Uri Orbach
Photo: Tomer Barzide

Goodbye, Jerusalem

Uri Orbach writes about the little things that mark ultra-Orthodox takeover of Jerusalem

I don’t care that Meir Porush will replace Uri Lupolianski as mayor of Jerusalem. This is really a small matter. What, should I be scared of him just because his beard is a little longer? After all, we are dealing with a well-known figure, a deputy minister – what can he do that Lupolianski didn’t? The fact that he’s considered a little more Orthodox and a little more belligerent doesn’t scare me too much. It’s the same thing more or less; things will remain the same. What’s the difference?


This isn’t the first time I don’t care. The convenience store at our neighborhood in Jerusalem stopped selling Yedioth Ahronoth years ago. Instead, they offered us religious newspapers and perhaps the Jerusalem Post too, because it’s ok to sell secular material in English. Yet I didn’t care, because I subscribe to the newspaper I choose to read and get it delivered to my door. I would also travel to another neighborhood to buy the other newspaper, which I read over the weekend. Not a big deal. What’s the difference?


I also stopped caring that the grocery store stopped selling a certain chocolate bar because it didn’t get the strictest kosher certificate. This is really a petty matter. You can just choose another chocolate bar instead. If it hurts the Orthodox that this specific chocolate bar is being sold at the store, we don’t need to do it on purpose. There are other kinds of chocolate. What’s the difference?


I also stopped caring that female singers are no longer allowed to perform in municipal shows. If the Orthodox are bothered by singing females, let men sing. If girls want to sing, let them sing in the shower, as long as they’re modestly dressed. And if regular songs bother them, they should sing holy songs only. What’s the difference between one song and another?


To tell you the truth, suddenly I also don’t care that you can only enter the supermarket modestly dressed. I’m modestly dressed anyway. And who cares if in “kosher buses” women sit at the end of the bus while the men sit at the front. The end, the front, what’s the difference?


In short, I don’t care about all those minor issues. So what if the city doesn’t allow us to do all sorts of small things that we can easily do without anyway? Why should I care? What’s the difference?


And in any case, I haven’t been living in Jerusalem for a year now.


פרסום ראשון: 08.03.08, 15:28
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