Secular Coercion bothers me. It especially bothers me when Hilonim (devoutly secular Jews) try to force religious Jews to go against their beliefs, and then call it “religious coercion” when they stand firm in response.
HaAchim Gat were invited to sing at the Mitzpe Ramon Independence Day event.
HaAchim Gat are two unquestionably Chareidi (ultra-Orthodox) singers, who happen to also be very popular among secular Israelis.
During their set, some of the men and women got up to dance together.
It is against the religious beliefs of the Chareidi brothers to sing and play music for mixed dancing. So much so, that there is a clause in their contract that permits them to stop their concerts if it happens.
So the soft-spoken brothers stopped their concert and politely asked the dancers to not dance together during their show.
This got some of the Hilonim upset and they posted to Facebook about the “religious coercion” of HaAchim Gat. Even the town’s mayor got in the picture saying he was surprised, and the brothers’ actions were unacceptable.
But you have got to wonder, are these people that completely ignorant?
Do they really think two Chareidi entertainers are going to play and sing to a crowd who are mixed dancing? What universe are they living it?
The Mitzpe Ramon municipality knew who they were inviting and they were not forced to hire them. The municipality was certainly not forced to sign their contract (assuming they even read it).
The only coercion here is secular coercion – like when Hesder students in the army are ordered to listen to women singing, against their religious beliefs.
HaAchim Gat continued their performance, and apparently some of the secular Jews continued with the mixed dancing – davka.
The coercion and intolerance here was not from the religious, and it’s twisted that they called it “religious coercion”.