Monday, May 30, 2011

As I Was Saying…

From Ha'aretz:

Police are reluctant to enter the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She'arim because of residents' violence, a police spokesman said during a recent court hearing over the remand of a neighborhood resident.

A police official said in court Thursday that the reason the police had not arrested a wanted man for more than a month, despite knowing where in Mea She'arim he was, was that every time they go into the neighborhood police property is damaged and they do not want unnecessary confrontations.

Police issued an arrest warrant on April 13 for Shalom Baruch Roset, who is accused of assault, property damage and making threats.

The official said police have "often tried to detain suspects for questioning" who belong to the same group as Roset, with the result that "we were attacked and the station chief sustained a head injury as a result of a stone thrown at him."

He added that efforts to send police patrols into the neighborhood have "failed."
Roset was arrested last week, an hour after arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport, where he was planning to catch a flight to England. Police asked for Roset to be held in custody for six days.

Roset, 54, is considered to be one of the leaders of a radical Neturei Karta faction in Mea She'arim known by some as the Sicarii, after the Jewish zealots who fought the Romans in Jerusalem around the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.

Roset's group has a running dispute with the Gur Hasidim, who they say are trying to push them out of the "Warsaw homes," 150 19th-century homes in the neighborhood that are designated for Jews from Poland.

Roset was arrested over what police said was a leading role in an April 13 fight that has come to be known as the Warsaw Homes Pogrom, in which a group of Hasidim broke into a home, destroyed the kitchen, poured kerosene on a 1-year-old girl and tried to light the home on fire.

Several violent altercations followed the incident.

I recently wrote a post on my main blog expressing my view that certain types of Chasidim are virtually consumed with violence and that they will often use fire in service to that end. After reading this news report - need I say more?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thank You Mr. President

I would like to thank the President of the United States for his statements last week with respect to Israel. He is truly a friend in ways he could not possibly have imagined. And he probably didn't imagine them when he made those statements.

Last week he said what had never been said before by an American President: Israel must move back to the pre 67 lines. (He added that land swaps would accommodate border settlements built during the period between then and now).

I had written this off as meaningless rhetoric that added nothing new to the conversation. He suggested offering Palestinians something that has already offered to Palestinians by Israel itself almost 10 years ago. But it was the first time the words '67 lines' were said.

That has opened a firestorm of support for Israel (mostly from the President's political and ideological opponents) the likes of which I haven't seen since... well 1967. (See for example here.) But never in such a unified and singular fashion coming fast and furious. It actually makes me 'Kvell' with pride in my countryman. And for the first time in a long time the critics included some media pundits who are usually on the other side of the issue.

I loved it. If only it can be sustained.

This is not to say that the President didn't have his supporters. He did. Nor am I even critical of the support he's getting. Like I said, he hadn't really added anything that wasn't there in theory already. But still... support of this magnitude is very hard to come by.

In any case - thank you Mr. President.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011