Otherwise known as the “Ultra-Orthodox”, Haredim in Israel are getting a bad rap.
They are being called “parasites” and “cowards”. They are being cursed by tens of thousands of people in Israel for refusing to “allow” their supposedly grown up sons (never mind daughters) to serve in the army, protecting that land and people of Israel.
They’re getting a bad rap – and the problem is that it is partially deserved. But in anger, many of us forget the shades of gray, the people who are…but are not.
In an office in Tel Aviv, the air conditioning repairman sees that I am wearing a long skirt and a wig. In the secular world in which I sometimes travel for business, the wig is easier on their digestive systems than a scarf or a hat. Or at least it was.
Years ago, when I made the switch, I had many people compliment my appearance. Anything from you look younger to you look like you lost weight, when all I did is surrender to the knowledge that many secular Jews make fast assumptions about religious women. Amazingly enough, the wig seems to set them at ease…some don’t even realize and compliment me on a new haircut if I wear the shorter wig.
But more and more, the wig is being identified as being “Haredi” – which I am not.
Though many, including within the Haredi world, would like you to believe that the difference between Haredi religious Jews and non-Haredi religious Jews is the level of observance, the “ultra” they seem to cherish, the fact is that the largest differences are political and not religious.
I keep many of the same stringent “humras” (which at times I describe as excessive, voluntary and often torturous super-customs). But I am not Haredi, and I never will be.
In fact, my skirt is longer – many of them view a skirt that goes to the floor as immodest (I have yet to understand that one). My sleeves are just as long as theirs; my neckline just as high.
But I believe in our rights to this land not only as the promised land but for our indigenous rights, our well-documented historical claims, our political realities.
In short, I love the State of Israel as well as the land of Israel. My sons proudly serve in the army; my daughters proudly do national service. My husband volunteers for the police; my sons (and daughter-in-law) volunteer for the emergency medical services and tonight, over the Sabbath, I will have an ambulance parked in front of my house. If there is a call, two of my sons will go running…in the middle of dinner, in the middle of the night.
So, first, I will say that I am not Haredi…but my daughter is; my son-in-law is, and two of my grandchildren are being raised within that world. But…
But my Haredim served the nation – both my son-in-law and my daughter.
But my Haredim celebrate the land and the State of Israel and the flag of this nation touches their hearts. They mourn with the nation; they celebrate with the country.
And my Haredim are dozens of relatives who speak Hebrew (and Yiddish) and call to bless my sons as they serve. No, their sons don’t serve and that bothers me, but they pray for my sons and for all our soldiers and they do not go into the streets to block traffic and attack people. The men among them speak to me, look me in the face, and ask and respond in a normal conversation between human beings. Respect. This is what they have always shown me – the men and the women. They come over at a wedding and ask me about my children. The men. The Haredim. My Haredim.
Clarity often comes from our children. I told my son about how a man in my community, annoyed by having been delayed in traffic, attacked the Haredi community in Maale Adumim because of what Haredim in Jerusalem were doing. I defended my daughter, my son-in-law and their wonderful community of young parents who are raising their children, as they were raised themselves, in my beautiful city. Most of the fathers in that community served in the army; some grew up secular and later found that the Haredi world gave them more.
In anger at the situation and at my countering his anti-Haredi attack on innocent people, many of whom were equally disturbed and disrupted by the Haredi protests and riots in Jerusalem, the man called me a “talking dog” and a “cow”. The school about which he complained has children saying psalms and praying for the soldiers during the moments of silence the nation observes and their parents will be seen standing as we all do. The man is ignorant (and rude) but he is also a perfect example of what is wrong with generalizing about “all” Haredim because of the actions of a fraction of the people who live and love their Haredi lifestyle.
Obviously, the man’s insults still bother me – not so much his words because I dismiss those based on my knowledge of the man who said them – but the idea that you can bash innocent people simply because they loosely belong to a similar lifestyle as someone else. When I spoke to my oldest son, as is often the case, he “hit the nail” right away.
Next time a secular person thinks you are Haredi,he told me, ask them why they hate the State of Israel – because, don’t all secular people hate Israel? Ask them if they are leftists? Aren’t all secular people left wing? Many of us do this – all Blondes are stupid; all women are bad drivers; all men are guilty of sexual harassment/assault.
The answer, of course, is that this is not the case. Long ago, I was taught not to use words such as all, every, always, never. In most cases, with a single word, you prove yourself wrong. There are secular people who are anti-Israel and secular people who are among the staunchest supporters and lovers of this land. There are secular people who are left-wing, and others who are so right, even I would suggest that it’s scary. Blondes who are brilliant. There are fantastic women drivers and men who are kind and respectful to women.
What is my purpose in writing this? Be angry at the protesters – for the illegal actions and for the conceit of thinking their time and lives are worth more than the tens of thousands of people they hurt callously. Curse them in anger. Scream at them in fury.
Or better, ridicule them, as I choose to do here with these pictures. As far as I am concerned, when you go into the streets, desecrating not only the laws of the land, but of God, all bets are off.
On the left and on the right, on the religiously secular and the religiously observant, as far as I am concerned, if you find so much wrong with this country that you need to take to the streets and disrupt the lives of tens of thousands of people who did nothing (and aren’t in a position to change whatever law you’re complaining about), you have no right to our respect, no right to all that this country already does for you.
To the Haredim who have been protesting…stop using our streets, our buses, our electricity. Don’t call the ambulances or go to public hospitals when you need medical assistance. You don’t want to be part of this country; fine with us. But don’t be even more hypocritical than you already are.
And to the Haredim (the 99% who are NOT protesting), I apologize for the insults you have received, for the assumptions made against you. The hatred of those Haredim protesting and rioting does not justify the hatred turned against you and I am embarrassed and hurt for the injustices that have been thrown against your community.
And to my daughter and her husband and their wonderful community of young parents and beautiful children, I apologize for the words and actions of many who chose to attack you because you are an easy target.
Daily, religious Jews say they are praying for the coming of the Messiah and then in words that divide Jews, attack innocent ones, they remind us why we still are waiting for the Geula, for the truest redemption. If you cursed the protesters this week, you were right; if you cursed Haredim, including MY Haredim, you are part of the problem.
Netanyahu’s support for the settlement enterprise, is believed to have been reigned by former democratic US president Barack Obama who was in office from January 2009 to January 2017.
A man photographs a woman as she stands next to a mural depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Is
Spending on West Bank settlements spiked by 39% in 2017, the first year US President Donald Trump was in office, the left-wing group Peace Now reported on Tuesday.
Weekend work permits for Eurovision complicate Netanyahu’s coalition bargaining with ultra-Orthodox parties
Israeli singer and past Eurovision winner Dana International at the Orange Carpet event in Tel Aviv, May 13, 2019.
Israeli singer and past Eurovision winner Dana International at the Orange Carpet event in Tel Aviv, May 13, 2019.Tomer Appelbaum
Seeking to quell ultra-Orthodox anger over holding the Eurovision Song Contest’s final in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday it was an “individual international event” not sponsored by the state, and that the government doesn’t want to violate the Sabbath.
French Holocaust denier Alain Soral. Photo: Egalite et Réconciliation.
The mayor of one of southern France’s most picturesque towns expressed fury on Tuesday after learning that a group of right-wing activists and conspiracy theorists — including convicted Holocaust denier Alain Soral — were planning to hold a “summer school” there at the end of August.
“I say it clearly, Soral is not welcome here,” Alexandre Reynal — mayor of the town of Amelie-les-Bain in the spectacular Pyrénées-Orientales region — told a local news outlet on Tuesday.
I urge all visitors to join me in a conspiracy to violate the UN Security Council Resolution…Obama, himself, engineered the Resolution. He pushed it through the Security Council despite some reservations by other members, including Egypt, which believed that the Resolution itself could become a barrier to a negotiated two-state solution. After all, if Israel’s control over Judaism’s holiest site is deemed illegal, then Israel would have to negotiate its legality with the Palestinians.
The ruling Law and Justice Party views Poland as a victim of World War II, and that therefore Poland should not be required to pay damages to other victims.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacts after receiving his nomination during a government s
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacts after receiving his nomination during a government swearing-in ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, December 11, 2017..
Only three-quarters of a century after Der Stürmer incentivized the mass murder of Jews by dehumanizing them, we see a revival of such bigoted caricatures.
I do not believe in free speech for me, but not for thee. But I do believe in condemning those who hide behind the First Amendment to express anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, sexist or racist views.
One of the most influential newspapers in the world, the Jewish-owned New York Times decided to present the Jews with a gift in honor of the last day of Passover – a major Jewish holiday – an antisemitic caricature. The controversial cartoon shows US President Donald Trump as a blind man with a skullcap on his head, being led by a dog that looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And to make sure the reader knows it is indeed the Israeli premier, the dog has a Star of David dangling from its collar.
Last week, Jared Kushner, one of the administration’s point men on the Middle East, dispensed with the term “two-state solution” in its impending peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. “The two-state solution has failed,” he said.
The “two-state solution” does not appear in the 1993 Oslo Accords, which called only for “interim self-government” for the Palestinians. The goal was a negotiated final status agreement, in which independence was not specified.
Religious fervor always picks up before the Jewish holidays. Not surprisingly, Israeli undercover police arrested Jewish activists from the Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the Mount) organization early Friday afternoon, just before the onset of the Passover holiday, after an apparent attempt to bring a young goat on to the Temple Mount for a self-proclaimed sacrificial rite. Indeed, this drama plays itself out every year, but according to Jerusalem police, this year a record of at least twelve members of the organization were arrested throughout the course of the day on counts of disturbing the peace.
Every year when Passover eve arrives, I do my best not to think about that night; to allow the joy of cherished rituals meant to renew our family’s tribal history and faith envelop us in its warm glow as whoever among the kids and grandkids it’s our turn to host partake of the matzoh, bitter herbs, and wine. Often – actually most often – I succeed.