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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Meah Shearim’

Hundreds of Haredim Riot after Draft Dodger Arrested

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Hundreds of Haredim in Meah Shearim rioted on Thursday, after a young Haredi man was arrested for refusing to show up for the draft.

The Haredim began throwing rocks at the police, burning garbage in the streets and blocking traffic.

Five rioters were detained by police after the riot.

All Israeli citizens are subject to arrest if they don’t show up when called for the draft.

Last week JewishPress.com reported on the 30,000 Haredim who received their permanent exemptions from the draft as a result of the new draft law.

Haredi Draft Riot 2

Haredi Draft Riot 3

It’s Raining on my Money

Monday, March 10th, 2014

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014.

The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last night yours truly drove to the nearby town of Ra’anana in very serious rain and it got a little scary. Rain in Israel has a similar effect as 2 inches of snow in Atlanta, GA: folks behind the wheel stop thinking rationally.

Don’t ask what happens when we get 2 inches of snow.

Here’s a rain image from the Jaffa Gate in the old city, below David’s Citadel.

Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Haredi Establishment Gets Fresh Draft Martyr, Expect Noise

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

On Wednesday, hundreds of yeshiva students demonstrated outside Prison Six in Atlit, south of Haifa, where the IDF has placed Moshe A., 19, a yeshiva student dodging the draft.

On Sunday, Moshe came to his Kiryat Malachi home for a short furlough from his Lithuanian yeshiva Nachlat Asher in Petach Tikva. According to his mother, Miri, who spoke to Ynet, the IDF recruitment department called to make sure he was home, and then, at 2:30 AM Monday, some MPs arrived and arrested Moshe.

“Since then I haven’t heard a thing from him,” his mother said, who’s getting the news about her son only through his yeshiva rebbi.

On Tuesday, Moshe A. was sentenced to 14 days in jail for ignoring an invitation from the army. His mother said Moshe was very much afraid of the draft, after hearing that yeshiva boys are “ruined” in the army. She added that on Sunday he called his father to say tearfully that “people are cursing here, dirtying their mouths, I can’t stand it.”

Just to set the record straight, the IDF Spokesperson’s office made clear that Moshe A. was the only yeshiva student arrested, but not because he’s opposed to the draft—they all are, but because he chose to ignore the draft notice. According to the IDF, everybody else who are classified as a draft candidate whose Torah study is his livelihood did show up, register and received a deferment until the Knesset passes the new draft law.

Moshe A. was following the command of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, leader of the Jerusalem Lithuanian Haredim, who declared the effort to recruit yeshiva students “gzeirat shmad,” tantamount to the medieval church’s attempts to convert Jews by force.

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An ad published in a Haredi paper associated with Rabbi Auerbach last week cited him as saying that since the current notices being sent out to yeshiva students of age are only for the purpose of screening and placement—and not actual draft notices—students must not report at all.

So Rabbi Auerbach and his merry band of Haredim needed a pawn to serve their political aims, not the least of which is fund raising for the glorious struggle against the Torah hating Zionisrs, and Moshe A. volunteered.

haredim by prison

Just to make things even more complicated, according to his mother, Moshe A. is scheduled to undergo back surgery next week. “They promised me to release him until then,” she said. “But I’m worried. Meanwhile he’s suffering pain over there. I don’t know what his medical condition is, and I’m afraid they’ll harass him and force him to do things which are contrary to his faith…”

Transportation from Kiryat Malachi, in the northern Negev, to the prison up north presents a problem for Miri, who relies on buses to travel. “In my entire life I never took the bus to Haifa,” she said.

Rabbi Auerbach did show up in front of the prison gates Wednesday, with hundreds of followers, to pray for “the removal of the decree.”

The elderly rabbi visited Moshe A. in his prison cell, gave him a religious seifer-book and a bouquet of flowers. He also asked the boy to bless him.

Now that the first yeshiva student has been punished with a short prison sentence, the fight is bound to intensify. The rally by the jail marked the start of a new campaign, in Israel and abroad, in which the name of the state of Israel will be dragged through the mud and the IDF be compared to Stalin and the Communists.

New Draft Law a Gift of Hope to Impoverished Haredim and to Israel

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The latest incarnation of the Haredi Draft Law, aka “The Perry Law,” is an excellent piece of legislation.

The Haredi community suffers from serious problems, which are affecting the rest of the country as well.

Haredi towns and neighborhoods are among the poorest in Israel.

The cycle of poverty in which Haredim are stuck is due in part to the way governments have dealt with the draft issue in the past (no army service—no work permit), but, just as significantly, due of the way the political leaders (“askanim”) of the Haredi community have created a social structure that locks people into the cycle of poverty, thus also guaranteeing their reliance on those same leaders for education, social acceptance, and money.

Israel’s society also suffers from Haredi poverty, because when such a large segment of the population relies on welfare payments, the effect on the economy is devastating.

The new Haredi draft law has just passed its first reading, and will now undergo review in a special committee chaired by Jewish Home’s MK Ayelet Shaked, before it is sent back for a second and third round in the Knesset.

This law is not so much about getting Haredim into the army in the near future, as it is about immediately permitting Haredim into the legal workforce, thus breaking the cycle of poverty.

The new law divides Haredi society into three age groups:

If passed, the law will immediate allow Haredim ages 22 and up to enter the workforce if they wish, and never have to worry about being drafted again. They will receive a permanent exemption. They can also sit and learn forever, if they so choose.

Next, the law will allow Haredim ages 18-22 to defer their draft until they reach age 24, and then, at age 24, they may decide if they want to serve in the army, do national service, go to work, or stay in kollel and learn forever. In other words, to this age group the law guarantees temporary exemptions until they may receive a permanent exemption. But, once again, they would be able to legally join the workforce in 4 to 6 years.

The third age group are Haredim who will turn 18 in the year 2017.

Out of this group, 1,800 will receive exemptions to sit and learn Torah, for the first time effectively sanctioning Torah study in the Jewish State as the full equivalent of military service.

The fate of rest of those who turn 18 in 2017 will depend in some way on what today’s 18-22 age group does over the next 4 years.

The government intends to set a draft quota of 5,200 Haredim out of the approximately 8,000 who will reach 18 in 2017. Out of that quota, 3,000 will enlist in the IDF, 2,200 will do National Service—most likely in their own communities. The remaining 2,800 will receive permanent exemptions.

But, if the full 5,200 quota isn’t met, then the envisioned 2,800 exemptions will be automatically reduced to 1,800.

Give and take.

Incidentally, last year some 2,200 Haredim were drafted. Out of that group, 1,300 enlisted in the IDF and 900 did national service.

This year, the total number of enlisting Haredim is expected to reach 3,300. Not so far from the envisioned quota ( which could change following the committee review and the Knesset debate).

Indeed, Haredi youths are already at close to two-thirds of the draft quota of 4 years from now, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

This isn’t a one-way street as the IDF will gain as well. We think merely adding a large group of soldiers who are mature, disciplined, who don’t curse, and who keep the Mitzvot would go a long way to improving our army—but the much more important result of the law should be felt immediately, with Haredim who did not serve in the army legally taking on jobs to feed their families, with honor.

We happen to believe that, just as Haredi young men will surely make for a better, more civilized and more Jewish army, so will mass entry into the workforce have a similar positive influence on Israeli society.

The ‘Houses of Ill Repute’ of Nahal and Shahar

Monday, July 8th, 2013

And out come the extremist zealots of the Charedi world! Those who in part because of their insular lifestyle – have no concept of civilized behavior. And have the unmitigated gall to act in uncivilized and dangerous ways with absolutely no respect for human dignity. These are the people who have become all too familiar to us. They are the spitters, rock throwers,  and haters who do all of those things and more in the name of God.

We see them constantly in Meah Shearim, Bnei Brak, Bet Shemesh, and Williamsburg. In fact they were at it again this morning – directing their rage toward the Women of the Wall at what was otherwise a mostly peaceful event. From the Jewish Press:

A crowd of mostly male haredi Orthodox protesters surrounded the barricade, with some protesters singing and yelling epithets such as “Get out, Nazis!” Later in the service, protesters threw eggs and a bottle of water at the women, striking a male supporter of the group in the head.

I need not go into all the damage they have done and continue to do to Klal Yisroel. I have discussed their escapades so many times in the past that it’s getting boring, already. Not to mention the fact that I will run out of space if I start mentioning them all.

What have they done this time? From the New York Times:

On billboards in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim quarter of Jerusalem last week, black-and-white posters warned the public against the “licentious military” coming to tempt innocent Haredi youths into “the whorehouses of Nahal and Shahar.” (and) portraying those soldiers, who volunteered under programs meant to attract Haredim, as fat, bearded, gun-toting caricatures in uniform snatching terrified Haredi children off the streets.

… The comics-style campaign against Haredi soldiers has been primarily aimed at children to counter what opponents of the draft said was the military’s attempt to legitimize the young men by sending them into ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in uniform.

As part of the outreach to children, the anonymous organizers of the “Hardakim” campaign announced a children’s poster competition this summer via a Gmail account, soliciting entries showing how best to shun the soldiers.

Pini Rozenberg, a spokesman for the Haredi community in Jerusalem, said the campaign was “an internal Haredi matter meant to explain to the Haredi youth why the army institutions are not, and will never be, legitimate.”

He added: “It is not personally directed against any particular soldier. It is purely educational.”

Who said that these people don’t get an education?! They do. And this is it.

Here is a description of one Charedi soldier’s experience:

(H)e had suffered daily abuse in recent months, being spit at and chased by children and teenagers calling out “Germ!” and “Traitor!” He now carries tear gas for self-defense…

This is indeed the sad and unintended consequence of what the government is trying to do to correct inequities in the military draft. It is something Jonathan Rosenblum first wrote about in lamenting the  reversal of progress made in this area internally by Charedim themselves.

Jonathan feels that the blame lies with the Lapid and company … that this backlash is a result of their external interference. Had they not tried to force change on the system, the Charedi world would have continued correcting themselves on their own and innovations like Nachal Charedi and Shachar would have continued to expand.

While I think that’s probably true – as far as it goes, I do not see Lapid et al at fault here. You cannot blame someone for doing the right thing just because vigilantes will strike back. You cannot let evil dictate your actions even if there are negative consequences due to retaliation. That would be giving in to evil. It would be like telling witnesses not to testify in sex abuse cases because their families will be harassed.

The fault lies in the attitudes fostered in the societies that produce these animals. A society that educates their children as described above. All that is needed to precipitate that kind of response is the kind of rhetoric heard in these quarters about Lapid’s actions being a Shas HaShmad. And then the Eytan Kobres of the world pour gasoline onto the fire with their own rhetoric… all while pointing out that we shouldn’t have rocked the boat. His words are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem.

Neturey Karta Ask Obama for Protection from the Zionists

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

To the anti-Zionist faction Neturei Karta is attempting to exploit the difficult relationship between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to incite the former against the state of Israel. The Jerusalem Haredi neighborhood of Mea Shearim is awaiting Obama with American flags and a united call from the crowds to save hundreds of thousands of Jews from the “Zionists evil.”

Treating the president as if he was, at least, a Rosh Yeshiva, if not a Rebbe, the good people of Meah Shearim prepared special posters adorned with American flags on either side of a lovely shield that reads: The Agenda for the reception of his excellency Mr. Obama in the holy city of Jerusalem, 9 Nissan, 5773.

The poster itself reads, in text adorned by the five-pointed stars of the U.S. flag:

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The Haredi Jews of Jerusalem Headed by the Rabbis, may they live long, Congregates On Wednesday, 9 Nissan, 5773 At 1:30 in the afternoon At the Meah Shearim Plaza And from there the congregation will proceed carrying U.S. flags To receive his excellency the President And ask of him To liberate the Haredi Jewish community And the entire Holy Land From the grip of the Zionist bandits!

Signed: The Haredi community in the Holy Land.

The separatist community of Neturei Karta views the entire Zionist experience as an unholy act of defiance against the gentile world, costing many Jewish lives. Their stated submission to the visiting president will be accompanied with a request, printed on another wall poster, that he use his influence “to save hundreds of thousands of Jews from the evil harassments of the Zionists, who wish to force them to abandon their faith and even, God forbid, force them to serve in the Army – an act which defies the religion and any sense of justice and human morality – and to liberate us from the repression of the Zionist infidels.”

The ads further implore Obama, the “Exalted President,” that “his heart be awake and attentive to the suffering of the Jews who hold on to the original Jewish faith of thousands of years.”

They pray for him and bless him that, should he help them, “The God of Israel will do right by the one who does good for His people, and bring him years of tranquility and success, and wherever he turns he shall act wisely, for the sake of the great kingdom of the United States and all of humanity, as the president and his government wish.”

A World Untouched by Civilization

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The woman, wearing a tank top and jeans, has her full attention on the tomato box. The haredi woman touches one of her bare arms. The woman turns around and the haredi woman immediately snaps at her, pointing at her bare arms: “Next time don’t come to the market like this. Next time you’ll come with sleeves.”

The above excerpt from an article in Ynet illustrates one of problems isolationist societies like the one that Charedi woman ‘Tznius- cop” no doubt comes from.

Machane Yehuda (pictured) was overhauled by Jewish merchants very likely in order to compete with the Arab Shuk. The Arab Shuk was opened up to Jews after the 6-day war. And business boomed. Arab merchants of all types selling their wares had a new and booming market in all the Israelis and tourists that came to visit the Kotel. Going through the Arab Shuk was one of the common ways to leave that area. On my first trip to Israel I exited the Kotel Plaza that way. It was (and still is) a sight to behold.

But once the terrorism started, many Jews feared entering that area – although some Jews (mostly tourists I imagine) still shop there. The Shuk was a great place to buy produce at a very cheap price. Sensing a need, a new market for cheap produce was estabished outside the old city for Jews. It is called Machane Yehuda. If I recall correctly it is not far from Meah Shearim. Some people call it the Israeli Shuk.

Meah Shearim residents shop there. But they are not the only ones. Secular Jews are increasingly doing so. And that is where yet another clash of cultures takes place.

Here’s the problem. Meah Shearim Jews have a heightened sensitivity to Tznius violations. A woman wearing a sleeveless top and slacks will be considered inappropriately attired.

While this may not be a Halachicly acceptable way for a Jewish woman to dress in public – most of the rest of the world – religious Jews included – is used to this kind of dress and thinks nothing of it. Even for those who do consider it a problem they simply try not to look at an immodestly dressed woman. In the world of Meah Shearim this intolerable. They cannot handle it.

So to the extent they are able – they try to impose their modesty standards. Hence one will see signs related to female dress as one enters the Meah Shearim neighborhoods. This phenomenon in and of itself is tolerable. The residents of that neighborhood have a right to express their sensitivities to those who enter their neighborhoods. What they do not have a right to do is enforce them. Unfortunately some of the more militant residents of that neighborhood don’t care about whether or not they have that right or not. They enforce it. In some cases using means that the Mafia would be proud of.

There are horror stories of acid or bleach being spilled on innocent passersby if they were dressed in less than Meah Shearim community Tznius standards. They also have Tznius squads that go around checking what people wear and intimidating merchants into carrying Tznius signs throughout Meah Shearim and the nearby Geula neighborhood. They have torched stores, beat up businessmen who sold “inappropriate” technology, and vandalized a religious bookstore for refusing to carry one of their signs.

Until recently their tactics have been limited to their own neighborhoods. But now they have decided to branch out. We all know about the intimidating tactics that took place last year in Bet Shemesh where an eight-year old girl was harassed daily on her way to a religious school and called a whore. But now they are branching out. To places like Machane Yehuda. And instead of men doing the harassing – it is women.

Last year it happened to some women walking in the streets of Jerusalem outside of the Meah Shearim neighborhood.

Here’s the thing. They cannot impose their standards on the world. They do not own the world. Just because they see someone they think is not properly dressed does not give them the right to intimidate them. To most of the civilized world that is a forgone conclusion. But not for them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/a-world-untouched-by-civilization/2012/09/21/

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