A Personal Account of the Orot Situation

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17 Responses

  1. Leon Zacharowicz MD says:

    If this was not so sad, it would be ridiculously funny.

  2. aron feldman says:

    an excellent and thoughtful piece! It would be nice to see the extremists
    evince the same level of contempt towards the Burka Lady (who ran a cult of sexual deviance)
    that they showed towards some innocent children whose biggest crime is going to school

  3. Zdog says:

    Well Written.

    ZH

  4. L. Oberstein says:

    You are 100% in the right on this issue. The fact that these extremists moved into an existing city and cannot abide anyone who is not like them is intolerable. However, that is the way these people are. Much of the fault lies with the city authorities who coddle them and who did not have foresight in planning the various neighborhoods. If it is true tha the majority of Chassidim and other Chareidim are themselves afraid of these rioters, then the police have to be firm and make arrests. A hostile minority cannot dominate unless the majority lets them.

  5. Pinchas Steinberg says:

    This makes me very sad. I’ll save a copy of this article for my “Tisha B’av reading.”

  6. Etana Hecht says:

    Leon- As I was heading towards Orot the other day, I was saying to my husband that if little girls weren’t being victimized, the situation is so ludicrous, it’s hysterical. Can you just picture a group of grown men looking at their watches and saying “oh, it’s 12:45, we better run over to the little girls’ school down the block and shout at them!”.

    L. Oberstein- that’s exactly my point. If the moderate chareidim realize the extent of this situation, and how it will affect them at some point in the future then hopefully enough of them will jump on our bandwagon and in our numbers, the Kitzonim will lose their power. During the first few days of protests, the police didn’t do anything to stop or arrest the troublemakers. After a video went around of them doing nothing while men screamed at little girls, they realized how bad it looked and B”H started taking action and making arrests. The problem is that in this community when arrests are made it generally makes the rioting worse.

  7. Tzvi says:

    Thank you Cross Currents for publishing this.

  8. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    I would hope that at some point, the Charedi population who oppose the rioters will act up and speak up. Otherwise, they are the next victims!

  9. Yaakov Menken says:

    From a friend of mine, who lives in RBS A, and is entirely Charedi — his hat is blacker than mine, as they say. He’s also very slow to be involved in politics, so all he could provide is what the Charedi news is saying. That, however, turns out to say a great deal:

    The little bit we know we read the other day in the English side of the local Chareidi paper (Chadash) (not the Hebrew side, which is more fearful of kanaim). It referred to the chareidim who made trouble in very non-complimentary fashion (calling them fanatics or whatever), and wrote something about how both Datim and Chareidim from RBS A went to hang up signs in RBS B with pic’s of the troublemakers who were doing the harassing. They also quoted a statement from the local city council along the lines that it was regrettable that the education ministry (or whatever it was) didn’t let them settle this locally – although they do condemn the violence, etc. I got the impression that some committee very unwisely (or willfully) moved a dati school to a chareidi neighborhood with little sensitivity to the facts on the ground. But again, I don’t know anything not in print.

  10. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Great article by Etana. Her father must be very proud. 🙂

    “I would hope that at some point, the Charedi population who opposes the rioters will act up and speak up. Otherwise, they are the next victims!”

    Very often the Chareidi population already are the victims and they are much more fearful of speaking up for fear of the retribution that would befall them. We’ve been in contact with people, even leaders, in RBS B. They are extremely supportive of our position and very much regret their inability to get more visibly involved. Hopefully this will change in the near future.

    “I got the impression that some committee very unwisely (or willfully) moved a dati school to a chareidi neighborhood with little sensitivity to the facts on the ground.”

    This impression is incorrect. As Etana clearly pointed out, this school is not in a Chareidi neighborhood. (This is one of the false claims made the Hebrew side of Chadash newspaper.) The school is on the border of 4 neighborhoods; 3 mixed Dati Leumi/Chardal/Chiloni and one Chareidi. Also, making this into an issue of the modesty of 6-12 year old girls is, at best, opportunistic. Four years ago when the adjacent boys’ Orot school opened these guys also went nuts.

    “This makes me very sad. I’ll save a copy of this article for my “Tisha B’av reading.””

    Not so fast. There’s actually a silver lining to this. Kitzonim here in Bet Shemesh, all over Israel, and even in some places in the U.S. have been getting away with this terroristic behavior for too long. In assaulting and harassing little girls they’ve finally crossed a red line that truly separates them from Clal Yisrael. In Bet Shemesh our effort to oppose them, and a mayor who shamelessly kowtows to them, has brought together a broad coalition of Datiim, Chilonim, Sephardim, Ethiopians, and Russians. It has also helped our community forge stronger bonds with certain groups in the Chareidi community and has brought members American Yeshivish community to stand with us. We may yet stand a chance of purging this extremism from our midst and in so doing bring us all closer together.

  11. Bob Miller says:

    If this was the old Wild West, we’d be seeing some civilians getting together for self-protection, instead of hoping the authorities catch on.

  12. Etana Hecht says:

    Thanks, Menachem Lipkin for articulating a perfect response to previous comments.

  13. Etana Hecht says:

    Update: Today there were about 10 men waiting on the roof for the girls. They didn’t know today was late dismissal so they sat there for awhile, then made their way down. However, not before they threw stink bombs into the schoolyard, and an egg at one girl who left early. Can you say pathetic? Also, where are they getting money to fund their ‘activities’? These guys are supposed to be poor kollel men. We do know that in the past the Eida Chareidit gave them money for some of their shenanigans. If you’ve ever given tzedaka to them you may consider stopping.

  14. R Gottlieb says:

    Dear Etana, your answer to the charedi woman is far from being the best one or even appropriate. The issue is not of who get there first. The issue is learning to coexist with someone diferent from you. As I see it “Love the stranger” is the correct answer.

  15. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    To R. Gottlieb:

    I think you’ve got things inverted. In this case, no one was questioning the right of Charedim of any stripe to live in Ramat Beit Shemesh. The question was whether a pack of goons (both male and female) of a certain type of Charedi have the right (which they don’t) to dictate what their neighbors do. If anything, Etana Hecht’s reply was as correct as you could get. It was also very restrained; I doubt I would have been as nice.

    However, I must note that several posters have shown a certain hostility to Haredim all too prevalent among the Dati Leumi. I still remember an interview Rabbi Yehuda Amital gave to an American newspaper, where he could talk about the need for love and tolerance towards Conservative, Reform, and secular Jews and “Kefirat Charedit” (and those were his words) at the same time. That same hostility is allowing certain posters to use the Sikrikim to tar the entire Charedi community.

    That having been said, I do wish that the leaders and members of the Charedi community would stand up to and actively oppose the Sikirim. Not because they are giving Charedim a bad name, and not just because their behavior is an attack on the civilized tolerance we need to survive together, but because their behavior is a chillul HaShem and a pritzus on Kedushah. I am certain that if we don’t stand up together, the Charedim will be the next victims.

  16. Moshe says:

    “I still remember an interview Rabbi Yehuda Amital gave to an American newspaper, where he could talk about the need for love and tolerance towards Conservative, Reform, and secular Jews and “Kefirat Charedit” (and those were his words) at the same time.”

    Source please? It sounds like nothing R. Amital zt’l would have said.

  17. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Moshe:

    It was printed in the Long Island Jewish World during the Israeli elections in the late 1980s. I can’t be more exact than that without spending hours to find it. But I remember it most clearly.

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