Sometimes I just want to explode! I keep reading stuff about how some people believe they are foreordained by God to be His messengers. As such they feel they have a right to do whatever it takes to see that His will is done. His will… according the best of their understanding. Whatever it takes usually ends up hurting innocent people. In some cases it includes even murder and suicide for that cause. That’s what Islamists do.
Although there have been exceptions (Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir come to mind) Jews do not tend toward murder or suicide. But we do have our zealots. Many of them. And they can be found among the extreme fringes of observant Jewry. These people will have the same sense of doing “what’s necessary” in service to God.
There are religious Zionist zealots called “price taggers.” They have attacked innocent Arabs or government installations in retaliation for injustices they believe were done to them. But they are not the only price taggers. In the most ironic of ironies, there is a new group of zealots who have taken a cue from the price taggers. They refer to themselves as Torah taggers. And they are Haredi.
These Haredi zealots are the polar opposites of the Religious Zionist price taggers. They actually support the goals of the Arabs. Instead of insisting on colonizing all parts of Eretz Yisroel at all costs – as do many on the extreme right of religious Zionism – they would cede all of Eretz Yisroel to the Arabs. But that is not what animated them recently.
This time it was the Women of the Wall (WoW). They have decided to act in the name of God. And have vandalized the home of Peggy Cidor, one of their leaders. This is being reported inmany media outlets. The graffiti uses some pretty disgusting language about these women. From the Jewish Press:
Some of the graffiti sprayed on the door and stairwell of Peggy Cidor’s apartment read in Hebrew: “Women of the Wall are wicked,” “Peggy, your time is up,” “Peggy, we know where you live,” and “Jerusalem is holy,” according to the Women of the Wall.
Now I know that graffiti is not the same as physical violence. But these are the same people who throw rocks at cars, spit on reporters, yell at little girls calling them whores, burn dumpsters, throw acid on women who do not dress according to their modesty standards, beat up vendors who dare to sell MP4 players, burn down stores that sell clothing that do not measure up to their modesty standards, beat up women who dare to sit in the front (men’s) section of a Mehadrin bus, intimidate victims of abuse and their families, torch restaurants that allow mixed seating… and use all manner of violent behavior in the name of God. Graffiti is just their latest tactic.
Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich has condemned their actions.. saying that these people do not represent Judaism. But these people argue that they are the epitome of Judaism claiming justification for their actions because of WoW’s breach of tradition.
The apologetic response I often hear from the right is that these are just vandals and not mainstream anything! Not even mainstream Meah Shearim. In fact the Women of the Wall actually conceded this point in their own statement saying that it was likely the actions of bored youth.
You know what? I don’t buy that. At least not completely. There is just too much of that going on all over Israel in places where individuals like these are found. And they all react in similar ways – with violence of one sort or another. The thugs who beat up a defenseless woman on a bus in Jerusalem are not the same people who called a little girl a whore in Ramat Bet Shemesh. But they are of the same mindset. The actual vandals may be few in numbers relative to the whole. And they may take ‘the law into their own hands’ – whereas most of their community does not go that far. But make no mistake about it. These aren’t just kids out on a lark with a can of spray paint out to do indiscriminate damage. These are people with a plan and a goal. They are zealots for God!
About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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