Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Meretz

Another gem from Jameel:

The winter session of the Knesset is now in session. MK Chaim Oron (Meretz) ascended the podium of Israel’s parliament and proposed a new law:

Any person who attempts to influence a minor, to become more religiously observant of Judaism, (להחזיר בתשובה) will be subject to arrest and imprisonment for 6 months.

Back in 1989 or 1990, the Jerusalem Report ran a feature on a new program sponsored by the “Movement for Secular Humanistic Judaism,” called the “Irgun L’Chozrim L’she’ila,” or “the organization for returnees to questioning.” Then as now, the Jerusalem Report wasn’t known to be especially pro-religion, and the article practically fawned over this wonderful new group.

What the “Irgun” did was offer charedim free shelter and help them understand things like the bus system, so they could get jobs. For those of us who don’t look upon charedim as benighted simpletons, this should already raise a red flag. But here’s the more salient detail: the soon-to-be-ex-charedim interviewed were all fifteen or sixteen years old.

This was an organization not content to merely “influence” minors — it actively assisted them in running away from home. Meretz, far from condemning their efforts, actively collaborated with the Movement for Secular Humanistic Judaism at the time.

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15 Responses

  1. Tal Benschar says:

    Sounds like they are taking a page from Antiochus.

    What next, outlawing milah?

  2. l.Oberstein says:

    Meretz is a good example of beng behind the times. They have not learned a thing from Jewish History and are still promoting the Haskala as if the past century hadn’t proved that assimilation is not the solution to the “Jewish Problem”. Instaed of individual assimmilation, Meretz and other secularists want to assimilate the Jewish People as a whole. They are the voices of the past. Their progeny have much less a chance of being Jewish or Israeli than the chareidim they so despirse.

  3. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    This bill has a chance of a snowball in hell of being passed and will cost Meretz votes in the next election. Furthermore, even if it were passed, it would be about as enforceable and as likely to be enforced as the anti-missionary law. But the very fact that such a law can be considered is a sure sign of the imminent downfall of the secular state of Israel in its present form. As a former Zionist and present settler greatly chastened by the events of the past year, I see it as a bitter but ultimately positive sign. The obfuscating of the past is falling away and we are approaching clarity. Many more Jews will return to the Torah soon.

  4. Micha Berger says:

    One thing missing from the report, MK Oron limited his proposal to doing so without the consent of the parents. Parents could send their children to a program that they know is run by an outreach organization without threatening the freedom of the people running that program.

    Now, if they had started with the Mormons, they might even have had the ability to claim they were objectively defending the rights of parents. As it is, their bias is glaringly showing.

    But we should remember that this is grandstanding, not legislation. Meretz played this card knowing they weren’t risking its passage.


  5. Michoel says:

    Who is a minor in Israeli law?

  6. Jameel @ The Muqata says:

    Michoel – a minor is under 18.

    Check out MK Oron’s reply to my readers.



  7. Ahron says:

    Yehoshua Friedman commented: “Furthermore, even if it were passed, it would be about as enforceable and as likely to be enforced as the anti-missionary law.”

    It is unlikely to be passed in practice. But if passed I strongly disagree with the premise that it would be unenforceable. Just consider the Rosh Hashana arrest of a man for blowing the shofar at the kotel. He was arrested by Israeli Police, who stood firmly by the charges until the light of publicity apparently led a judge to fold.

    There is no guarantee that the lights of publicity will always burn so brightly. And there are already visible hints of what many employees of the Israeli government would like to do when those lights dim.

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    WADR to the MK from Meretz, it is very obvious that Kiruv and Torah, from his perspective, should not be allowed to compete in the marketplace of ideas along with such influences as postZionism, a secular school system that is failing to educate and provide its students with a safe environment and a secular culture that is built upon the objectification and abuse of women. Meretz is the Israeli equivalent of the anti-clerical European political and academic establishment and is obviously hostile to a religious presence in the public arena.

  9. Tal Benschar says:


    Thanks for posting his (form) reply.

    The most frightening part about the reply was that he would propose outlawing kiruv whether done by “direct or indirect” means (פעולות” ישירות או עקיפות”).

    Wonder just what that might include, hmmmmm?

    George Orwell, phone your publisher.

    (And BTW I did not miss his sly remark about kiruv through threats. First of all, how real is that? I am rather dubious that he could come up with any real examples. Second, if true, then that is already a crime, no need for this new proposal.)

  10. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Tal Benschar, kiruv through threats does not have to mean physical threats. “Repent or you’ll go to Gehenom” is also a threat.

  11. joel rich says:

    Not sure I get the title – what exactly is the hypocrisy?
    If orthodoxy had the power would we not punish any person who attempted to influence a minor to become less religiously observant of Judaism ?


  12. Yisrael Moshe says:

    The best part, kaviyachul, about not being Frum is that you can change your beliefs with the times. Therefore, what the Meretz party firmly believed three years ago is antiquated, and Chaim Oron’s new philosophy is the wave of the present.

    Hence, Meretz cannot be accused of hypocrisy! 🙂

    It’s a pretty good deal

  13. Menachem Petrushka says:

    Dear Rabbi Menken

    Thank you for the encoraging news that Meretz has introduced a bill banning Kiruv work among the young.

    That Meretz did so reveals that its constituents see it as a prioblem that they cannot throw their money at to solve.

    We are not dealing here with disadvantaged youth who may see in the adoption of religous ways at the behest of religious organizations a means to better thmselves materially.

    Meretz is the party of the creme de la creme of secular Israeli socitey. Its members are in the top social and income strata of the state. If their children are attracted to the what the Kiruv organization offer, it means that they, as parents and educators, have failed them. They cannot see how to counteract the appeal of the religious groups. Everything in their welterschaung tells them that the phenomeon of Chozerim betshuva should not be happening amoung their kids. Therefore, their party, Meretz, has intoduced an assinine bill to outlaw kiruv work among the young, both as means of currying favor with its consituents and an admission of failure.

  14. Tal Benschar says:

    “Tal Benschar, kiruv through threats does not have to mean physical threats. “Repent or you’ll go to Gehenom” is also a threat.

    Comment by Ori Pomerantz”

    Do you really believe the two are on par?

    That the latter should be outlawed?

    Indeed, that the latter (perhaps in more sophisticated language — “there is a judgment after you leave this life”) is not a legitimate part of religious discourse?

  15. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Tal, I apologize – I was not clear. I do not believe that this should be outlawed. I do believe, however, that this is what MK Oron believes should be outlawed.

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