Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Meah Shearim Mob

There is an op-ed in Ha’aretz about the mob violence in Meah Shearim . Nothing really new there. Here is the opening paragraph:

Soldiers patrolling through the streets of Mea She'arim during Passover week found themselves in a situation they generally encounter only on the Palestinian side of the border. Local residents, the hard core of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community, began hurling stones at them. The soldiers were at a loss. The police were called in and were greeted by similar violence. The assailants explained to the ultra-Orthodox media that the army was using the neighborhood to simulate operations in an inner-city environment, and the Haredim didn't want to let the authorities ruin the holiday atmosphere.

The article goes on to say that there is hardly a week that goes by without some sort of violence these days. And gives examples of other incidents of violence. It then criticizes the police for treating these people with ‘kid gloves’ because of Charedi politics.

Unfortunately this op-ed was written by Shahar Ilan a secular Jew. This means that it will be totally discounted as anti Charedi bias by Charedim. He will be labeled a Rasha – an evil person. But is that fair? Is it fair to call someone a Rasha just because he tells you an unpleasant truth? I don’t think so. He may or may not be a Rasha - but he does speak the truth. I have said virtually the same things he has. And so have some Charedi writers.

This article should be added to the many others that have reported on this issue and it should not be discounted. The truth exists where ever you find it. Even in dark clouds like this one.

But in every cloud there is a silver lining. The increase in violence increases media attention to it. That makes the public more aware. Maybe all this negative publicity will spur action. If not by the Charedi world - then maybe by the police. At least I hope it does.

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