Bnei Brak, Israel’s largest predominantly Haredi city, has announced it is cleansing its street names from any hints of religious Zionism in favor of names of Haredi rabbis, including Knesset Members whose questionable contribution to the country consisted of pumping as much as the taxpayers’ money as possible into the coffers of Haredi yeshivas.
Mayor Avraham Rubinstein assured residents that they can voice their objections before the decision is carried out, and that the city even will inform relatives of those whose names no longer will appear.
For example, the street named after Moshe Sharett, Israel’s second prime minister, will disappear.
This is not the first time the city has removed a Zionist name. “Herzl Street” no longer exists. He was not only the founder of modern Zionism but also was fiercely secular.
But a wholesale removal of Zionist names in a city that was built by religious Zionists is another nail in the coffin for co-existence between Haredi anti-Zionists and secular and religious Zionists.
Kibbutz Galuyot Street, named after the concept of Israel’s being a collective society for Jews from the Diaspora, will be named after Rabbi Shalom Berman Street, who headed the Ponevezh Yeshiva.
Even Jerusalem Street is too Zionist for Bnei Brak, probably because Mea Shearim has not taken over the entire capital. The street now will be named after Shlomo Ungar, who also was head of a yeshiva.
Second Aliyah Street no longer will exist, and in its place, a street sign will read “Admor from Lublin.”
“Mother of Moshavot” Street will changed to “Rabbi Avraham Shapira Street,” named after a Haredi Knesset Member.
Religious Zionists are a dying species in Bnei Brak. One of them, a worker for the city, told the Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv, “Changing the names of streets named after religious Zionists who built the country and who were part of the reestablishment of Israel is tantamount to the expulsion of the remaining religious residents in the city.”
The announcement of the changes comes on the eve of Tisha B’Av, the day of mourning of the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples due to Israel’s sins, including self-hatred.
The news of the erasing of Zionist names in Bnei Brak is just what anti-Zionist non-Jews, such as the Iranian government, wants to hear.
Its government-controlled Press TV apparently has a “friend” among the Haredi anti-Zionist community in Israel because the Iranian media outlet gladly published the news on its front page Sunday.
It noted that Bnei Brak’s “majority…are Haredi Jews, most of whom oppose Zionism because of its secular orientation. They also believe it is forbidden for the Jews to rule in Palestine before the arrival of the messiah.”
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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