Amichai Atali
Amichai Attali
Photo: Courtesy
The scene of the riots in Bnei Brak on Sunday night

Israel is rudderless amid a Haredi intifada

Opinion: Before he condemned the mob, Netanyahu spent hours making sure none of his friends were linked to the beasts attacking police, people and property in Bnei Brak on Sunday night; we Israelis have no leaders, no pillar of fire to save us

Amihai Attali |
Published: 01.25.21 , 14:16
A team of police officers was almost slaughtered in the heart of Bnei Brak on Sunday night, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed three and a half hours to decide which side he was on.
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  • The images were more than clear: dozens of rioters banging on cars, smashing windows and stealing personal equipment from police officers. But the prime minister had to run his supercomputer through every possible scenario before he could condemn these human beasts.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    The scene of the riots in Bnei Brak on Sunday night
    The scene of the riots in Bnei Brak on Sunday night
    The scene of the riots in Bnei Brak on Sunday night
    (Photo: Shimon Baruch)
    He had to ensure that none of them were students at the yeshiva of the head of the Vizhnitz dynasty Rabbi Yisroel Hager, who was only recently received at the prime minister's residence with honors fit for visiting royalty.
    He had to ensure that none of those smashing windows were related to Yanki Kanievsky, the grandson of Haredi leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsy who calls Netanyahu to dictate the terms of the nationwide lockdown.
    He also had to ensure that - God forbid! - the ones stealing police property were not friends of United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman, who in his hands holds Netanyahu's "Get of Jail Free" card.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    תמונת הרב חיים קניבסקי ולצידו יענקי קניבסקי
    תמונת הרב חיים קניבסקי ולצידו יענקי קניבסקי
    Yanki Kanievsky with his grandfather Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky
    (Photo: Ilya Malenkov)
    Only after midnight, after all the cross-checking was completed, after all the vested interests had been inspected, could Netanyahu heave a sigh of relief and finally safely condemn this savage behavior.
    These are dog days indeed for Israel, and there is no leadership. We can only dream of leaders willing to tackle this phenomenon head on, to offer guidance to the millions of citizens who have none.
    We have endured almost a year of uncertainty, have time and time again hung our hopes on someone to help us to the way out. But there is no leadership here, no authoritative and reassuring voice to light our way.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    הפרות סדר בבני ברק והתנפלות על ראש העיר
    הפרות סדר בבני ברק והתנפלות על ראש העיר
    A Haredi mob surrounds the car of Bnei Brak Mayor Avraham Rubinstein on Sunday night
    (Photo: Shimon Baruch)
    We can only dream of the leadership that we should have had; our pillar of fire to bless the good and condemn the bad.
    But that is not our reality. In Israel, everything is political.
    The insane loop in which we are all stuck – four elections in two years and at least a year and a half without a state budget - has violated every norm, washing them all away in a tsunami in which everything is political.
    But Netanyahu is not alone. Too many of our politicians have swallowed their tongues, declining to speak out about the madness unfolding before our very eyes.
    Bnei Brak and other ultra-Orthodox cities are reminiscent of the early days of the first intifada.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    סיור של בנימין נתניהו, יעקב ליצמן ומאיר בן שבת לקראת קבלת חולי הקורונה הישראלים בבית החולים שיבא
    סיור של בנימין נתניהו, יעקב ליצמן ומאיר בן שבת לקראת קבלת חולי הקורונה הישראלים בבית החולים שיבא
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Feb. 2020
    (Photo: Shahar Goldstein)
    The news broadcasts on the radio began Sunday night with reports of "riots" in Bnei Brak. There is no Israeli who was alive in the 1980s who does not remember similar reports from Ramallah and Tul Karem of a baying mob surrounding security forces who have not yet fully understood the point we have truly reached, who do not know how to react.
    Should they flee? Should they fight back? Should they even fire into the air? There are only bad and worse options.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    פשיטה ומעצרים של המשטרה בישיבה בבני ברק
    פשיטה ומעצרים של המשטרה בישיבה בבני ברק
    Police closing down an illegally opened yeshiva in Bnei Brak last week
    And whether you're a cop surrounded by an inflamed crowd or a civilian who has been trapped at home for weeks, there is no one to look to.
    There is no role model to empower the good and weaken the bad. Does anyone trust him or draw strength from him? Of course not, he's not here for that.
    Netanyahu is too busy deciding where next to take an entire country that is stuck in lockdown - and making sure that Yanki agrees to it.

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