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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777
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Haredim, Wake Up and Toughen Up

When Jews are attacked in broad daylight in the world's holiest city, something is horrifically wrong in Israel.

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Haredi residents of the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem clashing with police, June 9, 2012.

Haredi residents of the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem clashing with police, June 9, 2012.
Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

When Jews are attacked in broad daylight in the world’s holiest city, something is horrifically wrong in Israel. Rashi, for example, comments on Yechezkel 39:7 that “Israel’s degradation is a profanation of His Name.” Such a Chilul HaShem recently occurred in Yerushalayim when Arab youths hurled snowballs at two Haredi Jews’ faces and mocked them.

Police who excel at arresting young Jewish women and elderly rabbis were nowhere to be found in this case. If the dereliction of the police is sickening—and that dereliction is ongoing in Yerushalayim and Lod and elsewhere—then sickening too was the defenseless reaction of the victims. The video of the snowball attack brought to mind these verses from Chaim Nachman Bialik’s poem “In the City of Slaughter,” about the 1903 Kishinev pogrom:

…the heirs Of Hasmoneans lay, with trembling knees, Concealed and cowering—the sons of the Maccabees! The seed of saints, the scions of the lions! In December, another group of Arabs in Yerushalayim attacked a Haredi yeshiva student. Before that, thugs in Ashdod beat a Haredi man on Shabbat. This aggression dovetails with a vicious media and political culture which has demonized Haredim in ways that look modeled on the Nazis. Likewise, inciting murder against other religious Jews results in no prosecution, whereas condemning an IDF officer for supporting the destruction of Gush Katif in 2005 results in conviction for “insulting a public servant.”

Haredim need to wake up to these realities and toughen up. As Rav Kook zt”l wrote in Orot:

Israel’s physical restoration is of cardinal importance. Our spiritual emphasis ignored the sanctity of the body, physical health and vigor. Let us remember that the Jew possesses a Divine body no less than a Divine spirit…Our regeneration entails a synthesis of the spiritual and physical, vibrant flesh and blood, sturdy organs and a glowing spirit sustained by firm muscles. The problem is that Haredim remain in Galut when it comes to this restoration. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim notes in this vein, “It’s possible to physically be in Eretz Yisrael but spiritually, psychologically, to be elsewhere. You don’t have to look very hard to understand what I’m referring to.” (See 57:15 here.) It’s urgent that Haredim begin to develop physical strength and preparedness in the tradition of Chushim ben Dan, Yehoshua, Shimshon, David HaMelech, and the Hashmonaim. There is nothing noble and everything disgraceful about being victimized in the same land where these great Jews of action lived.

In terms of specific forms of preparedness, self-protection through firearms is a very remote option for Haredim due to Israel’s highly restrictive gun ownership policies, which extends to the life-endangering disarmament of Jews. (Meanwhile, there are enormous amounts of illegal weapons among the Arab population.) Nevertheless, available means of self-protection and training should be utilized immediately. What Rabbi Meir Kahane Hy”d wrote in 1971 to an American audience in Never Again! has all too much relevance to Israel today:

The Jew, with his persistent image of weakness, unwillingness and inability to fight back is   open to constant physical attacks on the part of non-Jews. A youngster wearing a skull cap and returning from a yeshiva is fair game. Jews walking in a park or playing ball in a playground are open to attacks. Such things must be met in the one way that is most effective—a feeling on the part of the attacker that he stands an excellent chance of being severely beaten himself. Jews must be taught to defend themselves physically. This is the surest deterrent to attacks upon them.

Menachem Ben-Mordechai

About the Author: Menachem Ben-Mordechai has written for numerous publications on subjects ranging from Israel and Latin America to the sport of powerlifting and life insurance. He has also coached elite powerlifters as well as beginners. Menachem's other writing can be found under the name Myles Kantor.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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  1. I saw the video with the snowball attack and the young man stealing and playing with the Chasid's hat.

    It is sickening and disgraceful all around.

    But it is difficult to imagine useful ways to prevent this from happening.

    Eidelkite -Gentleness is a value in these Jewish communities and I think it is a great value.

    But alas self-defense is not a big value there.

    I don't see many of these people signing up for karate or judo courses.

    In my opinion military draft is the best solution. Only a handful of genius scholars should not be drafted.

    This would have many benefits including less of this Chilul Hashem.

  2. It may be time for a New Jewish DEFENSE League. Morsi is another Hitler in the making. OBAMA JUST GAVE HIM FREE F16 JETS AND LIBERALS THINK ALL IS WELL WITH THE JEWISH WORLD. Israel is surrounded by enemies with nuclear ambitions, a holocaust is in the making. Wake up Jews before it will be too late once again. Rabbi DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  3. Liad Bar-el says:

    Let's hope and pray that our time of humiliation will soon be over in the political world and on the street. What we saw in this video amounts to little of what we don't see staged against Israel off camera in the White House, in the EU, UN, etc. Also, what we saw in this video is little as to what the police has done ON CAMERA against religious Jews by beating them on the heads with cubs and not on the street but inside a Synagogue.

  4. Brian Kent says:

    Excellent article! While I agree that the Charedim should be more militant it makes me sick to see that the police are nowhere in sight.Having lived in Yerushalyim there is not a person that does not know this is a hot spot.How many times does the Mt.of Olives have to be attacked before the police take serious action.Disgrace!

  5. Yossiyeshayahu Yisrael says:

    Break a few arms and legs and they will run like roaches in the light I speak from experience.

  6. Yosef Eli Jentof says:

    about time, there is nothing that says one cannot defend him/herself from harm and is quit the Contrary to what some believe!

  7. Mildred Bilt says:

    Eidelkite? So why are we so proud of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto? And we point proudly to the Jews who escaped the Nazi slaughter and fought in the forest. The video reminds us of the eidelkite of the Jews who went meekly to the gas chambers. Why don't these little mama's boys have their own shomrim instead of relying on the police. And they are not so eidelkeit when it comes to throwing stones at people who offend them. Their angry reactions are limited to other Jews who won't hit them back. Nicht eidelkite. Cowardice. And cowards are victims. Get ready to see more of the same. What was that silly motto again-oh yeah-"Never Again". Forget that one.

  8. This is a PERFECT example of the media not getting it. You won't see this incident on any major news channel in the United States. This whole "victim" thing has been turned on its head thanks to the liberals in American universities passing themselves off as college professors, when in reality they're nothing but propagandists. CAIR, BDS movement etc. Here are some books that explain int a lot better than I ever could. They opened my eyes:

    Pay particular attention to the "Humaid" article in the Summarized Bukhari. Why more people don't wonder about this is beyond me. It's a great weapon against those preaching this "jihad is inner struggle" crap. What the hell here's what I've sent to dozens of Muslims without getting one response exept by Dr. El-Guiden, but it really wasnt a response.

    If Islam is the religion of peace, where in Abdullah bin Humaid's article on jihad can I find the equivalent of “Love Thy Neighbor”? “and good will toward men”? And explain its prominence, (and significance), in a book that's considered second only to the Koran; My Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari. Also address “jihad” as it's defined in Reliance of the Traveller and answer the same question. Also compare Humaid's “jihad” and Emmet Fox' Sermon on the Mount and tell me which one best represents a spirit of Love and compassion.

    Here are the books:

    The Haj by Leon Uris.
    The Source by James Michener.
    Muslim Mafia by Gaubatz and Sperry.
    Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel.
    “Slavery, Terrorism and Islam” and “Holocaust in Rwanda” by Peter Hammond.
    The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America by David Horowitz.
    Ivory Towers On Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America by Martin Kramer.
    The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism by Andrew G. Bostom
    The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew G. Bostom MD
    A Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden
    The Book of Jewish Knowledge by Nathan Ausubel.
    The New Moody Atlas of the Bible by Barry J. Beitzel
    The Al Qaeda Reader by Raymond Ibrahim.
    Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law.
    Sahih al-Bukhari (With Sheikh Humaid's article on Jihad).

  9. Albert Levy says:

    The people of Israel, all the people, should be allowed to own and carry guns. If , and I mean no disrespect , but if this is our land we aught to act like it.

  10. given the way the police feel about us here, I'm amazed they didn't join in or cheer the Arabs on.

  11. I would like to see the less eidel among us, be it Israelis, Americans or ANY nationality, band together in small groups, posses, if you will, to find the attackers and beat them senseless. Will the world condemn Israel? Of course. They do so no matter what. It will serve two purposes: publicizing what is being done to Jews in our own land, and it will send a message to those who thought they would attack Jews and not pay the price.

  12. Grace Acosta says:

    The second they defend themselves, the police will show up and arrest them! Then the rest of the world will tut about "those violent Charedim". We need Moshiach NOW!

  13. Mark L. Shane says:

    if there was one chareidi rabbi who supported or modeled a manly role , arab gangs would think twice about attacks , but these folks are still in self made prisons that model a Jew who flew up a chimney from a concentration camp.-but there is still hope for these brothers. If their leaders say it's ok it will change for their betterment.

  14. People quit the bull!
    In Israel when you fend for yourselfe vs. an Arab you go to jail and he prances Home to the tune's of left wing flutes it's got nothing to do with army draft or not it's got to do with the fact the the real people of Israel have lost faith in their representatives!

  15. It is deeply distressing that the Israeli polce discriminate against the Haredim.Those police who do not protect the Haredim from attacks by Arabs should be prosecuted.

  16. Two words: "martyrdom" syndrome?

  17. Liad Bar-el says:

    Bernard, that was my point as well. The police have shown itself as much of a danger to the Haredim than the Arabs. The police have even trampled the religious Jews with their horses. It is the whole leftist government MKs and all the leftist appointed Judges, leftist IDF officers, etc, etc, etc that should be prosecuted starting with the PM. It was Bibi who gave away Hebron only to have an Arab perch himself on one those hills with his rifle, opened fire and killed at 10-month old baby, Shalhevet Pass. All MKs that supported Oslo, disengagements and demolishing Jewish homes should be prosecuted. After what Bibi has done against the Holy Land of Israel, against those who want to be more holy (Haredim) and against Judaism as a whole, I can’t imagine anyone voting for him and have a clear conscience. Donald Trump will one day eat his words for his support of Benjamin Netanyahu.

  18. two words: "disgusting antisemite"

  19. Aaron Epstein : he totally is a disgusting antisemite. Certainly racist as well…

  20. A wise roman said once "Si vis pacem, para bellum"… He was totally right.

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