web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Where’s The Outrage?

Share Button

When the disproportion of terrorist acts committed by Muslims – and the resulting hordes cheering the carnage on the Arab street – lead clear-minded observers to conclude that jihadism is the dominant strain in the Islamic world, we are accused of painting with an unfairly broad brush, discounting the silent (and invisible) majority of Muslims who oppose violence and crave peace.

I am ashamed at how fitting the comparison is to the current behavior of certain haredim in Beit Shemesh and parts of Jerusalem. Harassing women, terrorizing schoolgirls, assaulting police officers and journalists, vandalizing property—the so-called Sikrikim seem to have styled themselves after the Iranian vice squads. It matters not whether the perpetrators of these acts constitute 5 percent or 25 percent of the haredi community. Because all we hear from the background is a deafening silence.

There have been no public statements or rallies to oppose this outrageous behavior by those who claim to speak for them. In fact, the only rallies by haredim have been to protest the way they are being victimized by the media and Israeli authorities – including a huge rally last week in Meah Shearim featuring men in yellow “Jude” stars and children dressed in concentration camp uniforms. A handful of haredi rabbis have spoken out against the Sikrikim, but most have not, choosing to reserve their public pronouncements for other matters.

This can only lead one to conclude that a large number of haredim agree with the viewpoints espoused by the activists – even if they do not condone their tactics. They share the worldview that, as one man interviewed at the aforementioned rally was quoted as saying, “there’s only one Jewish way.” If you are not like us, you cannot profess to be frum, to love God and fear Him, to deserve basic human dignity.

Such an exclusionary – dare I say hateful – way of thinking is totally antithetical to Torah and many of its most foundational teachings: “V’ahavta l’rayacha kamocha” (Love your fellow man as yourself); “V’halachta b’drachav” (And you shall walk in His ways); “D’racheha darchei noam v’chol nesivoseha shalom” ([The Torah’s] ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace); “Derech eretz kadma laTorah” (Human decency comes before Torah). . . .

Why has the haredi leadership taken such a passive stance on this cancer metastasizing in their midst? It pains me to say this, but their silence – and that of their followers – is not surprising. The most consistent, persistent message that the extremely right-wing religious leaders send out to their followers, at least publicly, is not ahavas Yisrael, achdus, or continuous introspection. Instead, it is “Banned!” “Treif!” or “Anyone who does [X]or uses [Y] is not worthy of respect.” Whether it’s the Internet, digital cameras, smartphones, music (even by frum artists), public transportation, clothing that offers a hint of femininity, or stores with any percentage of non-mehadrin inventory, the circle of exclusion is forever expanding.

As a result, more and more people – regardless of whether they are indeed shomrei mitzvos and yarei Shamayim – fall outside the parameters of toleration. Holiness equated with quarantine will naturally give rise to disdain for anyone perceived to be “less than.” And so, I believe, this “cheirem culture” has created a monster: a society where it is seen as acceptable to lash out – physically, verbally, or otherwise – at fellow Jews.

What about the rising wave of anti-haredi – and indeed, anti-religious – sentiment in Israel, which has also given way to incidents of real harassment? Of course it is wrong. Completely indefensible. There is no excuse for attacking others (physically or verbally) who have not lifted a hand (literally or figuratively) against you, just because you find their lifestyle, or that of others who look like them, unpalatable.

But for the haredi community to cry victim – without in the same breath disavowing the actions of those who claim to represent their values – is nothing more than a red herring. The anti-haredi incidents are a backlash, and there would be no backlash had no women been heckled out of their seats on a bus and no little girls terrorized as they tried to make their way to school.

There surely are many haredim, whether in Beit Shemesh, Beitar, or even Meah Shearim, who abhor what is happening. But according to Chazal, silence is tantamount to acquiescence. So silent majorities are no bulwark at all – they are simply passive enablers of a grave chillul Hashem.

Ziona Greenwald is a full-time mother who has worked as a court attorney and magazine editor. She currently does freelance writing and editing from her home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Where’s The Outrage?”

  1. I.M.lerman says:

    While Ziona Greenwald is entitled to her distaste to bans her mention of it in the context of this article is very telling.This is not about chareidi extremists and the lack of condemnation by the chariedi community,its about their core values.The rest of the article is a classic example of the question “when did you start beating your wife”.Can you explain to me why we should start apologizing for people who consider Rabbi Elyashiv as much of a Zionist as Ms.Greenwald.They did not grow up in our schools and are in fact a fringe in their own community.Ms.Greenwald,why dont you apolgize.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

More Articles from Ziona Greenwald
hitler comic book

Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.

Winter-112213-Joy-Kosher

Geller, a mother of five who made aliyah from Monsey last year, offers a glimpse – with lots of photos – into her busy family life.

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then children’s eyes are the window to the Almighty Himself.

It is ten o’clock in the morning. I am at a local park with my daughter. A number of children are climbing and sliding, imbibing the fresh air. In their orbit are a smaller number of women, some milling around on foot, others sitting on the benches conversing and minding strollers. Trailing my own child, I play a silent game: Who is a Mommy? Which, if any, of these women (who range from lovingly attentive to disturbingly disengaged) are the children’s mothers, and which are babysitters?

We asked several experienced mechanchim for their insights on how to shepherd children from their first “Modeh Ani” to the understanding that Hashem alone holds the key to every aspect of their existence. Here are the key principles they shared.

When the disproportion of terrorist acts committed by Muslims – and the resulting hordes cheering the carnage on the Arab street – lead clear-minded observers to conclude that jihadism is the dominant strain in the Islamic world, we are accused of painting with an unfairly broad brush, discounting the silent (and invisible) majority of Muslims who oppose violence and crave peace.

Ever since a light bulb went off in Yasir Arafat’s head and the idea of a Palestinian people was born, Israel has become known to the world as an “occupier.”

Anthony Weiner is the latest in a long line of public figures caught by surprise at the unveiling of their own closet misdeeds. Weiner (and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the still-presumed-innocent Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and so many others before them) lived in a bubble of false security, created in part by their own hubris. Perhaps their biggest mistake, however, was believing their personal lives were somehow sacrosanct, impermeable, separate and apart from their public lives.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/wheres-the-outrage/2012/01/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: