Members of the ultra-Orthodox sect are very lonely and very bored. For those who are unfamiliar with them, I am referring to a radical sect within the broader Orthodox community where the men are born into a demanding and uninspiring life path: Religious studies every day, the whole day, until the end of time.
They are forced to do this even if they are unsuitable for it and even if they are dying to dedicate themselves to something else.
The accumulated frustration and the sense of sadness and solitude that find their way into one’s heart during the long hours of study are great. So great in fact, that any opportunity they have for leaving the daily routine behind, just like the opportunity they encountered upon the opening of the Safra parking lot
in Jerusalem on Shabbat, is akin to a real reward.
No Shabbat desecration is involved in the opening of the parking lot. The opposite is true in fact. When people know there is an open parking lot, they will not need to drive around so much in order to find a parking spot in Jerusalem.
However, it is precisely the violent protests that cause immense desecration of the Shabbat: Members of the media arrive to cover the protests while security officers rush to the scene; we are talking about a Shabbat desecration festival, and all of it is the ultra-Orthodox sect’s fault.
However, it isn’t easy to fight the boredom and sense of solitude of that wild and unrepresentative minority that draws, almost forcefully, the sane elements within the Orthodox community who do not dare to face up the lonely masses and say: Enough.
I do not know how Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat managed to fall into this trp. I also fail to understand how within two weeks he managed to quarrel both with the ultra-Orthodox and with the secular residents of his city.
However, if one needs to choose between the ultra-Orthodox sect and Barkat, all of us must pick him.