Anger Over Ultra-Orthodox Freeloading and Power of Minority “Kingmakers” Could Destroy Israel

It’s Thursday night at the Mahane Yehuda market in west Jerusalem, where the music is thumping and the drinks are flowing. When a bottle breaks, the crowds erupt with a chorus of “mazel tov”, or congratulations.

But as some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in traditional black suits, side locks, and thick skullcaps pass by, Ad Shamsi’s face sours. “What do they have to do here?” asks the 56-year-old Jewish Israeli, who is kicking off the weekend at an outside bar.

This is a glimpse of the intra-religious tension that in part led Israel’s parliament last week to dissolve itself and hold a fresh election – just seven weeks after the last one – following a deadlock between two rightwing factions at odds over a proposal to draft the ultra-Orthodox into Israel’s military.

Since Israel’s founding, the ultra-Orthodox – also called the Haredim – have been exempted from military service, which is mandatory for all Jewish Israeli school leavers. The various ultra-Orthodox sects see it as a religious commandment to only study Jewish texts and separate themselves from modern society. They consequently receive government subsidies to study rather than work, along with general social services and benefits relating to unemployment, poverty and their large numbers of children.

Today the ultra-Orthodox, an umbrella term for different sects and communities, are 10% of Israel’s population of more than 8.5 million – and are growing fast.

They have strategically cultivated a role as kingmakers in Israeli politics, making or breaking coalitions based on which politicians best support their interests.

The military symbolises the antithesis of traditional ultra-Orthodox principles. It represents time away from studying, a mixing of genders against religious prohibitions and a vast melting pot in which young people are taught to be a certain kind of Israeli. For average Jewish Israelis, to be a good citizen is to serve in the military. (Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20% of the population, are exempt from service because of the ongoing conflict.)

Shamsi is an avid supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, and his rightwing, national religious policies. He wears a kippa, or Jewish head covering, thinks shops should close on the Sabbath in keeping with strict Jewish law, and supports Israel’s presence in the occupied Palestinian Territories. He lives in Ramot, an increasingly ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem considered an illegal settlement under international law.

He has no patience with the ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not serve in the military yet receive subsidies from the government, all while not actually studying — in his mind epitomised by the young Haredi men coming to check out the secular bar scene on a Thursday night. “Why do I need to do three years [in the military] and him not?” Shamsi asks. “Why do I need to pay for everything and not them?”

A few minutes’ walk from the bars of Mahane Yehuda is Mea She’arim, historically the most intense ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem. Here, men dress in various styles of black hats and suits, depending on their sect, and walk fast, so as not to appear to be wasting time away from studying. Plastered on walls along narrow streets are posters listing deaths and other notices – a key source of information for communities that shun the internet.

A sign near a bustling supermarket informs passers-by: “It is forbidden to participate in elections.”

Some ultra-Orthodox sects do not recognise the state of Israel, saying the Bible prescribes that it can only come into existence with the coming of the Messiah. For others, there is a more pointed boycott of elections now in protest over what they see as the Haredi parties’ failure to be hardline enough on the issue of conscription.

 

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The Perfect Image of the Yeshiva System is Built on the Discarded Children, Not the Indoctrinated

The Yeshiva System’s ‘Perfect Image’ is Built on the Children It Discarded

 

Over and over throughout my time in yeshiva I heard this constant refrain, that we were better than the public schools because we had a higher graduation rate, and didn’t require drug screenings and metal detectors. And I believed it. I believed that the education I was getting was far better than whatever public school had to offer, and that I was intellectually and morally superior to my public school peers.

Then I grew up and realized that the world isn’t quite so simple.

I’m now seeing a resurgence of this ridiculous idea in the wake of the debate over private school curricular standards in New York State. Since that topic as a whole is very complicated and nuanced, and would require more than one post to fully flesh out my opinions, I just want to focus on this one specific aspect of it: The idea that yeshivas are academically and morally superior to public schools.

What really kicked my opinions of yeshivas in the teeth was when I started volunteering for Our Place, a drop-in center for Jewish kids at risk. Sure, I’d been abused for years in the frum world and had dropped out of yeshiva, but I still thought before that point that it was really just me and my life experiences, and that the image I had of the frum world in general, and the yeshiva world in particular, were sound and valid.

Just to give an example, the idea that yeshiva guys would do drugs or have sex before they were married was inconceivable to me. Mind you, I was 19 at the time, but I’d never really stepped out of my personal bubble. When I started volunteering at Our Place, reality came at me fast and hard. A lot of the kids there were regular drug users, some of whom were drug dealers, some of the kids were in gangs, some of them had knocked up their girlfriends, and so on. It was, to 19-year-old me, at once heartbreaking and eye-opening that this myth I had believed about the frum community and the people within it was nonsense.

More shocking even than that was the way a lot of the community seemed to interact with and feel about this group of boys. Many of them had been abused, the community had silenced it or covered it up, and when they inevitably started “acting out” as a result of their trauma, the community threw them out. One night I got curious and asked a bunch of the boys there whether they had been able to speak to their rebbeim about a range of topics. Unanimously they said no. They had been kicked out of yeshiva for asking. Then they’d been kicked out of the next yeshiva for asking, and so on. They were only taken seriously when they were finally sent to what they characterized as “babysitting/kiruv” yeshivas, where, since they were already at the rock bottom of the yeshiva world, the rebbeim had nothing to lose by engaging with them.

Why? Because at that point the yeshivas and rebbeim had nothing to lose. There was no longer any image of perfection to maintain because they were dealing with kids the community had rejected for threatening to shatter that illusion. Of course, by then these boys were soured on the community and yeshivas in general, and never lasted long in these places.

Every so often one of them would die. A suicide, or a drug overdose, or a gang-related killing. Not a word in the charedi press. Not a tear shed for them. Not a world written in remembrance. These boys die without so much as a peep from the community that excised them to retain this illusion of perfection, to prop up this ridiculous idea that we’re so much better than “them” both academically and morally.

Public schools don’t get to be selective with their student bodies, they have to work with whatever district they happen to be in. They have to find a way to make it work. If their district happens to be an a high-poverty, high-crime area, then they have to try to educate that population, even though the children in that district may have more immediate, existential priorities than learning their reading writing and ‘rithmetic.

Yeshivas, on the other hand, get to be selective. They get to choose what “types” of people they accept. They get to expel with impunity. They get to abuse, and cover up, and expunge the victim from their narrative, all in service of maintaining this lie that yeshivas are by definition better than public schools.

Setting aside the fact that many yeshivas actually do graduate and issue diplomas to students who aren’t, in fact, deserving of them by artificially inflating their grades, it’s very easy to claim academic superiority when you make your job easy by eliminating anyone who you think might disturb that illusion.

Comparing yeshivas to public schools in this regard is therefore disingenuous at best, and malicious at worst. The yeshiva world can’t have it both ways. It can’t refuse to serve, and in doing so deny the existence of, the kinds of children that public schools are compelled to and still maintain that they somehow by nature operate at a higher level. They don’t get to expel from school and ostracize from the community children who struggle with drugs, who have sex before marriage, who suffer from mental health issues, who come from broken, or abusive homes, who have questions of faith, and then claim that because they’ve washed their hands of such problems they are therefore better than the ones who haven’t.

The system is built on the blood of those discarded children, and that blood boils on the ground as these liars stand on their corpses to more loudly proclaim their lies.

 

Haredi Serial Sexual Abuser, After 11 Years of Abuse is Finally Charged – Israel

CHARGES FILED AGAINST HAREDI MAN WHO SYSTEMATICALLY ABUSED CHILDREN OVER 11 YEARS

After years of abusing young boys and girls in Bnai Brak, Modi’in Elit and Jerusalem, a 32-year-old Kollel student has been charged for his crimes, according to the ‘Bchedri Charedim’ news site. The case was built on various types of evidence, including security footage, DNA tests, and the testimony of witnesses and victims, as well as confessions by the suspect to several of the accusations. He also confessed to additional crimes other than those mentioned in the indictment, but no further evidence has been found to corroborate those events.

The investigation began after an attack on an eight-year-old girl in Bnei Brak around last Purim. After the attack, the girl told her parents, and her father tracked down security footage of the suspect, who was taken in for questioning. However, as it was impossible to identify the suspect conclusively from the tape, he was released after giving a DNA sample and fingerprints. It can take months for DNA kits to be tested at the police lab, but when the sample was finally checked, it matched two other open abuse cases: the sexual abuse of a five-year-old boy in April 2007 and abuse of a six-year-old girl in May 2014. In July 2017, the suspect was brought in for further questioning, where he confessed to three more crimes. However, evidence was found for only two of the incidents; one in Modi’in Elit in September 2007 and one in Bnei Brak in May 2014.

Two weeks later, Tel Aviv District Attorney Sarit Aronov filed an indictment against the accused for three of the allegations. She also requested that the man be kept in custody until the end of the proceedings, on the grounds that he continued to pose a danger to the public because he operated systematically and, according to his own testimony, continued to abuse children even after seeking treatment.

The incident in April 2007 took place in Jerusalem. A five-year-old boy went outside to play on a Shabbat afternoon. The suspect caught the boy in the stairwell of his apartment building where he abused the boy and left behind DNA evidence. He warned the boy not to tell anyone about what had happened and disappeared from the scene. The boy’s parents filed charges and the boy gave police a detailed description of the suspect.

Five months later, the suspect abused a six-year-old girl in Modi’in Elit. The girl was playing outside of her apartment building when the suspect found her and led her to the building’s storage units, where he savagely abused her. Again, the girl’s parents filed a complaint with the police. The mother told officers that the suspect had returned to the building several days after the attack with a flimsy cover story at which point the girl identified the man to her parents. Her father then followed the suspect and was able to identify him as M from Bnei Brak. The police then followed up with a member of the local “Tznius police”, who was able to confirm the suspect’s identity and told police he had sent the man to seek treatment. The suspect confirmed that he had been ordered by one of the city’s Rabbis to seek treatment at the “Shalom Banechah” organization and to write an apology letter to the victim.

In May 2014, the suspect attacked a seven-year-old girl in Bnei Brak. The girl was walking home when the suspect saw her and began to follow her. The girl went up to her third-floor apartment to find the house empty. She walked down the stairs, where the suspect waiting for her. He asked her name, told her that she smelled nice and inquired about the shampoo that she used. He then took her behind the building and abused her, and told her not to tell anyone before fleeing. The girl’s mother told investigators that she had seen the man leaving the building. The father successfully identified the man, confronted him, and told him to seek treatment. The suspect said that he then approached a Rabbi in the city who ordered him to start drug therapy, which was confirmed by medical documents. When the case reached police years later, the Rabbi gave testimony which was crucial to the indictment.

Four days later, the man abused another six-year-old girl outside her apartment building, after which he dressed her and gave her a one shekel coin as a reparation. DNA taken from the girl’s clothes confirmed the man’s identity, and her parents told investigators that the girl had told them immediately about the attack, and had shown them the coin.

The last attack took place in 2018. A girl and her younger sister were waiting for their mother at the entrance to their building when the man approached the older sister and told her she was sweet. He then began abusing her, but she cried loudly and resisted being undressed. When the man heard the girl’s mother coming down the stairs, he told the girl he was sorry and ran away. The mother found security footage of the man, from which her daughters were able to identify him. A family member of the suspect also confirmed his identity from the footage and told investigators that he had indeed been in Bnei Brak at the time of the attack. The suspect also confessed to the last allegations.

Israel, Elections and the Weight of Ultra-Orthodoxy and Radical Judaism

PM: No decision made regarding elections
Netanyahu emphasizes no discussions were held with ultra-Orthodox parties on draft bill, which threatens to dismantle coalition; ‘I hear they are asking about the elections’ date… The answer is that no decision was made regarding the matter.’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: CNN)
According to the High Court of Justice’s ruling, by December 2nd, the Knesset must pass a new law regulating the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox civilians to the IDF. The proposed draft bill threatens to dismantle the coalition and prompt early elections. Members of the United Torah Judaism party.

According to the High Court of Justice’s ruling, by December 2nd, the Knesset must pass a new law regulating the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox civilians to the IDF.

 

The proposed draft bill threatens to dismantle the coalition and prompt early elections.

The Council of Torah Sages of Degel HaTorah, the Lithuanian faction of the United Torah Judaism party, is expected to convene on Monday or in the coming days in order to decide whether the party’s opposition to the bill still stands, or if a compromise regarding the enlistment of the ultra-Orthodox population is possible.

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Fundamentalism of the Haredi Kind – The Haredi Brand of Hamas, Next they Start Teaching Children to Blow Themselves Up…

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http://www.jpost.com/israel-news/politics-and-diplomacy/kill-next-woman-soldier-you-see-says-flier-against-haredi-idf-service-494466

‘Kill next woman soldier you see’ reads flier against haredi IDF service

In a severe escalation of incitement against haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment in the IDF, a flyer was recently distributed in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods that called for the murder of women soldiers, IDF commanders and anyone involved in recruiting haredi men into the army.

Until now, the campaign against haredi IDF service has refrained from calling for violence, sufficing instead with severe incitement and vitriolic verbal attacks against haredi soldiers, officers and recruiters.

The flyer, however, is very different from materials normally printed and distributed by such groups. Some doubt has surfaced as to whether the flyers were part of the central anti-enlistment campaign because its wording is unlike that of standard pashkavillim, public notices commonly used in the haredi community.

It was also not professionally printed, as are regular pashkavillim and anti-haredi military service materials.

The flyer, titled “A Ruling of Jewish Law,” instructs young haredi men who are drafted into the IDF: “If they take you by force to the army of destruction, it is permitted for you and you must do the following actions: Take the rifle that you received and kill any woman soldier you come across so she merits [the precept of] ‘be killed instead of transgressing.’ Kill any [IDF] commander who holds you [in the army] by force. Kill anyone who drafts or entices or helps [to draft haredi men].”

The notice also said that soldiers should kill themselves in order to fulfill the precept of ‘be killed instead of transgressing,’ which in normative Jewish law applies only to instances in which one must murder, engage in forbidden sexual relationships or commit idolatry.

Police are investigating the source of the pamphlet, which incites to violence.

For the last four years, extremists in the ultra-Orthodox community have waged a campaign against haredi men serving in the IDF out of belief that the state is trying to eradicate their religious identity by secularizing them in the army.

Ultra-Orthodox IDF soldiers, officers and officials involved in encouraging haredi enlistment have frequently been subjected to verbal abuse, physical assault, harassment and even death threats. Flyers, posters and booklets inciting against haredi IDF enlistment have been published and disseminated in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.

A poster that is certainly part of the anti-enlistment campaign, which was disseminated earlier this week in Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh, promises as much as NIS 810 to haredi children if they verbally abuse haredi soldiers.

The poster lauded an incident last month in which a haredi child engaged in abusive behavior toward a haredi soldier and was detained by the police.

The poster noted that the child’s behavior was “in keeping with the Torah and the instructions of the leading rabbis who have ruled that one must disgrace [haredi soldiers].”

“Remember pure children! You are on the side of Torah, the side of God, you will be victorious! These evil people will not succeed in destroying your future,” reads the poster, which refers to haredi soldiers as “hardak,” an insult meaning weak-minded haredi.

“But, so that we too will have a portion in your massive merit, we have decided to grant to all children who they dare to put in a police patrol car – because he fulfilled the religious commandment to shout ‘hardaks get out’ – a present or voucher worth NIS 530, a number that has the numeric value of ‘hardaks get out now,’” states the poster.

Any child struck during the arrest, the poster promises, will receive a further award of NIS 290, the numeric value of “fist.”

Only those under the age of 15 qualify for the reward, which will be delivered to the child’s house, according to the poster.

Police have stepped up efforts in recent months to counter assaults against haredi IDF soldiers, conducting arrests and investigations against those behind the incitement campaign.

http://www.jpost.com/israel-news/politics-and-diplomacy/kill-next-woman-soldier-you-see-says-flier-against-haredi-idf-service-494466

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Egyptians, Worthless People?

Rabbi Teitelbaum Criticizes Loss of ‘Implicit Understanding’…rabbi teitelbaum

We find it utterly remarkable that either of the two warring sons of the Satmar Grand Rebbe Teitelbaum has the right to opine on the behavior of anyone else. After all, the two new Satmar sects (one for each brother Teitelbaum) of the Satmar [cult] cannot even agree with one another about how to live their lives [or govern the lives of those within their respective communities]. Either the brothers Teitelbaum are fighting over a financial inheritance under cover of religion; or they are fighting over interpretation of that religion (proving that it may not be all black and all white). Regardless, for either brother Teitelbaum to call the rest of us “”Egyptians” encouraged by “worthless people” who regrettably are awakening a complicit “benevolent government”  is hypocrisy at its finest.”

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum of Kiryas Joel should be looking at the deplorable behavior of members of his own community before he has the audacity to criticize others. He might just want to say a “Meshaberach” (prayer for the sick) for his own community and not cast stones.

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum unlike the Jews in Egypt, you and your people [a cult] are free to go elsewhere. You are not being held anywhere against your will, only being asked to comply with the laws and comport to a socially acceptable set of standards of behavior [like not molesting children in Yeshivas – or elsewhere, and like educating your children in substantially similar subjects as other children in the State in which you reside]. In Israel, you are being asked to serve in the army and in London to teach your children what public school children learn. If you are not happy with the laws of the country in which you live, go somewhere else. No one needs to “Let [your] people go.” They are free to leave without need of 10 plagues.

From Clarkstown What They Don’t Want you to Know on Facebook:

The Number One Problem For Hasidic Communities? – Could it be that Rockland and Orange Counties are populated by “Egyptians” encouraged by “worthless people” who regrettably are awakening a complicit “benevolent government” and thereby creating “bad times” for an extreme sect of Judaism?

How to manage the rapid growth of its Hasidic population coupled with a move of Hasidic populations north into Rockland County and beyond is indeed a topic of intense local interest. Our featured article from Haaretz.com gives some insights on that situation from both Hasidic leaders and Hasidic dissidents.

It begins by noting that the recent scrutiny of the Haredim and their unsustainable mode of living supported by a ‘benevolent government’ is being pushed largely by dissidents, in some cases ex-Hasidim, who say they are acting in the best interests of the community.

“We need to know what kind of danger we’re in,” the Satmar rebbe in Kiryas Joel, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, said in a widely publicized May 4 speech about the threat of closer state supervision of yeshiva curricula. “These are bad times for us Jews, terrible. We need to pray to God that they should not interfere with the upbringing of our children.”

For a long time, Teitelbaum said in his speech, there’s been an implicit understanding between state authorities and the leadership of Hasidic communities like Kiryas Joel that the state wouldn’t interfere in communal affairs.

But that implicit agreement may be breaking down as it becomes more difficult for authorities to ignore abuses – sexual, educational or financial – allegedly taking place within these closed communities. The prospect of outside interference threatens one of Kiryas Joel’s raisons d’etre: Hasidic control of the community’s affairs.

“Until now there were also strict laws, but because we live in a kingdom of benevolence [a reference to government authorities] to put it bluntly they simply turned a blind eye to what’s going on by the Jewish children,” Teitelbaum said in his speech, which was delivered in Yiddish and then translated into English for widespread dissemination. “They didn’t want to look, the benevolent kingdom. Now, too, they’d continue doing that, the government would have continued, they’re happy not to look and not to know. But these worthless people are stirring up in various ways and are demanding in court, forcing the government that they should take a stance.”

The “worthless people” are people like Naftuli Moster who is advocating for better education in the ultra insular communities.

“I’ve been to those yeshivas, I know exactly what the effects are,” said Naftuli Moster, executive director of Yaffed, an organization he founded that lobbies lawmakers to force Orthodox yeshivas to offer quality secular studies in addition to Torah studies.

https://youtu.be/KMSSHfHuvzE

“You’re not gaining anything by depriving people of an education. The very Satmar rabbi that made that speech also encourages people to earn a living, to his credit, but at the same time he’s the one who has jurisdiction over the yeshivas that are depriving Hasidim of the very tools necessary to earn that living,” Moster told JTA. “So what do people end up doing? Oftentimes they resort to criminal activity and other shenanigans to earn that living.”

People like Moster who make a charge of ‘resorting to criminal activity’ against the Haredim are referred to as “self-hating Jews” while those not of the Jewish faith are accused of being “anti-Semites”.

But look at the facts ….

FBI investigators were in Kiryas Joel, and in Rockland County and in Brooklyn investigating alleged fraud by Hasidic institutions in the federal government’s E-rate program provided to bring technology into yeshivas and the FBI were in Kiryas Joel a second time investigating child abuse allegations.

https://youtu.be/E91w__3SSvM

Further, the New York Daily News and WNYC public radio published and broadcast a joint investigative story scrutinizing the outsized number of low-income, Section 8 housing vouchers that have gone to the Hasidic community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn – a Satmar neighborhood with close ties to Kiryas Joel.

The WNYC story attributed the voucher aberration to Hasidic “self-dealing that’s impenetrable to outsiders” and cited lawsuits arguing that the Hasidim obtain housing vouchers through unfair or unlawful means. The story also noted that Hasidim are taking the vouchers with them to places outside the city, like Kiryas Joel.

Meanwhile, Teitelbaum expresses fury that fellow Jews are the source of much of the pressure …..

“Due to our many sins, it’s very painful to talk about it, there stood up several “worthless people” from our own who have studied in Hasidic yeshivas, and sadly they arrived I don’t want to say where. They decided to wage war against the whole ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of New York,” the rebbe said. “They went and “snitched” to the governments of New York City and New York State with complaints that the students of the yeshivas, of all yeshivas (elementary and middle school) are not learning enough general studies as required by law.”

In the ‘Jew in Rockland’ video produced by the Rockland Hasidic community, the accusation was made that Rockland was basically a growing throwback to the Nazis in the Germany of the 1930s.

https://youtu.be/7jDpIp3FbWE

Now there is a new moniker being applied to Rockland’s citizens – they are akin to “biblical Egyptians” ……

Joseph Waldman, a longtime Kiryas Joel community leader who heads a local welfare organization, said the “unprecedented assault” on the Hasidic community stems from local non-Jews’ fear of its rapid growth – just as the biblical Egyptians feared the rapid growth of the Israelites in Moses’ time.

“That’s the reason they were trying to make the trouble for the Jews in Egypt: The first thing they were afraid was the Jewish families growing so rapidly,” Waldman told JTA.

“Here, they are fearful that they’re going to be overwhelmed either by the growth of the environment or by political clout through the bloc votes.”

“They want to stop the community from growing,” he said. “That’s the reason for all the problems.”

Read on …….

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.720200

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‘Implicit Understanding’ Between Hasidic N.Y. Community and Authorities Fades

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/news/1.720200

KJ HaArets

CHAS VE’SHOLIM! A Jewish Child Working?

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May 5, 2016

Tafkid, meaning position or job, is an organization in London created introduce Charedi children to life beyond their insular community, to teach subjects like English and Math and to help them find jobs. Ultimately, such an organization’s mission is to provide Charedi children with a future beyond Talmudic study and to reduce the poverty within the community.

The Charedi community in London has decided to warn their members that children should not be working. Any organization offering them a job, like “Tafkid” is actually enticing children to go “off the derech” (off the path).  The clear statement in those words is that the community should not be self-sustaining and should live off of the provisions of others: for to work means to be misdirected.

The reality is that children who are introduced into the world beyond their insular community, who are educated beyond Talmudic studies, Yiddish and Torah represent a threat to the Charedim, not only in England but in the world writ large. When you deprive a child of an education, you are depriving that child a future. By keeping children from being properly educated and working you enslave that child forever.

That way of life is ultimately unsustainable.

Chareidim in London are freaking out because of a leaflet that offers them Jobs and Education

dosiznies.BlogSpot.com

Below is a copy of the leaflet by an organization called “Tafkid” that offers Chareidim an opportunity to get an education or a job, Chas Ve’sholim!

The above “warning” is hinting that “Tafkid” wants to entice Jewish children to go  “off the derech” …

I have a suggestion to the Chareidie leaders, if you don’t want organizations like Tafkid enticing your children …. make your own organization that helps children with free tutors and lessons in English and Math …

How about that?

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