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'Extremists in Beit Shemesh must be condemned' Photo: Noam Moskovich
'Extremists in Beit Shemesh must be condemned' Photo: Noam Moskovich
 
 

Haredim: Israel in need of psychiatric care

Three editors of ultra-Orthodox media outlets present their version of women's exclusion. 'The secular press is out of control,' one of them says

Ari Galahar
Published: 01.16.12, 13:45 / Israel Jewish Scene

The exclusion of women phenomenon, which has stirred a row in Israel, has been occupying the country's ultra-Orthodox media in recent weeks as well.

 

Some of the incidents that received wide media coverage, like the attack on eight-year-old Naama Margolese in Beit Shemesh, were strongly condemned by haredi media outlets. On the other hand, the haredim were enraged by quite a few headlines, saying the secular press showed "bad judgment".

 

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"There is a real failure to distinguish between those who deserve to be condemned, like the extremists in Beit Shemesh, and an internal haredi lifestyle within the ghettos which no one should be bothered by," says Binyamin Lipkin, editor-in-chief of Bakehila newspaper.

 

"The exclusion of women affair has become cheap demagogy by a group of interested people who have even turned a regular quorum on the train into an exclusion phenomenon.

 

"The next step will be discussing the exclusion of women in synagogues, as they sit in the women's gallery. We are against violence in general and in favor of everything which is done peacefully and respectfully."

 

Shimon Breitkopf, an editor in the popular Behadrei Haredim website, shares the same opinion. "It's a crime mixing between the 'kosher' buses and the Beit Shemesh affair, which involved violence – a disgraceful thing, and no rabbi will tell you otherwise," he argues.

 

"Many haredi spokesmen have been explained in the media again and again that these are weeds, a group of perverts and lunatics who do not reflect the haredi public in any way.

 

"On the other hand, the media is out of control. The esoteric phenomenon of women's exclusion – which must be condemned and exists only in the margins or outside the camp – has been making main headlines throwing the haredi public to the dogs."

 

'Country has gone mad'

Yossi Elitov, editor of the Mishpacha magazine and a member of the Second Authority for Television and Radio, presents an even harsher stand.

 

"A country fighting for its identity and survival has created a luxury for itself by mobilizing the entire public agenda to discuss distortions against minorities and the capitalistic way the State Budget is divided.

 

"This is a crazy country," he slams. "The essence of the struggle today is to cry out over segregated swimming pools or visit haredi areas and tell the haredi woman what she must do and what she should be shocked about."

 

According to Elitov, the fact that this subject has been making headlines for weeks proves that "the country has gone mad".

 

"I'm not downplaying the seriousness of the violence in Beit Shemesh in any way, and the police must use a firm hand, deal with the rioters and throw them in prison," he stresses.

 

"But the fact that anyone seeking to become a national hero must get on a haredi bus shows that this country is in need of immediate psychiatric care. What's happening here is hypocrisy and complete craziness," he concludes.

 

 

 

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