TheMarker, the online economic magazine published by Haaretz is annoyed by the fact that some 45 major Israeli rabbinical figures enjoy the VIP treatment at Ben Gurion Airport. This VIP service includes private car access to the plane and customs and border registration in the car.
It isn’t clear why the website is so upset with the special treatment awarded these rabbis, especially since, according to the same article, anyone can pay $260 to a private company and get exactly the same deal, including a ride home.
It must be the rabbi thing. For some reason, it irks this website that the Jewish State gives special honors to religious leaders like the Boyaner Rebbe, the Bostoner Rebbe, the Karliner Rebbe, the great posek Rabbi Aharon Shteinman, Rabbi Abuhatzeira. The list includes 47 names, although one of them, the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, is no longer enjoying these special perks.
It turns out that the list includes the names of a couple of rabbis who are currently in trouble with the law. Of course, none of the Israeli politicians receiving special treatment wherever they turn up have been under police investigation.
But in Israel’s secular media market, mentioning a special treatment to people who are often the leaders of communities of many thousands, with wealthy and influential followers, is like throwing a slab of red meat to a pack of dogs.
The website concludes that this must be part of a quid pro quo between the airport and the Haredi parties in the Knesset: they turn a blind eye on the fact that the airport duty free shops operate on Shabbat and sell chometz on Pesach, and in return the rebbes get to ride a private car to the plane.
That’s because the honor awarded major rabbis must be rooted in something dirty. In a country where respect to the other is such a rare commodity, how else could you explain it?
Here’s the list of VIP rabbis, courtesy of Israel’s Airport Authority.