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July 30, 2014 / 3 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘haredim’

Haredi Leaders Call Ruling for New Beit Shemesh Vote ‘Corrupt’

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Haredi political leaders across the board called a court ruling for new elections in Beit Shemesh” corrupt,” “racist” and a sign of “dictatorship,” among other less than complimentary adjectives.

The court accepted a petition by Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein that documented corruption in the voting October 22 as ground for voiding the election results, which gave  incumbent Shas Mayor Moshe Abutbul a 956-vote victory over Jewish Home challenger Eli Cohen.

The real corruption is the court decision itself, according to Haredi Knesset Member Menachem Eliezer Moses of the United Torah Judaism party.

Not only was it corrupt to invalidate a proven corrupt election, it also was “racist,” he said. Any time a court rules against Haredim, it is “racist.” If it rules in favor of Haredim, it is proof of God’s will.

Shas Party chairman Aryeh Deri was much more polite and limited his disgust at the decision by stating that the judges surrendered to a “media campaign” to cancel a democratic decision. Perhaps he thinks corruption is democratic.

The booby prize for idiotic reactions goes to United Torah Judaism Knesset Member Yisrael Eichler, who stated that the decision “proves there is no difference between dictatorships in the Egyptian and Israeli judiciaries.”

He suggested that Israel’s secular court might declare Haredim illegal, just like the Egyptian courts ruled against Muslim Brotherhood, which now is an official terrorist organization.

He opened his mouth too wide by lumping  the Brotherhood, the mother of Hamas, with Haredim.

Bill to Help Hasten Haredi Expansion in Israel

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

An interesting bill was submitted recently, to make it easier for religious and non-religious Jews to live together in the same apartment building.

In 2011, a law was passed that said if a certain majority of residents in an apartment building vote in favor of having a shabbos elevator, the building would have to install one. This replaced the original law that required unanimous agreement in the building: if even one person did not agree, the elevator could not be forced.

The new bill would amend that even further, and state what hours of the day Shabbos elevators need to run. The law would now have the Shabbos elevator operate on Friday for 3 hours from the beginning of Shabbos, and on Saturday from 7 AM until 12 PM and again from 3 hours before the end of Shabbos until the end of Shabbos. And if a majority of residents want to, they can vote to extend those hours of operation beyond the minimum.

As it is stated in the bill (rtf document), the purpose of this is to allow everyone the right to choose where to live, and to make it easier for religious people to live alongside non-religious people, usually buildings that are many stories high. Despite the previous law, many buildings have refused to operate the Shabbos elevators even after installing them, thus rendering the original amendment useless. This new amendment would give religious people the right to live wherever they choose.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, the proposal is facing secular opposition, complaining that the MKs are writing laws to make it easier for religious Jews while hurting the quality of life of those who are less religious. They say this law is written so that if your neighborhood happens to be one that is in the process of being taken over by Haredim, now they will also be able to buy apartments on the top floors of very tall buildings. The Haredim that will come to your neighborhood will take over, and will happily buy the top floor apartments at discounted prices, as the secular will no longer buy there.

An elevator is not a major deal, and one can be considerate of the religious people. But what about being considerate of the elderly, the young couples, the secular, the people who are in a hurry [and don't want to spend a few extra minutes in the elevator] although I did not know “people in a hurry” was a sector of society with rights of their own.

Little do they know, most Haredim do not use Shabbos elevators, so this should not be much of a problem. It would hurt mostly non-Haredi religious Jews, and possibly a certain percentage of Haredim, but, overall, the Haredi community in Israel does not use Shabbos elevators.

Visit Life in Israel.

‘Common Enemy’ of IDF Draft Brings Vishnitz and Gur Together

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The rabbinical leader of the Vishnitz Chas – the new Knesset law that Haredim must serve in the army just like every Jew in the country.

The two rabbis spoke for approximately 15 minutes, a relatively long time, and spoke “words of Torah and subjects that are on the agenda,” the Haredi website Kikar HaShabbat reported.

The “agenda” is the draft, which has deeply disturbed the Haredi community, and the rabbis expressed their sorrow that the government is trying to take young men out of yeshiva and away from their families to serve the country.

Hareidim Beat Out Hare Krishna in Measles Outbreak

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Of the 175 cases of measles in the U.S in 2013, a mere 23 were connected to Hare Krishnas in North Carolina. The 175 cases were triple the national average in previous years.

Embarrassingly enough, the largest group of people infected with measles came from our very own anti-vaccination cult of Brooklyn Hareidi Jews.

Thirty cases of measles were diagnosed in Williamsburg, and another 28 were diagnosed in Borough Park, accounting for one-third of the cases in the US in 2013. It was the largest measles outbreak in 15 years.

Talk about Jewish over-representation in the medical field.

The original outbreak came from a London ultra-Orthodox community, which also refuses to stop endangering everyone else. An intentionally unvaccinated Hareidi teenager brought the disease back with him to the US.

In July of 2013, the NYC Department of Health said that outbreak was over.

But it was hardly the only case. there was a measles outbreak in these communities in 2011.

And in 2010, another child brought back the Mumps with him from England, infecting fellow Jewish campers in upstate NY, who brought the disease home with them to Monsey and New Square, resulting in over 300 infected people.

 

Livni, Bennett Back Bill to Pretend Jews Need Only One Chief Rabbi

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Jewish Home chairman and Minister for Religious Affairs Naftali Bennett unveiled the outline Monday morning of their new bill to eliminate the system of a two-headed Chief Rabbinate and replace it with “one rabbi for one people.”

Modern Israel always has had two chief rabbis, one for the Ashkenazi community and one for the Sephardi community. Each community has vastly different traditions and different rulings on Jewish laws. Within each community there are several sub-cultures. There are “Yechi” Ashkenazi Jews. There are many different Chassidic sects, and there are “Litvak,” Misnagim,” Lubavitch-Chabad, Ger, Neturei Karta, Vishnitz and a host of others.

In Israel, there is no lack of different synagogues representing the origin of their worshippers’ families. There are Iraqi, Iranian (Parsi), Egyptian and Yemenite synagogues, to mention a few.

Livni, who is secular, and Bennett, who is modern Orthodox, each believe that one chief rabbi is enough for everyone,

Their bill would clear the way for a single chief rabbi in 10 years, when the next election will take place. Three months ago, Haredi Rabbi David Lau defeated national religious Rabbi David Stav to head the Ashkenazi rabbinate. Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef was elected Chief Sephardi Rabbi.

Both of the new chief rabbis are sons of two of the most popular men ever to serve as chief rabbi – Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was highly controversial among those outside of Sephardi circles. Each man is a legend, and the thought of a single chief rabbi would have been unthinkable under their charismatic leadership.

Livni and Bennett insist they are not retrying to blur the lines of tradition. A single rabbi undoubtedly would save money, but finance is not part of their agenda.

“There is one prime minister, one president, one supreme court and one IDF Chief of Staff,” Livni said. The time has come that there should be one rabbi for one people, The time has some that Israel has one chief rabbi to unite all segments of Israeli society, [The time has come for] a rabbinate that will serve all religious sectors instead of a county that retains the separation of communities. It is possible to respect tradition in the house without separating religious authority,” she said.

Bennett chimed in, “This [bill] is an important step that symbolizes unity. The appointment of one rabbi is one of those subjects that raises the question, ‘Why wasn’t it done sooner?’ Today, when an Ashkenazi and Sephardi marry, there not two rabbis. Today, there is one army, and there are no separate positions for Ashkenazim or Sephardim.”

The idea sound so nice. All of the People of Israel will unite together, holding hands, dancing the hora and embracing each other with whole-hearted acceptance as a person and not as a “Sephardi” or “Ashkenazi.” Peace and love all wrapped up in a stewing pot of melted Jews.

Judaism has survived and blossomed since the 12 Tribes of Yaakov (Jacob) because of their unity as Jews and differences of character, personality and customs.

“One rabbi for one people” would discourage diversity. Obviously, a single chief rabbi would be an expert in different customs and would not issue a ruling that would violate a community’s customs. Sephardim would not be told to give up “kitniyot” for Passover and Ashkenazim would not start rising before dawn to recite Selichot prayers during the entire Hebrew month of Elul before Rosh HaShanah.

Regardless of whatever merits there may be to the bill, and despite probable enthusiasm from Israel’s leading secular media, the bill will have tough going.

Overcoming centuries of tradition in one Knesset session is a bit too much for Livni, the darling of dwindling leftist-center secular Israelis who did not vote for Yair Lapid and a villain to national religious Jews, including Bennett except for the one-rabbi bill. Bennett is riding a wave of secular support for his Jewish Home party, the inheritor of the old Mafdal crowd.

If the bill gets to the Knesset floor, it will provide lots of colorful copy for journalists. Shas will go berserk, and the United Torah Judaism party of Haredi Ashkenazi Jews will be able to sue Bennett for Livni for causing them a collective heart attack, God forbid.

Hundreds of WOW Pray Peacefully

Monday, November 4th, 2013

In a display of the changes the group has experienced this year, Women of the Wall held a peaceful prayer service under police protection at the Western Wall to mark the group’s 25th anniversary.

Absent from Monday’s service, which the group said drew at least 800 worshipers, were large crowds of Orthodox girls who had packed the women’s section in previous months.

For the first time in recent memory, Women of the Wall occupied the majority of the section, with a crowd of male supporters stretching back into the plaza.

The group has met for a women’s prayer service at the wall at the beginning of each Jewish month for the past quarter-century, but has seen rapid change in its status during the past six months.

Until April, women in the group who donned prayer shawls or sang too loudly often would be detained by police. But that month, a Jerusalem district court judge ruled that the group’s practices did not violate any of the wall’s regulations, and since then the police are protecting the women rather than arresting them.

“We’ve come a long way, baby,” Women of the Wall Chairwoman Anat Hoffman told JTA during the service. “It shouldn’t have taken 25 years. It should have taken two weeks. But we’re now where we should be.”

Several dozen Haredi men came to protest on Monday, but aside from a few token disturbances, the service continued uninterrupted.

The past half-year has also seen a compromise solution from Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky. An outline Sharansky released in April called for a significant expansion of an area to the south of the plaza called Robinson’s Arch that is now used for non-Orthodox prayer.

After backing away from the plan, Women of the Wall endorsed it last month, agreeing to move to the new section should a list of conditions be met.

Brandishing the Western Wall regulation that forbids the group from bringing a Torah scroll to its services, Hoffman told JTA that Women of the Wall has yet to reach all its goals. She said, though, that given the relative calm at the Wall, the group will now be turning its attention to negotiations with the government about the Robinson’s Arch plan.

“We’re not scared of jail and arrests — we’re scared of negotiations,” Hoffman joked. “Can we get the maximum? We won’t be suckers.”

Haredi and Zionist Beit Shemesh Residents Demanding a Split

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Three days after the municipal elections in which incumbent Shas Mayor Moshe Abutbul defeated Jewish Home candidate Eli Cohen, the protest storm in the city of Beit Shemesh has not subsided. Thousands arrived at City Hall Thursday night to protest what they have no doubt was a fraudulent election.

It’s true that police discovered in one Haredi-owned apartment in the city hundreds of ID cards belonging to Beit Shemesh residents living abroad – suggesting that some Haredim did embrace the concept of voting early and often. Also, in some voting stations in the city, the voting percentage exceeded 100%, which is an electoral miracle in anyone’s book.

Oh, and according to Channel 10 news, in a few voting booths they ran out of Jewish Home’s Eli Cohen voting tickets, which can really be annoying.

Channel 10 interviewed Beit Shemesh Resident Menashe Elias, who took part in last night’s rally, who said: “We protest because they stole the election. They stole it from us with forgery, with double voting, with forged ID cards. They stole our city.”

That last sentiment, about their city being stolen, has been the broadest common denominator for all the non-Haredi residents of Beit Shemesh. They have all seen, five years ago, how the sweet mannered, inclusive, jovial Shas candidate Moshe Abutbul, sold out their city to the Haredim. In cartoon fashion, Beit Shemesh has since turned from a normal Israeli city where Haredim and their neighbors find ways to get by (as we do in Netanya, my home town), to the center of Haredi intolerance, complete with spitting on little girls, shaming women, segregating the sexes, attacking uniformed IDF soldiers, the works.

Another accusation made by the protesting residents was that the incumbent has imported some 3,000 yeshiva students from Bnei Brak, who voted in Beit Shemesh without establishing residency.

All of the above accusations will surely be investigated by the authorities, but the city of Beit Shemesh would be equally split and politically paralyzed should an investigation discover that, indeed, the non-Haredim have won. At this point the enmity between the two groups – Haredim and the rest of the world – has gotten to the point where governing both groups under the same executive just doesn’t make sense.

According to several media sources, both secular and religious, the one thing protesters in Beit Shemesh seems to agree on is the need to break up the city. It would require a Knesset legislation, but in Israel that process can be amazingly speedy if everybody wants it.

And everybody will lose.

beit shemesh vote

Veteran Haredi journalist Israel Gelis told The Jewish Press that Beit Shemesh, from its inception, has been a traditional Jewish town. Very few in Beit Shemesh are bona fide secular – the town has very little to offer someone who wants to go out and see a movie on Friday night.

Gellis continued on to say that over the past decade, however, two extremist groups have settled in Beit Shemesh: Toldos Aharaon Chassidim, who are, basically, Neturei Karta – and knitted yarmulka American Jews, who are looking to establish a more “progressive” Jewish life in this sleepy city. Those two opposing camps, each in its manner (YY: meaning the American Zionists don’t spit on people or slap women on the street, but the Haredi zealots do), have been weighing down on the system and calling in the media to create a fuss.

Meaning it would probably be simpler to just chase the extremists out to the hills and go back to a life of peace. but that’s not going to happen. Short of that, the city fathers will do well to resist the urges of the extremists and activists, and to find ways to bring back the religious harmony that used to prevail in Beit Shemesh.

There are roughly 85,000 residents in Beit Shemesh, and I suspect most of them have no interest in joining either extremes. But Mayor Abutbul, who has been belittling the complaints of his citizens who voted for the other guy, will do well to work on outreach instead. For one thing – should the city be split, it’s doubtful whether Moshe Abutbul could be re-elected. He’s just not Haredi enough.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/haredi-and-zionist-beit-shemesh-residents-demanding-a-split/2013/10/25/

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