web analytics
July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘signs’

Signs of Genuine Decency and Humanity at the UN? For Israeli Victims of Terror, a Fruitless Search.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

Remember the murder of Dafna Meir, a Jewish nurse and a young mother of six children?

We wrote about it here [“18-Jan-16: Multiple Arab-on-Israeli attacks and a Jewish mother is murdered at her front door“]. We noted at the time that the BBC had managed to report that savage murder – by a youth who stabbed her to death at the door to her Otniel home in the presence of her children – without mentioning the word “terror” (or any variant of it) even once. A death. Maybe a crime. Perhaps an accident. Next.

Mrs Meir’s husband, at the urging of one of the Israeli terror victim groups, went to the United Nations along with his oldest daughter Ranana, aged 17, on April 19, 2016 to be present at a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East that was scheduled to touch on matters concerning the Arab/Israel conflict. (Background at Israel National News and Jerusalem Post.)

How well do you imagine that went? Our own quite negative experiences at the UN gave us reason to be deeply pessimistic when we read about the Meirs’ impending trip. It turned out to be traumatic and upsetting and they want people to know.

Natan Meir has just sent a brief open letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, reflecting on the quite shocking way he and his daughter and their message were treated and making some serious points about how diplomats view real, live, in-the-flesh terror victims when they occupy the same room. It’s searing.

Excerpts from the letter which he has now published via Facebook:

  • “Israel’s UN ambassador introduced me and my daughter and told our story. Not one UN ambassador bothered to come and comfort my 17-year-old daughter. No one came to shake our hands. No one called or met with us before or after. Not one letter.”
  • “Even you, Mr. Secretary General, you were sitting at the front of that meeting and you did not open your mouth nor look in the eyes of someone in who is in anguish and pain.”
  • “In our presence, the Palestinian representative complained that hundreds of Palestinian children are in Israeli prisons. One of the children he talked about murdered my wife! Despite the terrible scandal of misrepresentation, nobody prevented him from continuing his speech…”
  • “How can the United Nations strive to be relevant when there is not a single drop of basic human compassion? How can delegates not look directly in the eyes of a man who has all the right to condemn another person? Where is the honesty? Where is the human aspiration that was the basis of establishing the institution you lead? Can such an organization prevent hatred, animosity and inequality?”
  • “Dear Secretary-General, as the UN celebrates the rights of the Palestinians, they must also remember the Jewish national desire to reclaim their cities, which they have longed for thousands of years. Billions of people worldwide know of the Jews and their deep connection to the Biblical land of Israel. A peaceful solution must also take into account the dream of the Jewish people. “
  • “If you still insist on helping, please help us to build bridges and connections between people without borders and fences.”

We hope Natan Meir and his family take the shattering reality of their close encounter with the very, very ordinary men and women who populate the world’s most important international organization and turn it into additional inspiration to keep speaking out in the name of their loss and their prayers for a better future. What they have to say is far more meaningful than the delegates’ speeches and studied indifference.

Sitting back and waiting for a political or diplomatic process to bring something constructive and sustainable to our side or for that matter to the Arabs is, it has to be said, not only a waste of time but, as we have seen ourselves, deeply humiliating and harmful to the human spirit. This, emphatically, is not how things should be.

We plan to come back to this issue later in the week.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

New Republic Article on Feminism from Zion Is All About the Stakes

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The new issue of The New Republic cover story (The Feminists of Zion An unlikely alliance between Orthodox and progressive women will save Israel from fundamentalism) is about us. It is about Haredim, modern Orthodox, and women. These are things we discuss regularly online and at our Shabbos tables, and in our coffee rooms. The story is remarkably accurate and balanced, displaying a very deep understanding of the issues in Israel today. I recommend reading the article immediately.

Imagine a spectrum of religious fundamentalism in the orthodox Jewish community. On one end you have extreme Haredi sects and on the other end you have completely secular Israelis. On most things and for most of time the people in the middle, let’s call them modern orthodox, skewed their allegiences toward the Haredi side. Orthodoxy is the great uniter. The assumption is that any two orthodox people will have more common interests than an orthodox and a secular Jew. This is how things were.

In essence, the article argues that while naturally aligned with their fellow orthodox Jews, women from the modern orthodox community in Israel are finding themselves aligned with secular feminist Jews in Israel. The collective pain that is felt due to the oppressiveness toward women in the extreme and not so extreme Haredi world is taking a toll. Women have been attacked physically, verbally, and psychologically for a long time and it is starting to create a negative reaction.

Several times the article mentions signs that tell women how to dress. We have become accustomed to these signs. But the women in the article argue that the signs give license to thugs who want to make a statement to women. To them, the signs mean much more than “Please be sensitive to our religious beliefs.” Part of that is because these standards are entering the public sphere and are no longer just limited to the private insular neighborhoods. But the other part of it is that the signs are somehow justifying the negativity and violence toward women.

What has happened is that women who feel hurt and abused are turning to secular and Reform Jews for salvation. Feminism is a dirty word in many orthodox communities, even in some places within the modern orthodox community. But it’s becoming a necessary evil for modern orthodox women who are not feminists at all to ask for help from feminists. It’s odd when orthodox people are funding they have more in common with secular and very liberal Jews than fellow orthodox Jews. But that is what is happening.

The article also talks about modern orthodox women who sympathize with the Women of the Wall. I wish they would be more vocal but i was heartened to hear it.

Last week I wrote about finding common ground and room for dialogue between modern orthodox and yeshivish Jews in America. (See:
Maybe Rabbi Birnbaum Has a Point: A Solution) I think what we are seeing in the article in TNR is what will happen if we can’t work together. If the people in the middle start to feel like the liberal and secular Jews are more sympathetic to their way of life, the great split that has been predicted for years, will finally happen. Modern orthodox Judaism will become an independent group.

Some might say, what’s so bad about that? Well there are plenty negative consequences to mention. But I will mention the two biggest issues. First, the Haredi institutions will fall without modern orthodox support. Some might say that’s not so bad either. I disagree. Their services are necessary, as is their trap door into engagement with society. On the other side, without a connection the Haredi community, the modern orthodox community will be hard pressed to support its own institutions for lack of qualified teachers and rabbis.

It’s not in our best interests to see a formal split. It might happen in Israel and it might happen in America. I think we should do everything we can to prevent it. The first thing we need to do, is get together and talk.

Visit Fink or Swim.

The Feminists of Zion An unlikely alliance between Orthodox and progressive women will save Israel from fundamentalism

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fink-or-swim/new-republic-article-on-feminism-from-zion-is-all-about-the-stakes/2013/08/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: