An Anguished Question


Israeli media are reporting that there was another incident of violence against a woman for refusing to move to the back of the bus.

I have no way of knowing whether the story is true, in whole or in part. Past history, however, would predict that there is some kernel of reprehensible truth, no matter how much it may have been embellished by the haredi-haters in the media. My spies in Ramat Beit Shemesh-Alef (the next community over from Ramat Beit Shemesh-Bet where the deed was done, if it was done) are hard at work, but I don’t have verifiable corroboration of the charges that five haredi youth assaulted a frum woman and the IDF soldier sitting next to her. Reportedly, police efforts were then thwarted by a crowd of supporters who came to their aid, who also disabled the tires on the police vehicle.

Verified or not, I can tell you who is interested in the story, and who picked it up right away: the Muslim media. I have seen with my own eyes the output of one Muslim listserv under the appropriate enough title “5 ultra orthodox Jews beat the hell out of woman in public.”

When the Neturei Karta rashaim gave succor to Ahmadinejad, there was a huge show of revulsion from all – and unexpected – parts of the community. Even those who shared NK’s radical anti-Zionist platform drew the line at offering aid to the enemy. There is no reason to believe that the Muslims who circulated the story are our enemies. But there is also no way that the story will not propagate itself virally, and quickly fall into the hands of our enemies, who will joyfully point out to the world that in the much-vaunted Israeli democracy, elements every bit as primitive as themselves have free rein.

Ahmadinejad may very well be bluffing. Others, however, are involved in a daily, sustained war against our country and our people. How long will we tolerate people who strengthen the hands of our enemies, hands reaching out at this very moment to murder and maim, R”L?

Some of the citizens of Ramat Beit Shemesh have organized a petition campaign, condemning all forms of violence. They have some support from their rabbinate, but not enough. Perhaps it is time for the rest of us to get involved. Perhaps when meshulachim from RBS come knocking at our doors – and they certainly will – perhaps we precondition our donations on the heads of those mosdos signing on to the petition.

If we don’t, are we as well aiding and abetting those who are poised to destroy us?

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7 years 11 months ago

On a related note., some of you may have seen the New York Times video on the internat about Ramat Bet Shemesh Alef and Bet and the issue of what, for want of a better word might be called “not so gentle religious suasion.” a shop keeper is shown as saying that in his pizza store named after America he uses the twin towers as a symbol because many chareidim woulld object to the notion of personal freedom and liberty that the statue of liberty implies. Personally, I don’t think that American jews need to be embarrassed to believe in the virtue of democratic institutions, and I am disturbed that such an idea is taken for granted. I guess a lot of what we have been discussing here relates to this idea.

RBS A resident
7 years 11 months ago

It took me a few days of asking around to find anyone who saw evidence of the original news story. I got two responses:

(1) Someone who drove through RBS B later that evening and described it as a “mess” – the garbage dumped in the streets as is typical of an ad-hoc demonstration.

(2) Someone saw the bus pulled over by police, but was walking into a nearby store to do some shopping. When he came out (say 10 minutes later) the police were interviewing two women, and a soldier was having a yelling match with some charedim gathered around.

#2 seems to cast aspersions on the newspaper descriptions of the woman and soldier “beaten up” (as opposed to unpleasantly harassed) and police tires slashed, and perhaps make the rioters who helped the bus riders escape a bit more dubious as well.

Unfortunately this kind of news travels so quickly, that it’s nearly impossible to refute or clarify later.

joel rich
7 years 11 months ago

A young man serious about his avodat hashem.

Bob Miller
7 years 11 months ago

OK, Joel Rich, what’s your definition of “Ben Torah”?

joel rich
7 years 11 months ago

OK, try this then (although saying one can’t answer without a specific definition of TUM sounds more like it comes from the presidential debate forum)- is YU an acceptable Yeshiva for a ben torah.