I’m told by some sources that I’ve been unfair to the Ultra-Orthodox, and that I am using the sins of one insane man to tar the whole of that community, and even all Israel.
One man? One insane man?
Let’s look at what has happened. Start with the “Price Tag” movement that has burned mosques and defaced gravestones in Muslim and Christian cemeteries. One man? He really gets around. Shin Beit, the Israeli FBI, has at times estimated that there are at least hundreds involved (perhaps 3,000), and at other times put the really committed perpetrators in the dozens, highly organized into cells, with hundreds of supporters. Boy, that one crazy guy sure fooled the elite cops.
Of course, he and his many clones are publicly rejected by all authorities, including leading rabbis. But to what extent are they pursued and punished? Very little. Oh, but why should we think that this has anything to do with very religious Jews?
Here is why.
The Shin Beit itself, last September, asked the Israeli government to withhold funds from group of Yeshivas called Od Yosef Hai, whose Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira has been filmed standing by in a nearby Arab village while his students stoned the inhabitants. He is a co-author of Torat Hamelekh, which provides a religious justification for Jews to kill non-Jews under various circumstances.
According to Haaretz, the Shin Beit says that it has “accumulated a lot of information about the involvement of students at Od Yosef Hai and Dorshei Yehudcha [the yeshiva high school] in illegal, subversive and violent activities against Arabs and the security forces. The information indicates that the yeshiva’s rabbis and leaders are aware of some of these activities, but do not prevent them, and even enable students to take part in them.” The quote is from the Shin Beit itself.
The majority of rabbis in Israel, including many settler rabbis, condemn these attacks. But the idea that they are completely independent of rabbinical encouragement is naïve at best. The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a young Orthodox Jewish fanatic in 1995 was easily traced to the influence of his rabbis, who consistently and publicly compared Rabin to Hitler.
A year earlier, Baruch Goldstein, MD, who went to Yeshiva of Flatbush in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, became a mass murder—really resembling Hitler’s minions—when he shot and killed 29 Palestinians at prayer in a mosque in Hebron. He was wearing his Israeli army uniform. It was Purim. He was inspired by Rabbi Meir Kahane, a racist fanatic who advocated transferring all Arabs out of Israel. At Goldstein’s funeral, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin said that a million Arabs are “not worth a Jewish fingernail.”
Mass-murder-Goldstein’s grave, near Meir Kahane Memorial Park—yes, there is a Meir Kahane Memorial Park—became a shrine visited by 10,000 people. It was dismantled by the Israeli army in 1999, but veneration and celebration of this killer continued. In 2010, Jewish fanatics in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were video’d on Purim singing this song to their Arab neighbors: “Dr. Goldstein, there is none other like you in the world. Dr. Goldstein, we all love you… he aimed at terrorists’ heads, squeezed the trigger hard, and shot bullets, and shot, and shot.”
Wow. That one guy really does get around. According to the mayor of Beit Shemesh, the abusive treatment of Naama Margolese, the eight-year-old daughter of an Orthodox (but not Ultra-Orthodox, or haredi) family there, because her long skirt wasn’t long enough, involved fifty people. Gee, those cameras really got fooled by that insane loner jumping around and looking like he was all those different abusers.
And of course, the videos of crowds of black-hatted men demonstrating to get women off their sidewalks, the multiple men abandoning buses because women won’t move to the rear, and the rabbis who threaten to quit the army because their precious religious soldier-boys are not allowed to shirk their duty in order to avoid hearing women sing in official ceremonies—all of them are apparitions of that one crazy ultra-religious guy.
Tell me more. And when you’re done, if you really believe it, I’ve got a nice bridge I can sell you wholesale, not far from the neighborhood where that savage murderer Goldstein and I both happened to grow up.
One of my critics, “Anoness,” tells me I need to pay attention to the philosophy of “Bein Adam L’Chavero.” She (or he) means I should protect my fellow Jews whatever they do.
But that isn’t what “Bein Adam L’Chavero” means. It means, “Between a Man and His Friend.” That friend, for me, would be Yitzhak Rabin, Naama Margolese, and the 29 Palestinians murdered at their prayers by Baruch Goldstein. Not the ultra-religious Jews who are trying to spring Rabin’s murderer from prison, or the numerous black-hatted haredi men who spat on Naama and other girls, or the Judaeo-fascists who see Goldstein as a hero.
They and fanatics like them destroyed the Jewish state in Roman times, and they may destroy it again.