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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Hareidim – N.I.M.B.Y.

No one wants Hareidim moving into their neighborhood. But no one is letting them build all-Hareidi communities either.

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A Secular woman handing a Hareidi child a "Universal Draft" sticker during a protest.

A Secular woman handing a Hareidi child a "Universal Draft" sticker during a protest.
Photo Credit: Yehoshua Yosef/Flash90

Hareidim – obviously they’re worse than the Settlers. Who wants them? Worse, who wants them next living next door to you.

For a supposedly open-minded and tolerant society, some Israelis are very intolerant of Hareidim. So intolerant that they don’t want them as neighbors, while simultaneously complaining about Hareidi neighborhoods being enclaves of intolerance and isolation.

In Friday’s (Jerusalem Post) In Jerusalem, the paper went on its usual rant about Hareidim (legally, mind you) acquiring more property in Jerusalem for their growing needs.

In this latest story, the (secular) residents of Ramat Sharett, who share a border with (Hareidi) Bayit V’Gan woke up nearly too late to stop the “machinations” that put them on the “forward position on the frontlines of the ongoing haredi-secular battle in Jerusalem”.

But luckily these secular residents managed to block the legal hareidi acquisition and construction, and reach a “compromise” with the city, thus acquiring one of the two plots in question for themselves, keeping it out of Hareidi hands who had legally already won it.

This of course follows up with their previous articles on Hareidim making inroads into Kiryat HaYovel, and other “last bastions” of secularism in Jerusalem, to the dismay of the less primitive and more open and tolerant secular residents.

But don’t be concerned, all these people say that Hareidim deserve to have a place to live, just not in their back yard.

But what happens when it’s not in their back yard?

Not surprisingly, it turns out these tolerant secular open-minded progressives don’t want Hareidim to have a place to live there either.

In the Jerusalem Post’s weekend magazine, they interviewed Brian Lurie, the new president of the New Israel Fund (NIF) and Naomi Paiss, their VP of public relations.

There’s so much disgusting stuff to talk about in that article, but one particular paragraph caught my eye.

As you may have guessed from above, there are so few communities that want to let Hareidim in, for fear of them taking over.

As a result, the Hareidim have been working on building in their own towns and cities (one in the Negev, one in Wadi Ara), where they can let their hair down, and not worry about bothering secular Jews with the threat of encroachment.

But, the NIF and other progressive group don’t like the idea that Hareidim should build all-Hareidi towns for themselves. And so they try to block it.

The Jerusalem Post quotes Naomi Paiss, NIF’s VP for public relations,

“…the NIF was involved in a campaign to change what was set up to an all-haredi 50,000-person city placed in the Harish wadi area [JS: think Baqa Al-Gharbiya and Umm el Qutuf] between a regular middle-class town of ordinary Jewish people, a kibbutz down the road and an Arab village up the hill.”

Paiss says the new city would have ruined an area where pluralism is working by artificially throwing in a new ghetto.

She says she has no problem with Hareidim moving into the new development, but the NIF is proud it has suceeded in making the new development open to all.

So let’s analyze her statement, down the road is a left-wing kibbutz ghetto. Up the hill is an exclusively Arab village ghetto (Baka Al-Gharbiya – Arab population 32,000+, Jewish population: 0). And somewhere nearby is a ghetto of middle-class ordinary (presumably secular) Israelis (who would of course welcome in Hareidim with open arms to their town).

So despite all those other ghettos nearby, a new Hareidi ghetto would have ruined the pluralism of the the area. Really.

I don’t know about you, but the hypocrisy is just reeking.

And perhaps there’s something else that Paiss isn’t actually telling us either.

This area, Wadi Ara, is actually an area overwhelmingly populated by Arabs, and not Jews, though it appears to me that she wants you to think otherwise by mentioning a kibbutz and Jewish town alongside and Arab village.

If I were a suspicious fellow, I’d wonder if perhaps the NIF fears that Hareidim moving in, with their high birth rates, would Judaize the Wadi Ara area. While a “pluralistic” town, “open to all” would prevent that from happening.

But I’m not a suspicious fellow, and I’m sure that wasn’t a consideration, even if she implied that there was only a small Arab village nearby, and not a few, including one with over 32,000 Arab residents.

By the way, 50,000 persons, is actually only around 8,800 family-apartments.

Now, let’s look at what the NIF really accomplished in their quest for pluralism.

Instead of an all-Hareidi town, where they could be left alone to bother no one, there will be a “mixed” town with friction points throughout, just like in certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh  – that the In Jerusalem delights in reporting on.

Thanks to the NIF, instead of an all-Chareidi frictionless town now (such as Beitar Ilit, Modiin Ilit, Elad), it will now take 5-10 years for the Hareidim to push out all the secular, all the while those secular residents complain about the Hareidim encroaching on their turf – turf that was originally earmarked for the rapidly growing Hareidi community that no one wants living among them.

And the same is being done to the Hareidim who are trying to build a town down in the Negev. They aren’t really welcome in the nearby towns, and the towns don’t want a Hareidi community built nearby there either, this time ostensibly for “green” reasons.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say you don’t want Hareidim in your community, but when they try to build their own towns and communities you block them from doing that too.

You can’t say you want Hareidim in the army, but complain that there are too many religious and (soon) Hareidi officers and combat soldiers.

And you can’t say you want all the Hareidim in the army except for “a few hundred geniuses”, when 35% of non-Hareidi Israelis, and a significantly larger percentage, when you only count the Gush Dan region, don’t do any service at all.

Israeli pluralism is a farce. It’s not tolerant and its not open-minded. It’s hypocritical. And it’s definitely anti-Hareidi.

I won’t be surprised if Yair Lapid rewrites his famous “Things We Couldn’t Say During the Disengagement” article a few years from now and writes,

“The Israelis merely felt that the Hareidim should be taught a lesson in humility and perhaps in democracy too. The Hareidim learned that their power is limited…

“It had nothing to do with the army, or work, or the economy, or any other explanation that was given. There was a totally different motivation…”

You only need to read the NIF quote and read about the protests over the past 2 years against Hareidim moving into Harish to understand what that motivation is.


About the Author: JoeSettler blogs at The Muqata.blogspot.com and occasionally on his own blog at JoeSettler.blogspot.com.

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

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