Perhaps you heard the story of the police cruiser flipped over in Jerusalem. Or maybe you encountered the rumor about a female clothing store being torched in Bnei Braq. (Hint: There were a few of them.) And I’m certain that you heard about the formerly Orthodox woman who some people wanted to bring back to the warm womb of Judaism, and en route to doing it happened to send her to the hospital with bruises all over her body.
If you heard about any of those stories, you are officially familiar with the “chastity squad”,” an umbrella organization that brings together all the crazy, bored, and violent members of the ultra-Orthodox community. Shadowy figures and mercenaries boasting a black kippah have been exposed to all recently, and as the police must have told reporters, “more arrests are expected.”
The “chastity squad” was for a long time one of the biggest myths of the Orthodox community; half-truth, half-urban legend wearing a shtreimel. Those who got to meet them from up close apparently also suffered a serious concussion that made it difficult for them to recall the exact details.
Just like many other people, I attributed the notices posted across town regarding the importance of chastity to righteous Jews who truly want to help the public. The pleasant wording gave the impression that we were dealing with lovely old people with a white beard, who are merely looking out for our young girls, lest they find their way to “street culture.”
To be honest, once upon a time, during my naïve era, I couldn’t imagine that an Orthodox person would dare hit someone, or burn something, or vandalize. Court-martials are not the way of Jewish law, and zealotry in general has been harshly condemned by our sages. It is clear that orderly meetings called to discuss destructive and violent operations, or payoffs to thugs supposedly performing a “mitzvah” (with a special fare for those who burn MP4 devices) are an indication that something is awfully wrong around here.
The chastity squad has been backed by various elements in the Orthodox community mostly because of a manipulative public relations campaign. They portray themselves as people who care, who clear the streets of the wrongdoers, and who remove “spiritual obstacles” that may harm our children.
Woman targeted, pedophiles sparedYet despite their wonderful cleansing abilities, there are still perverted and crazy people living free and happy amongst us, because their family pedigree protects them and their despicable acts, which would normally be punishable by stoning and burning according to Jewish law. Their very existence on the Orthodox street is the ultimate proof that shows the chastity squad’s true nature: selective action, hypocrisy, and duplicity. In other words, they are eager to target confused young women, but dare not touch veteran pedophiles.
Yet this time around, someone decided to put an end to this. Their last victim decided not to give up and filed a complaint with police. The classis pattern of fear-mongering, which the squad counted on, has been broken – their number one rule, target the weak ones, encountered an anomaly.
The elimination of this criminal organization – yes, this is precisely what the chastity squad is – depends only on the determination of the Orthodox community to reject the zealots and hand them over to the Israel Police, as one of Jerusalem’s most prominent rabbis openly requested.
The daily sight of bruises and burned garbage dumpsters is not the way of the Torah, because “the ways of the Torah are pleasant ways, and all its paths are peace.” So, guys, we simply don’t want you around here. Please go beat up people somewhere else; preferably each other.