the girls as a charedi standing against charedi zealot-thugs with my dati-leumi (modern orthodox) brethren. And I attended yesterday’s anti-violence protest as a charedi who is willing to stand up and say this is not ok, and confront it when necessary.
I don’t pretend. “Where there’s no men, be a man” is part of my Torah. So is “v’ahavta l’rayecha ka’mocha” – love your fellow. What’s part of yours?