Fire is a wonderful photograph, which is why the Jewish holiday of Omer is a very photogenic holiday. And of all the photos that could be taken, and of all the lightings in Miron and the bonfires in the rest of the country, this year the media photographers were looking for two events: the burning of Israeli flags by ultra-Orthodox in Mea Shearim, and Eliezer Berland’s participation in the lighting in Miron .
And as every year before Memorial Day, when photographers lie in wait to catch an ultra-Orthodox who does not stand for the siren – the same is true this year in Lag B’Omer. And even if they did not manage to capture a successful frame this year – what the photos themselves did not do fueled the hatred, and the fire flared up even more fiercely. And the photos are running around on the Internet : See? These are the ultra-orthodox.
All the research will not help, proving that within the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, which numbers over a million and a quarter people, most of whom define themselves as “very Zionist” or “Zionist” – the number of the extremist Satmar Hasidim and their anti-Zionist ilk, those who wave PLO flags and burn Israeli flags – does not exceed a few thousand.
The data proving that a huge majority of all ultra-Orthodox detest Berland and do not see him as a “rabbi” but as a despicable sex offender will not help. For anyone who wants to hate Haredim, Berland is a flag. And it seems that the number of seculars who hate the ultra-Orthodox, who profit from the existence of such a Berland (and several other rabbis who were convicted of serious sexual offenses) is many times greater than the number of his foolish followers, who continue to see him as righteous, even though they heard about his abominable actions.
There are two open wounds in the ultra-Orthodox’s relationship with the State of Israel. Most ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the army, and only about 55% of ultra-Orthodox men work. These are chronic wounds, since the founding of the state. However, recently, against the background of the establishment of the right-wing government, the budgets promised to the ultra-Orthodox, the legal legislation and the intention to enact a new “recruitment law” – the wounds have opened. And they bleed.
And even though these are two chronic diseases – they serve as fuel for the fire of hatred of the ultra-Orthodox, which is now burning with all its might. Phrases that were once directed by the worst anti-Semites towards the Jews in general – have become legitimate huge slogans in demonstrations, and coins are passed to the merchant for the purpose of recruiting opponents of the legal changes that the government wants to enact, and against the government in general.
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This week I read Tovia Tannenboom’s book “Orthodox and good for him” (published by Sela Meir). Tannenboom, who became famous in his previous books “Get a Jew”, “I sleep in Hitler’s room”, “Lies that everyone tells” and “How to tame a Jew”, returns in his new book to the world of his childhood and youth.
He is a member of an ultra-Orthodox family who grew up in Bnei Brak. However, when he began to ask his masters subversive questions about the essence of the faith – he was recognized as a “kufir”, and soon he distanced himself from his religion and community, also from the country. Tenenboom lives in the USA and Germany, from where he fights anti-Semitism, supporters of the Palestinians and crazy Western progress.
He recently discovered that he misses home, his roots, and set out on a journey to study ultra-orthodox Judaism in Israel. He lived for several months in Mea Shearim and Bnei Brak. He spoke to Hassidim and Lithuanians, rebbes and yeshivas, macherim, crooks and tzaddiks, women and men, and asked them difficult questions:
Why does the God of the Jews have no name? And why are men not allowed to look at women, but women are allowed to look at men? And why do they take Streimel? Why pray over graves? And what can the Rebbe discover in the “Kvital”? (a note on which the Hasidic writes his name and his mother’s name and is presented to the Rabbi, often with a donation. Spoiler: he cannot discover anything).
“Haredi and good for him” is an entertaining and waiting book. And even though Tannenboom is very critical of strange customs that have become sacred, against the reign of terror ruled by certain Hasidic courts (Gor, for example) and against the PLO flags and blatant anti-Zionist slogans covering the walls in Mea Shearim – he never ceases to love these Jews, love of soul.
Precisely from the great love and precisely from the point of view of the one who left the question and left the religion (but did not forget Yiddish, which serves as his entry ticket to all these communities, even the most closed ones) – the wonderful possibility arises to condemn the evasion from military service, from life when the woman is the breadwinner and not to hate. Make fun of PLO flag painters and understand why they externalize their opposition to the Zionist state and its institutions (spoiler: in most cases it is about money).
Tannenboom knows that only a minority of the “blacks” are “netori karta”. And also in Hasids that practice according to rigid and intolerable rules in which, in Gor Hasids, for example, one does not call a woman by her name – the phenomena of femicide are not recognized at all.
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The followers of the late Rebbe Aharon Rata are referred to as “Rabbi Aharlech”. These are the followers of the history of Aharon and Pelagia. They are easily identified by their striped clothing. Blue-white or black-white and on holidays and celebrations – golden-white. They are extreme opponents of Zionism and refuse to receive support from the State of Israel or social security payments.
Anyone who incites against these “Orthodox” on the grounds that with one hand they are raking in taxpayers’ money and living at the expense of the state and with the other hand burning its flags – do not know what they are talking about. They generalize the appetite. Because it’s so easy to hate.
Those followers are anti-Zionist, but will never leave the country. Even when Israel is ruled by a government whose feelings haunt them. They came here before Zionism, and they will not learn to love the Land of Israel from her.
The hatred of the ultra-Orthodox, which existed since the early days of Zionism, against the background of the ultra-Orthodox opposition to Herzliian Zionism and socialist Zionism, is now flourishing. Not only because most ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the army; Not only because only some of them work; Not only because the secular public feels that it is carrying them, security-wise and economically, on its shoulders and is tired of them, but, and perhaps most of all – because with their power Benjamin Netanyahu has a government.
We remember that most left-wing governments in Israel included religious parties, and for long periods we relied on them. But now, when the opposition to the Netanyahu government is intensifying, but the legal reform has been put on a deep freeze and some say it is completely dead, the opponents of the government need a flag that will carry the many who took to the streets against the reform and now may return home.
That’s why the “Bnei Ha’or” labeled the ultra-Orthodox dressed in black as the perfect demon. A foreigner in his dress and customs. A wonderful enemy. And politicians who live on hate ride this murky wave. After all, if they had used just a few of these expressions of hatred against the Arabs – the Supreme Court would have disqualified them from running for the Knesset because of racism. But against the ultra-Orthodox – allowed.
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The oncology day hospitalization unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem is a difficult place. The patients are trapped in themselves, in their pain, in the severe side effects of the chemotherapy slowly dripping into their veins. On Sunday this week there were several such patients in one of the rooms of this unit, including an Arab, an American, an ultra-Orthodox woman, a left-wing professor and an elderly Filipina. They and their companions.
Suddenly, four men appeared in the room: two striped “Rabbi Aharlech” and two Karlin followers wearing long black caps, armed with two guitars, a clarinet and a saxophone. They smiled warmly, asked permission and played a series of catchy Hasidic tunes. The patients were shaken. smile By the third tune, the music had already melted those present and tears came to everyone’s eyes.
It is easy to hate images from a distance: “flag burners”, “despicable sex offenders”, “parasites”. I wish none of the haters would be forced to go to such places where it is simply impossible to hate. only to love.