There is something rotten in the State of Israel: the Haredi dance while people die!

(The opening line is taken from William Shakespeare Hamlet. The line is spoken by Marcellus, a guard, who talks to his philosophical comrade, Horatio, saying, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (Act-I, Scene-IV). The reason for saying this is just not that Denmark [in this case read Israel] is facing dirt. It implies that the situation of Denmark [Israel] is similar to a fish that rots from head to tail, or in other words, it shows that everything is not good at top of the political hierarchy.)

And yes, while it is erroneous to tar a whole community, the public face of most Haredim appears to be anti-Zionist, anti-elected government. While there are exceptions, most come across as wanting to milk as much as possible from central government while giving nothing in return? They treat the state as if it must support their chosen lifestyle, all the while they heap scorn and disdain on the government, government institutions, and all that do not agree with them.

A couple of notable exceptions come to mind, the Chabad-Lubavitch community and Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the inspiration behind and leader of the ZAKA rescue group.

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, following the untimely death of his mother, openly accused some Haredi rabbis of “having blood on their hands”. https://www.timesofisrael.com/blood-on-rabbis-hands-haredi-emergency-chief-says-after-moms-covid-death/ Now, with the sad news that his father has succumbed to COVID19, can we confirm that many Haredi rabbis, while not being guilty of murder, could and maybe should be charged in a court of law with manslaughter. At the very least with the dereliction of their duty as “so-called community leaders”, and their compliance in the deaths of so many people. The question begging to be asked “how do they sleep at night knowing they have blood on their hands”

My view on religion – all religions is well-known, having written widely on the subject. I see religion as a man-made phenomenon, devised by man to enslave man.

Winston Churchill, more than 100 years ago summed up religion as “counter to reason, at the most, it a largely useless institution”.

Of course, people should be free to follow whatever religious path they choose, but religion can not, must not supersede the State, and what the State stands for.

In the latter, it is not only the Haredim that feel Israel must adhere to Jewish orthodoxy. Not for the first time, MK Bezalel Smotrich stoked flames of religious infighting between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements when he blasted “Reform Judaism as a fake religion” - https://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-home-mk-reform-judaism-is-a-fake-religion/

This from the man, who if he had his way, Israel would be governed by biblical law. And states openly that “we need to make sure that we do not give formal recognition to all kinds of streams that are not part of Judaism”. He went on “one can love, one can embrace, one can feel responsible for all the people of Israel. In the State of Israel — we cannot give a foothold to the distortions of Judaism”.

It would be interesting to know how the Haredim view Smotrich? For that matter, how they view Hagit Moshe, recently elected leader of the (right-wing religious Zionist ) Jewish Home party, given their contempt for women in religion and politics.

Let’s crystal-ball gaze for a moment and pretend that by some miracle Naftali Bennet and his Yamina party, which is relatively liberal on the matter of religion-and-state, did, with his wider appeal to center voters, manage to form a government. Let’s go even more out on a limb. Pretend for a moment that Yair Lapid managed to form a government – WOW! It’s a good guess that Smotrich and his far more conservative Kahanist Otzma Yehudit associates would not be happy with either option and may well choose to go into opposition.

The question is, what about The Three Stooges and their communities? It’s a good guess that despite their dislike of Bennett and their opening loathing of Lapid, they would do what they always do, namely, “follow the money”.

The good people of Israel need once and for all to understand that these parasites, these bloodsuckers are interested in one thing and one thing only “money”.

And yes, I know that I am painting all Haredim with the same brush which is wrong.

Israeli society needs to disengage from ultra-Orthodox”. The headline is from a recent Ynet article, which is worth reading. https://www.ynetnews.com/article/B1GSRbmUw?utm_source=ynetnews.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email&utm_term=B1GSRbmUw

The Haredim – again not all – appear to despise, perhaps even hate the State of Israel. How else can you account for their recent actions, for example: “Police raid Bnei Brak following attack on officers enforcing lockdown” https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/police-raid-bnei-brak-following-attack-on-officers-enforcing-lockdown-656324

There are daily news articles, and TV and radio reports on this issue. (Certain) groups/sects of Haredim have zero respect for the rule of law or the police that are enforcing that law. I can't in my wildest dreams imagine what it is like for an Israeli police officer, performing his/her duty, to be called a “Nazi”?

A recent newspaper headline screamed “Netanyahu vows action after ultra-Orthodox mob protesting lockdown injures cop” “PM says ‘we will act with a heavy hand’ after policewoman hurt in Bnei Brak; incident comes amid near-daily clashes over enforcement of virus rules”

The Prime Minister is caught between the pre-viable rock and a hard place. If he does not condemn certain elements of the Haredi community, he stands to lose votes from his supporters. Equally, if he does act with a heavy hand he stands to lose the support of The Three Stooges. What to do? The Prime Minister proves yet again when it comes to the Haredim, he has no balls. He is prepared, in fact, happy to sell out the country to ensure the continued support of The Three Stooges and thus ensure his self-preservation. Bibi wins, the country loses.

"'The night of Jan. 21 will be etched into our collective memory as one of the lowest points in Haredi-Israeli relations and the closest we have ever gotten (which is still thankfully very far from) to a civil war.’’ So wrote Avishay Ben Haim, who laid the blame squarely at the feet of the media. Am I mistaken in thinking that Dr. Ben Haim is also part of the media? While in his opinion piece he makes several salient points, should he not remember that people that live in glass houses should not throw stones! https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/in-bnei-brak-police-did-the-medias-bidding/

Ben Haim’s above reference to a civil war is, unfortunately, a very real issue. Many, myself included, feel that certain elements of the Haredi community are dragging us to the edge of the crater and that we, with them, will topple into the abyss, wiping out secular, democratic Israel. It is no secret that amongst many of the Haredim and other ultra-rightwing religious elements, that they wish for a Jewish state governed by Jewish law, and that democracy is for the goyem.

Last evening I cringed watching MK Yitzhak Pindros of the United Torah Judaism party being interviewed on KAN, channel 11 news. He appeared to be unable to string together coherent sentences in response to questions asked. He returned time after time to the notion that the police alone were to blame for the violence.

The gentleman needs to remember that the police have a defined structure from the chief of police down. By contrast, the Haredi community is made up of various groups, sects, each one controlled/dominated by a rabbi or group of rabbis. It is these rabbis who are to blame, they need to understand the challenge that faces Israel and the world and act accordingly and tell/demand that their followers act so. These rabbis have blood on their hands, they have desecrated the idea that nothing is more important than life.

I caught this morning part of a conversation on the radio. The man being interviewed replied to a question, which I did not hear, that “Haredi families have 6, 8, 10, 12 children”, it’s impossible to keep them indoors. When the interviewer pointed that other families were coping, the response was something along the lines of “that is different’’. I came away from the snatch of the interview that I heard with the feeling, that the value of a Haredi child is worth less than the value of a child from a secular household. Can it be that the Haredim place so little value on a child's life that they are prepared to endanger the life of the child by sending them to school?

Throughout his long life, Winston Churchill brought forth many utterances that have time and again proved true. Reading this morning Yaacov Litzman’s comments concerning last night's riot in Bnei Brak, that “next thing, the ministry of defense will order the airforce in”, reminded me of one of those exclamations. “If you look at the complete spectrum of politics, there is at one end fools and the at the other crackpots”. Litzman’s comment proves the point. In place of conciliatory words, this little man utters what is a stupid remark which clearly shows his contempt towards the police and the government, and the people of Israel.

For those readers who don’t know or don’t remember, Litzman is under indictment for obstruction of justice during his tenure as Minister of Health. Litzman, it is reported, bullied, threatened, intimidated mental health doctors, and others to declare alleged sex abuser Malka Leifer mentally unfit to face justice.

A rhetorical question. Would Litzman have done the same had the accused been a less religious or secular Jewish woman? What about if the woman was Israeli Muslim or Christian? We know the answer, it is resounding no! Litzman pulled string because Malka Leifer was Haredi. By the way, her lawyer - should she be found guilty, which seems likely - wants her to serve her sentence in an Israeli prison at our expense.

I had wanted to evoke the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) and use this rant to call for the ‘’boycott and leveling of sanctions” against the Haredi community. However, I realized that was wrong if no other reason than it is a collective action against the whole community when in fact it would appear that a sizeable minority is responsible for the mayhem caused.

The solution is twofold. One rests with the ballot box, the other is a form of separation. Last week the B'Tselem organization called Israel an apartheid state, which I do think it is. Leaving that issue aside, I can however see advantages to some form of separation of the Haredi communities in their various locations.

The formal separation will allow them to live their lives as they see fit without encroaching on the majority of Israelis who view them with a certain degree of derision. They can maintain their schools, health facilities, social and religious framework, and support services. Collect their own taxes, maintain their infrastructure without reference to the central government, have their own police force and support services.

Of course, as the community as a whole does not feel that they owe any allegiance to the State of Israel, the state, in turn, is under no obligation to provide any service to these communities, nor financial support.

A familiar cry before the American War of Independence was "No taxation without representation".

I would offer the Haredi community a new slogan from democratic Israel “There is no representation without full participation”.

The coming election, now less than 60 days away, could be a turning point in democratic Israel/Haredi relations. I don’t however think it will. The situation will I believe go from bad to worse and indeed civil unrest is a distinct possibility.

For myself, currently, the only politician who appears to have the balls to stand up to the Haredim is Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party. So, for the fourth time in two years, I will I suspect be voting for Lieberman in the fervent hope that he will play a “king-making role” and can help form a government without the Haredim. Let them sit in the opposition for a few years or more. Maybe, although I doubt it, they will learn to appreciate all that modern, democratic Israel has to offer.

All rights reserved to Murray Lewis Freeman

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