Haredi host Dudi Shwamenfeld from Kol Barama radio, who on Tuesday buried his father who was a victim of Covid-19, went on Reshet Bet radio Wednesday morning to express his anger at the repeated violations of the pandemic regulations in the Haredi sector.
Kol BaRama is a Haredi radio station based in Bnei Brak, broadcasting since 2009 seven days a week, from Saturday night until Friday afternoon.
“These are murderers and people who understand that this can kill,” Shwamenfeld told Reshet Bet. “I don’t understand what’s happening here around me, especially when it comes to the Haredim, because the sanctity of life is our greatest value.”
“You are righteous,” he said about Israeli Haredim, “Is there anything you won’t do to save every life? What’s happened to us?”
Shwamenfeld said his father was probably infected by his brother, who is mentally disabled.
“My brother was ‘in prison’ for nine months, just like that,” he explained. “He didn’t leave or move out of the house.”
Shwamenfeld said when the tight lockdown started, his brother was forced to pray by himself. “At the Shabbat Mincha prayer, he felt he could no longer stand it and screamed his heart out. We knew there was a minyan in the yard of the building across the street, in an open space and with facemasks.”
When the brother returned home on Saturday night, he started complaining that he was not feeling well.
“He developed fever, coughs. We did a corona test, but by then we understood he had probably been going into Dad’s room.”
Shwamenfeld said that his sister and his father’s caregiver were also infected.
On Tuesday, at his father’s funeral, one of his cousins, a resident of Mea Shearim, stood next to Shwamenfeld without a mask. “I said to him in Yiddish, ‘Why are you without a mask? You know Dad died from the Corona, so why are you without a mask?’ So he replied, ‘I had it, I’ve been through it already.'”
Shwamenfeld said that he implored the man to wear a mask “because people who don’t know you went through it will learn from you.”
It should be noted that it hasn’t yet been proven that people who contracted the Corona and recovered don’t continue to spread the disease.
“I’m at a point where I don’t want to hear explanations. I see funerals and I see the dead,” Shwamenfeld said. “When you hear this past week about women in maternity wards and pregnant women, and the British or South African mutation, you know that if a child has it and he infects his mother and she is pregnant – tomorrow she’s dead.”
“Right now there’s death, right now there’s a plague – both among the religious and among the secular,” he said.
According to Shwamenfeld, the rabbis are not necessarily to blame for the situation. “Most rabbis don’t hear the media at all and are not properly informed. The ones who are to blame for this are our politicians, who are quite apprehensive [about making their communities obey the rules], and the police and the prime minister,” said Shwamenfeld.
He added that he was sure “that if any rabbi or rebbe had access to the WhatsApp videos we all receive if they had access to the internet or anything like it – they would have shut down the country. The rabbis are innocently trying to save their communities because they understand that it’s impossible to shut people in the house for a year because people will start jumping off the balconies.”
Shwamenfeld concluded by saying there’s nothing more sacred in Judaism than the value of life. “A person who is not vaccinated – must not get on a plane or enter any business. If we are not vaccinated, this will last another two years. A mandatory vaccination law is required,” he said.