Banishing the Zealots From Our Midst

by Yakov Horowitz

[Editor’s Note: Once again, Rabbi Yakov dares to publish what others won’t even say aloud. He reviews the harm caused by kane’im/zealots, and calls for help in ousting them from the community, any way possible. Those who wish to take advantage of the links in the original version can go to his website here.]

While the bulk of the ire and anger from the charedi community over the “Sharing the Burden” initiatives are directed at Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, many of us who work with the teens-at-risk population feel strongly that some of this resentment should be redirected toward the radical kanoim (zealots) who have been contributing to the charedi-secular divide in Eretz Yisroel for decades now. Why? Because over the years, they have employed tactics of intimidation and violence to antagonize our non-observant brothers and sisters, and to disrupt the efforts of our gedolim (sages) in Eretz Yisroel to make the type of changes that are now being forced upon the charedi community. –>

In the late 1990’s the leading gedolim of North America met to discuss the pressing need to find appropriate placements for the dozens of young men who were in no Yeshiva setting and roaming the streets of the Greater New York Area (See Seven, Eight, Nine and Exit Interviews). When a clear consensus emerged that a combination of working, studying for equivalency high school diplomas (GED), and attending nighttime shiurim would be the most productive setting for most of those teenagers, our gedolim encouraged the formation of organizations like Torah Umesorah’s Counterforce, Ohel’s services for at-risk kids, Agudath Israel’s Project YES, MASK, Priority One, and Our Place to bring this to fruition. While it would be foolish to claim that this initiative solved the teens-at-risk problem in America, it most certainly mitigated it significantly.
While this was occurring in the USA, similar meetings of the senior gedolim of Eretz Yisroel were taking place in conjunction with the educators and community activists who were working with their out-of-school kids. Their search for a solution was complicated further by the fact that the American model of work/modified school/shiurim was a “non-starter” because Israeli teens who were not full-time yeshiva students would have been drafted into the army when they reached enlistment age. Consequently, charedi parents would have been understandably reluctant to have their sheltered sons join a program that would result in their conscription into a co-ed, secular army.

Many wonderful people devoted countless man-hours to sift through the complex logistics of various solutions that were suggested both by Israeli activists, as well as those of us who were working with teens-at-risk in America. After years of discussion and research, there emerged a novel idea for the time; namely, creating a segregated army program for ex-yeshiva students which would meet both their cultural and religious needs. With that, Nachal Charedi was established with the full-throated bracha (blessing) and encouragement of Hagaon Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman shlit”a.

It could have been a win-win-win for all involved. The boys who were not cut out for full-day learning would find fulfillment defending their country in a culturally congruent setting, all the while learning skills that would then create a pathway to productive careers after their service. On a communal level, Nachal Charedi would clear the streets of Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak of the gangs of frustrated young men who were not attending Yeshiva. Having significant numbers of charedi young men serving in the army would also help reduce the resentment of the secular majority regarding the matter of the drafting of yeshiva boys.
Unfortunately, this initiative which was created with such misirus nefesh (dedication) and which had such promise, was nearly destroyed by the vicious and often violent campaign of the kanoimwho wanted only to derail it. In the end, it achieved a mere fraction of its original goals. The elderly tzadik and gadol hador, Hagaon Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman shlit”a was harassed mercilessly, threatened and picketed for his support of Nachal Charedi. Likewise, the many families of teens and young adults who enlisted were subjected to the same type of terror that is going on today in full view of the international press.
In fact, Rav Shteinman’s inspiring Trip of Chizuk and his address to the American Torah Umesorah Conference was marred by these demonstrations and according to many reports, his visit to a major city in North America was cancelled due to threats of unruly protests. The campaign of intimidation continues to this very day with thisreprehensibleposter displayed prominently at the recent NYC rally against the draft in Eretz Yisroel.

Besides the detrimental effect that the opposition to Nachal Charedi had on thousands of underachieving Israeli kids whose options were limited, the toll it took on secular-religious relations is incalculable. We pray that it is not irreparable. It is hard to imagine the “Sharing the Burden” initiative gaining the traction it did if Israeli charedi young men had been serving their country with distinction and working in the hi-tech division of the IDF over the past decade.

We who live in the Diaspora cannot claim to understand the nuances and ramifications of the political climate currently facing our charedi brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel. Therefore it is not our place to criticize or second guess the decisions being made in response to the reversal of the exemption given to yeshiva students that has been in place for the 65 years of Israel’s existence.
I do feel strongly, however, that we can and must work collectively to eliminate the abuse directed at members of our charedi community in Eretz Yisroel so their leaders can implement practical and much-needed solutions without fear of reprisals from violent radicals who target them. We must use all tools at our disposal to eradicate aggressively the communal abuse perpetrated by a small group of thugs who are destroying our beautiful way of life both from within and without.

It is not only the charedi young men in uniform who are being abused by these radicals; it is our entire kehila who is suffering from their abusive campaigns. It is not only the Nachal Charedi solders who are being humiliated by the kanoim, it is all members of our community worldwide who are being shamed by identification with them.
We are becoming all too aware of the devastating carnage that abuse leaves in its wake, and we are discovering that ignoring problems of this nature causes them to fester and metastasize. Now we need to come to the realization that abuse exists on a communal level as well, and that it also needs to be confronted head-on.
A fundamental characteristic of abusers is that they don’t respect the personal space of others. Well, that’s what radical zealots do – they use threats and force to break down the personal space of people who don’t share their views in order to impose their will on them.

I am writing this message to those who know me and are familiar with our efforts at Project YES to help all of our children reach their fullest potential in a safe and nurturing environment. The goal of this communication, written on the heels of Tisha B’Av, is to explain why this climate of intimidation is so dangerous to the welfare of our children – since it stands in the way of all solutions that can help us solve the problems they face.

I am using the Project YES website and email list to host a long-overdue digital discussion about the perilous problem of ongoing communal abuse, and what we can do to eliminate it completely. We invite community leaders and individuals alike to post comments on this thread and to submit essays on this subject (kindly send to [email protected]) which will be posted on our website and distributed via our worldwide Project YES email list. We are committed to allowing a wide range of opinions including opposing views. All we ask is that the discussions be conducted in a respectful tone with an eye to practical solutions to this most pressing matter.

We hope that this initiative will help generate constructive discourse and ultimate solutions that will provide opportunity for all of our children to live productive lives b’ruchniyus u’vgashmiyus (spiritually and materially).

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42 Responses

  1. Mr. Cohen says:

    Every year, anti-Zionist zealots come to the Salute to Israel Parade
    in Manhattan to publicly condemn Israel.

    The result: they cause many secular Jews to HATE all Orthodox Jews.

    I eagerly look forward to the day when the Gedolim speak out
    against these hate-causers.

  2. chaim tolife says:

    Wow!what an awesome post! Kol hakavod,chazak ubaruch!

  3. SA says:

    “Kanoim” are in the eyes of the beholder. When I served as news editor at a major Haredi newspaper, we were not allowed to say “Nachal Haredi” in our news reports (I got away with using the term “Netzach Yehuda battalion” since the powers-that-be assumed most readers would not know exactly what that was….). When Rav Steinman visited America alone (not with the paper’s patron Rebbe), the Israeli edition of this paper was banned from printing almost any coverage of the visit (in marked contrast to the paper’s American edition, which gave it the extensive coverage it deserved).

    The problem is not just wild Kanoim from the alleys of Meah Shearim. The problem is and was groups that are decidedly mainstream.

  4. Daniel says:

    1. You’re facing a losing battle here, the kanoim and those who influence them do not read your website and probably dont participate in online forums or email discussions at all. By using the internet for this, you are already out of the machaneh. The best you cna do is get a godol or gedolim on your side for this campaign. But even if they agree to speak out, the risk is that as soon as they’ve done that they’re out of the machaneh. The only solution I can think of is a large gathering of gedolim who express a unanimous view on this. Or better still an ‘internet style’ asifa – where kanous and stirring up hatred are condemned.

    2. I think by default looking at boys who cannot sit and learn as failures by default and a job or the army as some sort of weak alternative is the wrong approach. Although learning should be encouraged, someone who is clearly not fulfilled doing that should find soemthing that he is fulfilled in doing, and that should be celebrated and he shouldn’t be regarded as failure. Boys should be encouraged to find (within reason) what fulfills them, so that they can lead happy torah filled lives and not feel that by having a job they would be a second class citizen and so instead sit and waste they time in yeshiva/kollel.
    I was considered an ‘ilui’ in my yeshiva – however I decided that a life of full time learning did not fulfill me and I realised that I would grow to resent just learnng all day and would not be as productive as I could be, both as a member of the community and in my own learning. So I went and got a job in large corporation where b’h I am successful and fulfilled and my learning is more productive overall despite having a shorter time to do it. I know other highly intelligent boys who felt that learning wasnt for them and became doctors, lawyers, and kiruv workers.
    If you by default look at boys who dont want to sit and learn as failures then whatever program you run won’t be successful as it could be as there will be strong social pressure not to join and just batel around in yeshiva instead. The same with the army program – you need the some ‘good’ guys joining, guys who are committed to their community, torah and yiddishkeit. Not just the boys who are about to leave the ‘derech’. That way you raise the profile of these programs and the army unit and the boys joining wont have the inevitable chip on their shoulder. People claim that soem of the people in these programs are leaving the derech, and thats because they people on these programs are already primed for this. You need to turn the tide.
    You may feel that by encouraging even the good guys to go for these programs would pull boys away from learning, I feel that ultimately people will do what fulfills and the guys who are meant to learn will stay and learn.
    Then we can really look up to the guys in learning because they will be the ones who are truly meant to be there, without having to look down on the guys who are not.

  5. Melissa says:

    the gedolim have to think of a way to give the kanoim more ahavas yisroal and ahavas bri-yos. if they can’t love all Jews and all of Hashem’s creations and behave in their best interests, it’s a problem.

  6. yehuda ray says:

    The importance of this piece can not be overstated,but even more impressive is the savvy ,smart way rabbi horowitz is able to make his points.bravo!

  7. Eric Leibman says:

    It seems to me that one way or another, for better or for worse, these problems will have to be addressed by the people actually living in Israel. Only the religious community in Israel can make the decision to police itself and take measures to make sure trouble makers do not harass and abuse people. We can’t do it form them.

  8. Berel says:

    I know this comment will be very unpopular but over the last few months I’m actually starting to agree with the Kanoim in relation their analysis of secular Zionism.Furthermore if it ever reaches a point of forcibly taking Yeshiva Bochrim to the army I would support violent resistance.

    I say this as someone who always had the same viewpoint as this blog in relation to the issues above.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Rabbi Horowitz is in the wrong on this one. As an american he does not understand the Israeli culture nor does he understand how the gedolim deal with these issues. Leave it up to the Gedolim to deal with.

  10. L. Oberstein says:

    Berel: I honestly believe that the jailing of chareidim who dodge the draft is nothing more than a “red herring” and a tremendous gift to those who want to demonize the government. The law is clear, draft dodgers risk jail. This isn’t against chareidim per se, it is identical with all others drafted who do not show up. The law would have been thrown out by the Supreme Court if secular draft dodgers were jailed and religious ones were not. Now, the truth is that hardly anyone is put in jail now or in the future for this. i also get letters that I will be put in jail if I don’t show up for jury duty and they haven’t come to get me yet. The horrible behavior of the Chareidi Knesset Members and all those who revel in the fantasy of masses going to jail is not an overreaction alone, it is a perversion of the intent of the law. There will be many deferrments for many reasons, as now, and if one doesn’t want to go to the army, an all male, glatt kosher army, he can do community service with ZAKA or Hatzala and still learn most of the day. The problem here, in my opinion, is what Rabbi Horowitz points out, the Israeli chareidi society does not have the capacity for compromise or reasonable discussion of options. They have so antagonized the rest of the country that they brought in Yesh Atid. Even now, is there one Charedi leader who is publically able to discuss a meeting of the minds that would satisfy all sides. Why should we in this country blindly voice approval for refusal to compromise, it is contrary to all of Jewish history to not allow men to go to work, to get trained for a career and to expect the secular majority to support a life style they feel is a time bomb that can destroy Israeli society. You are welcome to disagree but not welcome to make me pay for it.

  11. Shaya Karlinsky says:

    One of the underlying problems, which Rabbi Horowitz is addressing, is that the Gedolim to which you abstractly refer are hobbled in dealing with the situation in the most effective way BECAUSE of the kanoim (and those don’t always get labeled as such, but referred to by SA). Saying that “people in America don’t understand the situation/culture in Israel” is a nice way to muzzle relevant critique without confronting the real issues raised by R. Horowitz. But it doesn’t change reality. And reality will catch up with the Charedi world if people ignore the Rabbi Horowtiz’s of the world.

  12. SA says:

    To Eric Liebman: You would be right if the Haredim in Israel weren’t constantly turning to the Torah community abroad for both financial and moral support.

    Moreover, the “other side” (as regards, for example, issues relating to the status of women),lobbies intensively on a public and government level in the United States, sometimes (not always) in response to excesses committed by Haredi zealots in Israel. The U.S. Haredi community has every right to be involved, because what goes on in Israel and makes the news affects how people in the United States view the Torah community THERE.

    To Anonymous: This blog and many others would probably not exist if enough of the community believed the Gedolim were dealing with the issues.

  13. Doron Beckerman says:

    Rabbi Horowitz,

    I expect that you do not expect the kannaim to pay attention to this piece. Quite similarly, they pay no attention to ANY rabbinic leader of stature. A certain Eidah Charedis Rabbi recently called Rav Steinman ‘Amalek,’ and I am certain that they would not even pay attention to him if he called to stop the violence. The proper address for this, just as with the form of abuse that you usually deal with, is law enforcement, and I have no idea why you would think otherwise.

    The issue about which the Charedim need to look inward is their deficiency of hakaras hatov toward the IDF and the support of Yeshivos that has been going on for the past 65 years. Had that been more manifest, it would have done far more to bring about rapproachment between the two camps.

    As events have unfolded, though, there is no alternative. Either every single young man who has she’ifos to become a gadol batorah is granted that opportunity by way of exemption from the army, AND the IDF gets its act together vis-a-vis Charedim in the army (witness the resignation of Rav Raavad; witness the shaving off of peyos just two weeks ago!) – if it can – or there will be a forceful campaign of delegitimization of the army as an option for Charedim.

    Finally, the anger is not directed all that much at Yair Lapid, and even Naftali Bennett is but a secondary lightning rod. The most destructive MK, by far, is R’ Dov Lipman. Consider:

    – RDL is part of Yesh Atid, which is a party advocating something that is absolutely, literally Yehareg V’al Yaavor: Without Bayit Yehudi in the government, Yesh Atid would have drafted all 18 year old GIRLS, as per Minister Ariel. This appears in Yesh Atid’s platform as well.
    – RDL is part of Yesh Atid, which has a heterodox agenda: In the wake of last week’s results of the Chief Rabbinate election, Yair Lapid declared his intent to have Yesh Atid further alternative marriage tracks for pesulei chittun and LGBT unions. Minister Piron, while cutting ALL Yeshivos, including those of the RZ, by 50% or more, found 15 million shekels to fund “progressive ‘Yeshivot'” – i.e., women in minimal attire studying Zohar and what not.
    – RDL maliciously and slanderously downplayed and hand-waved the intensity, curricular integrity, positive character development, and prestige of all Yeshiva boys.
    – RDL has done absolutely nothing to sweeten the gezeiros against the Charedi world; every single mitigation of the decrees was either the result of legal action or Bayit Yehudi’s stances.

  14. Ben Waxman says:

    On a communal level, Nachal Charedi would clear the streets of Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak of the gangs of frustrated young men who were not attending Yeshiva.

    My visits to Bnei Brak are limited to my favorite pizzeria and my tailor. I also don’t hang in Yerushalayim that much. Are there actual gangs?


    I would support violent resistance.

    I used to do dialogue with Palestinians and their supporters. Your comment takes me back the summer of 2000, when American pro-palis called upon the Palestinians to start a new intifada. When the actual violence started and ensuing body count rose on both sides, these same people denied what they said, they spinned it, they stonewalled. They did a lot of things except for one course of action, which they never took. They never came over here and joined the Palestinians. They preferred to stay behind their computer screens in America.

    So, will you take part in manning the barricades or are you merely going to cheer them on from New York?

    I really, but really, hope that you understand the seriousness of telling people to take up armed resistance. I am not talking in legal terms, but in the moral terms of what you are saying.

  15. Marty Bluke says:

    The question that needs to be asked is can these people really be called kannoim?

    After Shimon and Levi destroy the city of Shechem Yakov is very angry with them for exposing their family to danger, and asks them why they did it. They answer,הכזונה יעשה את אחותינו. Yaakov Avinu does not respond at that point but does respond when he gives the shevatim their berachos in ויחי. Yaakov says about Shimon and Levi, כלי חמס מכירותיהם, clearly negative and then he says אפיצם ביעקב אחלקם בישראל, that they will be spread around. However, Rashi comments that Yaakov was saying that they will be the מלמדים and סופרים for the Jewish people.

    R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky asks why should they be the כלי קדש? Yaakov Avinu was not happy with their actions. He answers that to be a כלי קדש you need to be a kannoi. Things have to bother you and you have to act on it.

    R’ Yaakov then pointed out that Levi fulfilled the beracha while Shimon did not. Levi rallied to Moshe Rabenu’s side when he said מי לה’ אלי by the עגל, however, Shimon did not. In fact, Shimon used his קנאות for bad in the מעשה of זמרי where the נשיא of Shimon was a kannoi against Moshe Rabenu and acted out his desires. And in fact, who killed Zimri, Pinchas from Shevet levi.

    What was the difference between Shimon and Levi? R’ Yaakov answers, Torah. Levi learned torah in מצרים and was therefore able to harness his קנאות to torah while Shimon was busy working and therefore his קנאות was not bound by torah and turned out to be a terrible thing.

    The Chazon Ish once commented on the Kannoim in Yerushalayim that they were pre-matan torah Jews, meaning that their actions were not guided by torah but by emotion. This is a very bad thing which leads people to do terrible aveiros.

    Unfortunately, this is the case of today’s kannoim as well. They are pre-matan torah Jews like Shimon. Their קנאות is causing them to violate very serious aveiros for which they cannot do teshuva. They have been מזיק and stole from who knows how many people, an aveira from which there is no כפרה until you return the גזילה\היזק. There is absolutely no heter whatsoever to destroy public property to make a מחאה, it is simply גזילה from the ציבור. In addition, they have created a terrible chillul hashem, again an aveira with no kappara. Why? because their kanaus is not defined by Torah but by their emotions.

    When R’ Weiss was appointed the Av Beis Din of the Eidah Charedis people complained that he wasn’t a big kannoi. The Satmar rebbe said that anyone can be a kannoi overnight, to become a Talmid Chacham like R’ Weiss takes 20 years.

    This is exactly the problem today, everyone is a kannoi but how many kannoim have their kanaus defined by the Torah?

  16. Shades of Gray says:

    “Once again, Rabbi Yakov dares to publish what others won’t even say aloud.”

    The following conversation has repeated itself over the past several years: are the Gedolim in charge, or are the kannoim? Why should people be afraid to speak their mind in cases such as this ?

    Some thoughts and a suggestion:

    –I’m guessing that there are differences in the American Charedi world, including within the Aguda which is an umbrella group, as witnessed by the fact that some roshei yeshivos and Chasidishe rabbonim attended the recent Manhattan rally, while many did not. Likewise, during the first metizah b’peh controversy about seven years ago, there were those to the right of Aguda claiming that they weren’t represented in the organization, although I think that’s no longer an issue.

    –What is the power structure behind each of the American Charedi media outlets? I am sure there are rabbonim who back each media organ, but there is no transparency(a notable exception is the monthly Zman Magazine, which publishes the name of their rabbinical adviser).

    –I find it hard to accept that “kannoim” have no connection whatsoever to the community. They are being given shelter somehow, even if passively, and they affect the culture and are affected by it, as the Gemera says regarding Beis Bilgah, and as R. Dessler writes regarding Achan in Yericho,and other sources(although it’s complicated by the Charedei world being and/or feeling under siege).

    Can responsible balei batim get together, from the OU through the Chasidish world(similar to Klal Perspectives), on an issue such as kannoim ? If Gedolim, for whatever the reason, can’t issue statements, why can’t balei batim brainstorm and then act decisively?

    If people see an unfair editorial in the Yated, why can’t there be a united response from balei batim, meeting or writing to them, explaining why it’s bad for the Klal; eg, calling Naftli Bennett, before Tisha B’av “a boor, an am ha’aretz” for meeting with Conservative groups(American Yated, pg 14, 7/12/13)? Which Gadol signed off on this as effective ? Even if one thinks it’s a well-deserved compliment, I think the Charedei world suffers ten times over for use of such language.

    (I am not against the existence of the Yated–there are features I like–and I imagine that from their perspective they would have complaints about other media and/or organizations)

  17. Joe Hill says:

    “With that, Nachal Charedi was established with the full-throated bracha (blessing) and encouragement of Hagaon Rav Ahron Leib Shteinman shlit”a.”

    This is a popular notion on the internet, but unfortunately it isn’t accurate. Rav Shteinman never took such a position. Furthermore, Rav Shteinman recently said it is better to run off to India if that is the only way to avoid the IDF draft.

  18. crazykanoiy says:

    Unfortunatley Rabbi Horowitz is fighting a loosing battle. This issue must be addressed from the top down. Our mainstream organizations seem to be incapable of denouncing kanoyus and extremism. When Rabbi Saks offended some chareidim the condemnation was swift. when violence was perpetrated against soldiers not a sound.

  19. SA says:

    Dear Shades of Gray: Did you see the video of Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the head of the flagship yeshiva of the Sephardi world, calling the kippa sruga community “Amalek” just before Tisha Be’av?” Did you hear Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, one of the Gedolei Hador, call the Habayit Hayehudi party “bayit shel goyim” before the Israeli elections in January? Again, these are not wild-eyed radical “kannoim.” The Charedei world indeed suffers ten times over for use of such language — but not just in terms of how it looks to others. This type of thing leaves the rest of us open-mouthed and wondering how we can ever be mechanech our children to be machshiv Torah when this is coming from the top.

  20. Yehuda says:

    This is one of the signs of the times – there is no real leadership. Not to be misunderstood – there are fine people, talmidei chachamim, but nobody who commands real authority, as the Gemara predicted would be.
    It won’t help even if all the Gedolim proclaim that kollel is now optional and whoever wants a different derech is free to go ahead – even without the pressure of army service. It has become so ingrained that the “good” bachurim are going to be long-term learners and the shvache not, that something drastic is needed to change this. My guess is that the Gedolim know this very well, and they see the gezeiros as Hashem’s stick making the situation change in the only way possible.
    Until there is a forced draft, it’s inevitable that only the fringe elements (for want of a better term) will enlist, those who have already despaired or don’t care about shidduch prospects etc.
    It’s easy to blame the kanai’m, but the problem is far deeper than a small element of violent troublemakers. If, instead of beating up chareidi chayalim, we all said, “Nebach, they didn’t find a place in yeshiva, so this is better for them,” how would that help? Okay, it would be less of a chillul Hashem, but it still doesn’t address the problem.
    And, let’s face it, the erev rav don’t need excuses to find faults with us. They will find whatever they’re looking for regardless, and if they don’t, they’ll make it up. For all the fuss about a few violent attacks (yes, they are terrible, although there’s evidence that some were staged), it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what secular society dishes out regularly. Does anyone listen when we point this out? No – they have an agenda, regardless of the facts.
    Almost 100 years ago Sara Shenirer came along and saved the day, but this time it’s looking like only Moshiach can deliver the goods. Of course this isn’t such a bad thing at all. Each person now has to make his own cheshbon hanefesh and build his own kesher with HKBH and not rely on leaders, good or bad, as they simply cannot help any more.

  21. Bob Miller says:

    Are kannoim able to silence the community leadership or push the leaders into aggressive public positions by using financial or physical threats? If so, what obligation does the broader community have to re-establish proper order?

  22. Chaim says:


    I am stuck in a dilemna! I read, time and again, of regrettable actions (or, should we say re-actions) that become “the talk of the day” by all the naysayers, gossippers, and other elements among the readers; whose “passion for justice” is directed – realize it or not – chiefly by anti-chareidi journalists and spokesmen; whose personal lifestyle is quite often rooted in immoral behavior, self-worship, head-bashing techniques [even towards their own people] and unabashed lust of all forms of moral perversion. It is ultimately these news-reporters who will always seek out and spotlight any irrational behavior among chareidim (similiar to the way a swarm of flies will flock upon a deteriorating carcass). On one hand, I feel the need to react – simply to set the score straight. On the other hand, it is nothing short of NAUSEATING to see the overt bias that these perverted minds spew against anyone today who wishes to maintain any decent holdout against the sea of immorality out there – that threatens every day and every hour to engulf us.

    Last year, for example, a regrettable incident regarding indecent childish behavior in RBS was highlighted for a week straight by a free Israeli secular newspaper [overshadowing any interest in the brutal massacres going on then in Syria]. The reaction was not far in coming: Chareidi children became publicly harassed all over the country in protest [including a ten year old chareidi girl being kicked off an egged bus by a jeering group of secular adolescents. The driver was all but oblivious…] It was only when a small group of chareiding took the odd move of staging a counter-protest wearing holocaust uniforms – that the issue was finally brushed away from the “breaking news”. Of course – not without contempting these “over-reactors” first.

    If any of these anti-religious news reporters and journalists are actually bothered by chareidi “violence” [in truth they really love it, as it gives them their acclaim] -let them start with the daily condemning of stabbings, shootings, rapings, robberies, and mafia intimidation that goes on in their own backyards!

    What I’ve stated until now, is hardly even a drop in the bucket, but let me just quote the words of the Chazon Ish zatza”l: “Those who condemn ‘extremism’ would really wish to condemn ALL Torah observance. Only, they cannot do so, as they are obligated in it. Hence, this is their recourse”

  23. Dovid Shlomo says:

    Doron: I see how you might find Dov Lipman the most despicable MK, but not why he should be considered the most destructive.

    Does Yesh Atid need his heksher?

    Let’s say he resigned, would anything change?

    Other than being a lightning rod for Anglo and haredi anger, I don’t see how he is anything other than yet another inconsequential underling of Lapid, who does not need him and does not particularly care what he thinks.

  24. shlomo zalman says:

    Apropos crazykanoiy’s comment:
    What is the impression of the readers out there of Rabbi Karelitz’s (alleged) psak that a lost smartphone need not be returned to its owner? Is this kanai-ism? Is it Es la’asot Lashem? Is it making a chucha u’telulah of our halachic system?

  25. contarian says:

    shlomo zalman.

    I had the distinct pleaure of daveining mincha with Rav Karelitz in his Bnei Brak home on June 5th this year.

    My first impression is that the Rav’s obvious infirmities, – loss of sight, hearing, the ability to speak and move, make it very unlikely that the Rav could render a weighty Psak.

    Secondly, several individuals went out into the hall which was right outside of the living room where we were davening and in plain sight of the Rav to speak on their Smartphones.

    What does one make of that? I am not sure. Several ideas come to mind.
    That Smartphones are not assur per se – the story did say it was an unkosher(not filtered) phone?
    That Smartphone use cannot be stamped out in the Haredi community – perhaps?
    That the individuals who were using the Smartphones were relying on the Rav’s poor eyesight and/or his unfamiliarity with the device – just an evil thought.

  26. Allan Katz says:

    I don’t think R’ Horowitz is a 100% right. According to James Ferrel – the anatomy of peace , resolving the heart of the conflict there is a strong need for people for eg chareidim to justify their ‘ objectifying ‘ of Lapid and the chilonim as the enemy of Torah. So there will be no discussion and this goes for the majority of chareidim, not only the kana’im. The leadership does not have the will or the ability to initiate changes especially where change is being forced upon them. However, when individuals ask Gedolim about going to work, study, army etc they have been given the go ahead. Individuals have to take responsibility for their lives and until the leadership starts to appreciate how poverty has a negative impact on yiddishkeit , nothing will be done about it

  27. Shua Cohen says:

    From the interview last week in the 5TJT of MK R. Dov Lipman by R. Yair Hoffman:

    “YH: Is it at all possible that Dov Lipman has made an error in sizing up Yair Lapid?

    DL: Yes, it is possible. I don’t think so, but I constantly question myself, as everyone should do. We should never assume that we are always right and that we have all the answers to questions.”

    It is quite obvious that many of us in the chareidi community — both in Eretz Yisrael and chutz l’Aretz — are bemoaning the current environment in which vituperative attacks against those one disagrees with have become de rigueur. I so agree with SA [07/29 @ 1:18, above] who wrote that “this type of thing leaves the rest of us open-mouthed and wondering how we can ever be mechanech our children to be machshiv Torah when this is coming from the top.”

    One should read Rabbi Hoffman’s full interview and ask oneself afterwards (regarding Dov Lipman): “is this the enemy who deserves to be reviled?” An individual who embraced the mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz and, with yiras Shomayim, has thrown himself body and soul into the effort to improve the situation in Eretz Yisrael… such a person is worthy of public, poisonous scorn?

    Alas, R. Doron Beckerman seems to think so! With his diatribe, he has added his name to the ignoble list of those raking R. Lipman over the coals with sickening regularity. In so doing, the rabbi has demonstrated the old and very famous adage (a slight misquote of Eldridge Cleaver circa 1969): “If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.” Whether one agrees with MK Lipman’s hashkafa or not, he is making a gargantuan effort to be a part of the solution. I am so very disappointed that the moderators of Cross-Currents gave R. Beckerman’s comment a pass, thereby providing a forum to a voice which — at least in this instance — articulates words which are a woeful part of the problem.

    [YA It is indeed likely that moderation calls are sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, faulty. We try to do our best, and ask HKBH’s assistance in avoiding error. One of the policies is to allow some comments that the moderators may disagree with, but should be seen by intelligent readers to understand the thinking of others – so long as they do not cross lines into kefirah, etc. In the case of Rabbi Beckerman, he is well known to be an intelligent, well-reasoned talmid chacham. That does not mean that we agree with him in every regard, but he is not likely to ever produce anything that is over the top. I have offered enough hints that my personal opinion, FWIW coming from a distance – unlike that of R Beckerman who is on the scene – is that I reject the demonization of R Lipman.]

  28. Shua Cohen says:

    Sorry for a second comment (well at this point I don’t know if the first one will be posted), but, I just noted a stiking juxtiposition of opposing perspectives:

    > “…RDL has done absolutely nothing to sweeten the gezeiros against the Charedi world;” [Rabbi Beckerman, above]

    “…something drastic is needed to change [things]. My guess is that the Gedolim know this very well, and they see the gezeiros as Hashem’s stick making the situation change in the only way possible.” [Yehuda, above]

    >> One commenter sees R. Lipman as the enemy; the other recognizes that he might just be a shaliach of Hashem, engaged in changing a currently untenable situation that, if left without tikkun, will cause an intransigent Chareidi world to continue to implode. As far as I am concerned there is no eilu v’eilu here. Thank you Reb Yehuda for your positive and encouraging take on this issue.

  29. Doron Beckerman says:

    Shua Cohen:

    One would have to be completely blind not to see that the Charedi world in Israel has serious, deep problems. Where I thoroughly disagree with R’ Dov Lipman is his way of going about solving them, particularly in light of his identifying as a member of Charedi society. It is beyond absurd to maintain that vehement disagreement with a particular approach to solving a problem means that the person who disagrees is part of the problem. Allow me to venture a guess that you have strong feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that you would agree that the opposing approach to solving that conflict is interested in, and actively seeks, a solution that you think is destructive. You would probably point out why and how it is destructive.

    I have done nothing more than that with regard to R’ Dov Lipman. It is my view that the way in which he has gone about trying to implement what he feels to be the right solution is thoroughly wrongheaded, and I have provided nothing but facts to explain my view. I think he should resign his position as a Yesh Atid MK forthwith. I don’t think he should be “demonized,” I think he should be upbraided, and since he is a politician who, by the nature of things, agrees to subject himself to strong criticism that will serve to prevent him from being reelected, I am well within my rights to do so, provided I do not distort the facts or his views. If you would like to present the opposing viewpoint, or find my position unreasonable, by all means. But I find it rather ironic that your only response was putting my name on some sort of blacklist of “people who rake him over the coals with sickening regularity.”

    Regarding your second comment, I very, very much doubt that there is a single Gadol who embraces all the gezeiros as set forth by Yesh Atid as Hashem’s way of forcing the Charedim to change. Proof: None of them called Bayit Yehudi on the carpet for mitigating them.

    Finally, Rabbi Adlerstein is a bit too kind in his comments. We’ve known each other for quite a while, and he knows that if he chose not to let a comment of mine through, it is dollars to donuts that I would not question his judgment, which I greatly value in numerous areas.

    Dovid Shlomo:

    On the practical plane, I agree that RDL does not make much of a difference one way or the other (which is a point against him – if his influence is minuscule to nil, what is he doing in that party?). It is on the ideological plane that I find him to be most destructive (I would not use the term “despicable.”) since, as a Charedi, his presence and silence effectively grants a hechsher to whatever Yair Lapid – an inexperienced novice with an an agenda that Bayit Yehudi, Defense Minister Yaalon, or even MK Ilan Gilon from Meretz, could not swallow – cooks up to bring about the collapse of the Yeshiva world.

  30. L. Oberstein says:

    Objectification is a good way to describe dehumanizing one’s enemy. Now that we have a Jewish State and a parliament, we have copied a lot of the bad habits of other nations. Watching the Knesset TV station is like watching a shul meeting. I understand that out of camera range in the dining room they actually are friendly. Dov Lipman got instant fame and infamy and he is a nice person, a yarei shamayim and a mench. For a moment, put aside the Shivyon Banetel issue, he is doing so much for the Israeli populace as a full time ,accessible member of Knesset with an open door to help people. He is involved in far more than the narrow interests of the chareidi segment. Time will tell if his stay in the Knesset is short lived and if Yesh Atid disappears like many other parties, but he is not deserving of the vicious attacks in the chareidi media. A bigger chillul Hashem in my opinion are the Knesset Members of United Torah Judaism, a bunch of clowns is the most charitable thing I can say about them. Their antics shame me as someone might think they and I belong to same party.The American Agudah seems ready to jump on condemnations of others but what about some self criticism of its Israeli leaders, not a word. There are a few items that turn my stomach and may lead me to a reassessment of where I belong. One is how one UTJ MK told a sweet and learned woman Ruth Calderon “shut up and shut your mouth” when she politely told him that he was speaking lashon harah two days after Tisha B’Av. i cannot imagine Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz talking that way and I cannot imagine He Chazon Ish letting Gafni be his mouth piece.

  31. shlomo zalman says:

    To Contarian (Contrarian, yes?)
    Thanks for your first-hand observations. I have a different thought.

    Although I consider myself highly knowledgable on the subject of chareidim and the obligatory ism, I constantly wonder about the phenomenon you described. It seems that true-blue chareidim,like those with whom you davened , have a sixth sense of what they can get away with, even if it blatantly contradicts their gedolim. As if there is an unwritten and unspoken amorphous code, known only to a undefined inner circle, of what is truly forbidden and what is for public consumption, a charade. Only the run-of-the-mill out-of-the-loop chareidim take everything the gedolim say seriously.

    To all the Rabbi Dov Lipman commenters,
    Much of the comments revolve around Rabbi Lipman’s identity as a chareidi. Those who know him and his background (I do)realize that he cannot possibly qualify as a bona fide Israeli chareidi. Coming from a modern American community and family, educated in a yeshivish atmosphere but very out-of-town, his comfort with the American yeshivish dress and thought processes hardly put him in the chareidi camp. He calls himself chareidi to deflect criticism from one camp, and may call himself a modern zionist to deflect criticism from another camp. We all know this game, and I personally am quite comfortable with it. Agree with him? Disagree? Leave his chareidi “identity ” out of the picture, it is essentially irrelevant.

  32. Shua Cohen says:

    > “One would have to be completely blind not to see that the Charedi world in Israel has serious, deep problems. Where I thoroughly disagree with R’ Dov Lipman is his way of going about solving them, particularly in light of his identifying as a member of Charedi society It is beyond absurd to maintain that vehement disagreement with a particular approach to solving a problem means that the person who disagrees is part of the problem.”[SC: I didn’t know that one party has an exclusive on the definition of who is chareidi; is there an official list somewhere for me to check to see of R. Lipman’s name has been deleted?]

    >> “Negative campaigning, also known more colloquially as ‘mudslinging’, is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent or of a policy rather than emphasizing one’s own positive attributes or preferred policies.” [Wikipedia].

    When one is engaged in the indiscrimate lobbing of grenades at the positions of one’s adversary while offering NO constructive alternative of one’s own, then “vehement disagreement” is more than absurd, it is reduced to “mudslinging.” When did ‘mudslining’ become a midda tova? Mudslinging, handcuffing oneself to a podium, screaming that one’s adversaries are reshoyim/Amalek/Haman/enemies of Toirah”/destroyers-of-yeshivas, these emanations from the chareidi “leadership” are regnant PROBLEMS…they are solutions to nothing. Rabbi Beckerman did a pretty thorough job castigating Rabbi Lipman and scorning HIS solutions… but noticeably absent are any constructive alternatives of his own [Oh, but lobbing the grenades is SO much easier, yes?]

    Many argue (correctly) that negotiations with Abbas are fruitless because there is really no partner for peace in that individual. So too (quite sadly), there are no partners for shalom with the chiloni world among the die-hard chareidim. I am so sick and tired of hearing that the status quo ante (of 65-years ago) must continue to prevail today, when a changed world has turned that status quo into an unworkable miasma. For how much longer will the chareidi world be in denial of this?

    Even Rabbi Beckerman admits that “the Charedi world in Israel has serious, deep problems” [personally, I wouldn’t exclude the Chareidi world in chutz l’Aretz from his sentence]. So, if the good Rabbi does not approve of MK Lipman’s solutions, the world anxiously awaits his ‘better,’ more constructive solutions to the problems that he recognizes as being extant (and the devil is in the legislative details, as they say). Demanding from the government and Israeli society “more of the same” (the chareidi party-line) is not acceptable! So now what? Well, a groundswell of chareidi society is also rejecting “more of the same.” As so many others have noted in recent weeks, constructive change will have to come from the bottom-up, because it sure as heck ain’t comin’ from the top-down.

    So, once again, I say “Baruch HaShem” that Dov Lipman has had the courage to throw himself into the fire (and he sure has been badly and unjustly burned, Rachmana Litzlan) towards helping his fellow Jews, while pointedly not throwing grenades at his increasing irrelevant adveraries. And that they DEMAND that he quite his job??? Ugh!

  33. Doron Beckerman says:

    >> One is how one UTJ MK told a sweet and learned woman Ruth Calderon “shut up and shut your mouth” when she politely told him that he was speaking lashon harah two days after Tisha B’Av. <> I cannot imagine He Chazon Ish letting Gafni be his mouth piece. <<

    I cannot imagine that Rav Steinman would let him continue to be exactly that if he had serious issues with him. And I am convinced that, as Rav Yehudah Silman put it, Rav Steinman's running of the Charedi agenda today is fully aligned with what the Chazon Ish would have done in his day (and, concomitantly, I am convinced that those who lend full-throated support to today's Yesh Atid would have opposed the Chazon Ish's positions in his day). The truth, as anyone following closely knows, is that MK Gafni is one of the most respected parliamentarians in the history of the Knesset. Here is a way for you to test that: email any MK you choose from outside Yesh Atid (all their addresses are on the Knesset website) and ask them for their appraisal of MK Gafni's work.

  34. Doron Beckerman says:

    My last comment got cut off, other than the last segment:

    Rabbi Oberstein, there are quite a few things that the Charedi MKs do that I don’t like, but your presentation of the Calderon-Gafni altercation is so blatantly one-sided that it cannot go without response.

    (1) Ruth Calderon not-so-politely cut MK Gafni off in mid-sentence to protest his accusation that Yesh Atid is run like a dictatorship, calling it Lashon Hara. Now, there are many statements made in the Knesset on a alarmingly frequent basis that might qualify as Lashon Hara, but legitimate criticism of the way a party is run, when the voters absolutely need to know that information, is not one of them. MK Gafni’s accusation is entirely on the mark, and there is no better proof of this than the treatment of Mk Adi Kol, who dared to *abstain* on a vote of deep conscience – the “Chok Hameshilut” which many consider an evisceration of democracy in Israel. She was forced to apologize, fall into party line on the second vote on that law, and she cannot propose bills or deliver speeches on her party’s quota until further notice. As MK Ilan Gilon of Meretz put it: “Until now I opposed you (Yesh Atid), now I am contemptuous of you.” Nicely put!

    (2) Ruth Calderon is one of the deputy speakers of the Knesset. In that capacity, she has often been heard to protest criticism of her party by the Charedi MKs, framing her protest in similar terms of Lashon Hara etc. I do not recall her ever directing any such accusation at anyone else, certainly not at her own party, which is apparently free of such sin.

    3)In that altercation, Gafni had had it. He blew his top. No, he shouldn’t have. He was wrong. But he apologized to her. I submit that if MK R’ Lipman had mistreated someone and apologized, you would never, ever bring up that incident, and if someone else would, you would be quick to point out that he apologize, and proceed to soundly berate the person who brought it up.

  35. Doron Beckerman says:

    Shua Cohen:

    ‘Gross oversimplification’ does not begin to adequately describe the falsehood of framing the issue as either you support Dov Lipman or you must support the status quo. It is deliciously ironic that in your own comments you, by your own definition, “mudsling” the entire left which supports negotiations with the Palestinians, offer no solution of your own to the problem, and seem to be oblivious to the fact that opposing a given “solution” does not necessarily amount to supporting the status quo, which is death, death, and more death.

    [Wikipedia is wrong, by the way. Mudslinging, as understood by most people (and the only sensible way to understand it), is impugning the character of the candidate, not his policies or the policies of his party, which is obviously fair game in any political campaign.]

    All one has to think is that coercion of the Charedim will retard the positive processes already taking place – a view I completely concur with – and that already suffices to render Yesh Atid a terribly destructive force. Lest one think this view is limited to foaming-at-the-mouth Charedim, a quick run-down of those maintaining the opposing view includes Defense Minister Yaalon, MK Omer Bar Lev (Labor), MK Yoni Shetboun (Bayit Yehudi), and many others.

    What is motivating Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid? For now, let’s ask no Charedim this question, only non-Charedim. A very partial listing (no links allowed, sorry):

    Rav Brim Shlit”a, Rosh Yeshivat Hesder Shiloh : Yair Lapid is motivated by exactly the same motives as Rabbi Akiva prior to his career launch, תנו לי תלמיד חכם ואנשכנו…

    Yehoram Gaon, popular singer : When I heard Yair Lapid’s speech in the Knesset, I found myself yelling “I am a Charedi!”

    MK Zahava Galon (Meretz) : Yair Lapid is out to get the Charedim, because it is popular.

    Rav Zalman Melamed Shlit”a : Lapid is waging war against the Torah world.

    Dr. Yitzchak Kadman, Chairman of the Child Welfare Committee : The cuts to child welfare allowances are motivated by hatred of the Charedim.

    MK Arel Margalit (Labor) : The hatred of the Finance Minister toward the Charedim is causing him to lose his mind.

    If that’s not enough, give me a reasonable number of quotes you’d like from non-Charedim about what lies behind Yair Lapid’s campaign, and I’ll meet it. Yes, the rhetoric is way over the top in some cases. But that will certainly not be changed by coercion (any more than correcting faults in the Chiloni and Dati Leumi world – which certainly exist – could be accomplished in that manner), and the view that Yesh Atid is a destroyer-of-Yeshivos, Charedi-hating party is accepted by very broad swaths of Israeli society. It is a legitimate debate. You are more than welcome to deflect the criticisms of RDL, but you’ll have to contend with the objective reality, which is that he belongs to a party with a Yehareg V’al Yaavor agenda – which renders him morally bound to support that agenda, since it appears on his party’s platform; and led by a person with a heterodox agenda. I trust you realize that “ugh!” does not really change that.

    Before getting into my solutions, I’d like to know you what you see to be the specific problems that RDL is solving , what is the correlation between Yesh Atid’s policies and solving those problems, and how you plan to go about gauging whether he was successful or not.

  36. L. Oberstein says:

    Thank you Doron Beckerman for explaining the context of the Calderon-Gafni incident. I have lately watched the Knesset on the internet and am amazed at the lack of derech eretz ,which is certainly spread around. I am a talmid of European talmidei chachomim of the previous generation. I just can’t imagine my teachers acting like Rabbis Gafni and Porush and others.True,they are not the only ones who act in a disgraceful manner but they dress and look like those who tremble before G-d,i.e. holy people.
    Can you imagine Rav Meir Shapiro in the Polish Sejm acting like them? Canyou imagine Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz who followed the Chazon Ish chaining himself to the podium with handcuffs and not bringing a key. i could forgive the stunt if he had unlocked himself. What is holy and enviable about these men and why are they “our” spokesmen? The real problem is that those who send them are either not aware or don’t care that these men create a lot of sinas chinam and that their public contempt for anyone who stands in their way is not the way an elevated ben Torah acts. My Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Ruderman,zatzal, was a Prince and he always acted like a Prince. How can I look at Gafni and Porush and not feel shame? I accompanied Rabbi Herman Neuberger to many meetings on the Baltimore Jewish Coucnil where he was honored and respected by all. He never told anyone to shut up.

  37. Doron Beckerman says:

    Rabbi Oberstein,

    Of course what MK Porush did was very silly. The discourse level of the entire world has degenerated since the time of the European Talmidei Chachamim, and the Knesset is not necessarily the place one should look to find the most refined of any particular group. (That’s Gafni’s famous line about why there are no female Charedi MKs – they sought one who would agree to serve in the Knesset, but none deigned to stoop that low…)

    At the same time, Rabbi Neuberger was not confronted with the same type of crossfire either. Getting into MK Gafni’s shoes for a moment, in light of the tremendous pressure he is under to try and avert the harsh gezeiros being imposed on his constituents, and the broader context of the affair, he experienced a lapse of self-control and he exploded. Not good. But better men than he, in situations of great stress, have also experienced such lapses. On balance, he remains a well-respected MK. If you would like to feel better about him, google his speech welcoming MK Meirav Michaeli to the Knesset, and then try to follow Michaeli’s voting record vis-a-vis Charedi issues, which is assuredly directly linked to that speech.

  38. Allan Katz says:

    The response by the chareidi MKs to the Lapid- coalition proposals ( which were reviewed here in a by Rabbi Adlerstein as more positive than he expected , not the ge’zeirah to destroy the Torah world.) was incredibly antagonistic and this served to elicit from Lapid an anti-chareidi response. And this is what the Chareidi MKs want , they want Lapid to cut child benefit allowances . Because as James Ferrel – the anatomy of peace , solving the heart of the conflict explains people love when others do bad things to them because it justifies the view they have of the other. This need to justify the negative view of the other is so strong that people are willing to suffer for it. So when R’ Doron bring s proofs how bad Lapid is , this just works to help avoid finding solutions and ultimately taking responsibility for the impact leadership policies have on their community . Litzman cries about child benefits being cut , but what is he doing to encourage parents to also take some responsibility for earning a living so they can support their families. In fact the opposite. It is the policy of the ‘ Gimmel ‘ to keep as many men in kollel as possible and any move that might make it easier for a boy to enter the job market is thwarted. I have a friend who learns in Kollel and plans to start studying this year. He also was in the process of completing National Service instead of the army and after chok Tal was annulled , this possibility came into question after Lapid challenged this arrangement in the courts. At an election meeting of Gimmel my friend asked why Gimmel did not join in with the government to defend carrying- on the national service arrangement. The reply – a clerical error. Afterwards when my friend confronted the politician he said in private – Gimmel cannot support any arrangement which supports Chareidim going out to work. The politicians know that the more chareidim working , the less support they will have and more will give their support to parties like ‘ Tov’. The real tragedy is that innocent children will suffer. People will be called upon to make greater sacrifices and endure more suffering in the name of defending Torah. In the short term the ‘ stick ‘ will make things worse, but maybe people will start to open their eyes and take responsibility for their lives. This can help a little , but really ‘poverty ‘ is also a structural issue and the attitude of Gimmel plays a big role in making poverty much worse. What I am interested in seeing is how we are part of the problem and how we can be part of the solution.

  39. Shua Cohen says:

    Rabbi Beckerman:

    > “I’d like to know you what you see to be the specific problems that RDL is solving , what is the correlation between Yesh Atid’s policies and solving those problems, and how you plan to go about gauging whether he was successful or not.”

    >> For starters, allow me quote from Yair Hoffman’s interview with Rabbi MK Lipman in the 5TJT:

    ~ “…there is no question that you have the ability to infuse an appreciation for Torah and Yiddishkeit in the audiences that you address.” [Gevaldig, no?]

    ~ “I wake up every day asking how I can be mekadesh shem Shamayim…I think that as a government we should be doing this as well, as an entity to be mekadesh shem Shamayim.” [The more American chareidim who make aliyah and enter into and reform Israeli politics the better].

    ~ In response to all of your hyperbolic (and pointlss) quotes from Israeli politicians [crucially remembering that MK Lipman is American educated and brings to the Knesset an “American-style” of chareidi political discourse, which does not mimic, as Reb Oberstein points out, the terrible Israeli-style of chareidi political discourse]: “…there is no one in Yesh Atid that has hatred for chareidim. And no one in Yesh Atid who has an agenda to have chareidim be any less chareidi or are anti-chareidi. Anyone that would spend ten minutes with Yair Lapid would realize very clearly that that is not the case.” [I BELIEVE HIM! You, Rabbi Beckerman, infer that MK Lipman is either a fool or a liar].

    ~ “…right after Elul, the first chareidi type of hesder yeshiva will be launched.” [Chazak!]

    ~ “YH: What might Yesh Atid have looked like without Dov Lipman?” DL: “I think that there might be two differences. The first is that it would have been more difficult for the MKs to completely understand the chareidi side. The second is the response that they would have had to…some of the antics of the chareidi MKs…which constitute, in my opinion, an absolute chillul Hashem…On a daily basis I remind them that these are just politicians and that the overwhelming majority of the chareidi community are wonderful, nice people with derech eretz for others.” [NO political party is homogeneous in its policies and politics. You try to tar MK Lipman with some sort of negative Yesh Atid-broad-brush; how about looking at the ways that MK Lipman can positively influence others in his party, rather than proclaiming that he should quite!]

    Listen, I can go on, but what’s the point. Your approach strongly advocates loyalty to the chareidi party-line, k’neged all of those chareidim who are embarrassed by the party-line, who are embarrassed by the “leaders” who spout it, and who, therefore, reject it in favor of initiating desparately needed change. We have great hope for what MK Lipman may be able to accomplish in this regard. If he fails, it’s not for want of trying.

    Finally, you asked: “how [do] you plan to go about gauging whether he was successful or not.” Well, gee whiz! Time will tell if: the government is successful in creating an environment in the IDF which is conducive to chareidi enlistment; if the leadership at the top will begin to speak out and forcefully condemn attacks on chareidi soldiers; if talmidim who are not cut out to sit and learn for 14-hours a day will have other options in life without feeling like failures; if increasing numbers of chareidim will get a decent education in english, math and civics to enhance their chances of employment and break the cycle of poverty; if those who are talented enough to become physicians, dentists, engineers, architects, psychologists, lawyers, etc. etc. are encouraged to do so if this is their forte. And so on…

    I apologize for the length of this comment and will retire from debate on this thread.

    P.S. I can’t for the life of me understand why you (Rabbi Beckerman) dragged in the issue of negotiations with the Palistians and mudslinging the left; you leave me nonplussed with this, as it is not the concern of either this thread or any of my previous comments.

  40. Doron Beckerman says:

    Allan Katz:

    Rabbi Adlerstein’s response was to the proposals after they were softened by Bayit Yehudi (and even that was not the final version – we have prison sentences for Yeshiva boys right now, and even MK Lipman says that that is ‘not helpful.’ So what has he accomplished?) It was not to Yair Lapid’s proposals which preceded those mitigations. Knesset Speaker Edelstein thought the budget gezeiros even afterwards were too much and tried to get Lapid to remove them, but Lapid insisted they were his ‘degel’ and would not do so.

    If R’ Dov Lipman would like to run his agenda honestly, let him lead Tov in the next election on a national platform and see what happens.

    Shua Cohen:
    Joining Yesh Atid – which has on its platform and would have implemented *in practice* a draft of all 18 year old GIRLS – is not a kiddush shem shamayim. Hotzaas Shem Ra on the Yeshivos is not kiddush shem shamayim. And giving the impression – by poorly chosen words and worse timing – that Yeshiva boys, of all people, should clean streets during their vacation, is not a kiddush shem shamayim.

    I think RDL’s assessment of Yair Lapid is indicative of naivete. Rav Brim, Rav Melamed, Dr. Kadman, and Yehoram Gaon are not politicians. At the very least, one must concede that their reactions show that Yair Lapid *comes across* as a Charedi-hater who is waging war against the Torah world. Is that not something that should concern RDL in his attempts to be mekadesh shem shamayim?

    [How in the world does RDL take credit for the first Charedi Hesder Yeshiva? If anything, coercion will kill such institutions! (Not to mention that the legal status of Hesder is now very shaky.)]

    It is also important to note a critical point, and failure to understand it misses the crux of the issue. Charedim in Israel have numerous sociological ills that need to be addressed and solved, but the way to do it is not by hacking at ideological lynchpins. As a prime example, the Charedi leaders from Rav Steinman on down, and the majority of Charedi rank and file in Israel, fully believe that Yeshiva Ketanah with no Limudei Chol is the דרך המסורה מדור דור as to how to educate one’s children, and there simply can never be any compromise on this issue. It is unhelpful and plain wrong to portray the Charedi politicians or askanim as the root of all evil on this issue, and if only they were gone the Charedim would all go to Maarava-type institutions tomorrow. You and RDL might think their approach incorrect, but this is a long-standing ideological debate and forcing the issue by way of legislation and budget cuts is tantamount, in the eyes of the Charedi rabbinic leadership and masses, to redifas hadas via the State. An elementary understanding of Israeli Charedi society yields that it is hard to conjure up a bigger red flag than that, not to mention a sure-fire way to push the moderate Charedim into the waiting embrace of Satmar-type ideology.

    The key to the solution lies in unraveling the ideological non-negotiables from the sociological ills and dealing with them *within* the given ideological framework. Anything else – which includes Yesh Atid’s overall approach, supported by RDL – is doomed to failure.

    I will be withdrawing from the debate at this time as well.

  41. SA says:

    One of the problems with understanding what’s going on in Israel is that there are too many issues that IN THEORY could be separated, but in practice are not, and neither side is willing or able to make these fine distinctions.

    For example, if Yesh Atid had declared outright “We are not going to argue your right to educate your children as you choose [e.g. Yeshiva Ketanah with no limudei chol]. We as a society, however, will no longer fund it, not least because we can no longer afford it.” What would the reaction be?

    Because so much of education, including Haredi education, is state-funded, Haredi politicians would react to this exactly as they are reacting now — as if these were gezeiros shmad, even if they would be allowed to run their institutions exactly as they saw fit with no outside inspection or interference. Because then they would have to fund-raise ferociously and/or charge higher tuitions, which parents might not be able to pay unless parents (including more kollel men) went out to work to pay them. They might also have to consolidate institutions to reduce costs, which may erase some private fiefdoms. Whatever the concerns, the ideology and the economics are hard to separate.

    It’s the same with the draft. “We will not draft yeshiva students. However, we will no longer fund those yeshivos whose students don’t serve.” Here the ideological and economic issues are even harder for both sides to separate, and there are also legal concerns, because such a decision would probably not survive a High Court challenge on grounds of inequality.

    In fact, the non-Haredi community is also have a hard time deciding what it*really* wants. Does it *really* want Haredim in the army because it believes they should defend the nation? Does it just want them in the army so that afterwards they can work so that society will no longer have to bear their welfare costs? Is there a sinister element here (well, if they serve in the army and work, then ipso facto they will no longer be Haredi)? Probably among some, but I doubt that the majority of people are thinking along those lines.

    Thus, it would difficult, if not impossible, to “unravel the ideological non-negotiables from the sociological ills,” as Rabbi Beckerman suggests, because it doesn’t look as if either side can agree to that, especially when throwing IDF service into the ideological and economic mix makes it even more complicated.

  42. Nechama says:

    Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for again having the courage to write about a topic that is usually swept under the rug.

    I live in Yerushalayim, and have become increasingly uncomfortable in my own chareidi skin. I used to (naively?) believe what I was told about the kanoim being a tiny minority of rabble-rousers, despite the fact that I see them all the time, and see the damage they cause. I’ve since realized how much more prevalent the attitude of kanous is, and how easily the chareidi media brushes aside violence as a fringe problem, while creating a backdrop for that very violence, with its own vicious coverage.

    If not for people like you, who do not dredge up 100 years of Zionist wrongs to prove our own self-destructing sinas chinam, who do not minimize the problem or compare it to ‘greater secular violence’, who do not justify the increasing violence coming from our community as incidental, if not for you, I would find it impossible to consider myself chareidi anymore.

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