Hanoch Daum
Photo: Rafi Deloya

Haredim captive to radicals

Extremists dominate ultra-Orthodox community, give it bad name

As long as the haredim themselves don't shun the haredi minority willing to beat up police officers in order to protect bones, Israelis will not be able to see that the vast majority of ultra-Orthodox community members are fine people.


However, the haredi narrative is stronger than their ability to speak out decisively on this matter. Most haredim also think that the racist separation at schools in very certain communities is absurd and terrible, yet they are unable to take the side of the High Court or the media, and they lack the ability to raise a hue and cry of self-criticism.


The haredim lack democracy and a debate culture.


The overwhelming majority of ultra-Orthodox community members don't think that the State needs to be ignited because of the graves in Ashkelon; even Deputy Minister Litzman doesn't think so. It's a trap laid by the radicals.


The majority is trapped in the hands of the bored radicals on the streets who have way too much free time. The overwhelming majority of haredim are also opposed to gender-segregated bus routes, but who can stand up to a "holy struggle" – that is, radicalism that portrays itself as an attempt to make the community even holier?


Precondition for sanity 

Does the average haredi even understand why garbage bins need to be burned? Does the average haredi support this idiotic form of protest? Does he understand how the burning of a garbage bin advances any cause? Does it make any difference, with the exception of making the lives of municipal workers and taxpayers miserable?


The haredi community is a sane and captive sector. An overwhelming majority of Shas voters are in favor of the state and of the army. Most Agudath Israel voters oppose the anti-Intel protests. The problem is that those who endorse the protests are stronger and louder.


This is the essence of the tragedy: The power of radical haredim is greater than the power of their rabbis. The street is stronger than its leaders. This creates a situation whereby the Israeli public sees six burned down garbage bins in Jerusalem and ends up hating hundreds of thousands of haredim who never thought of undertaking this kind of vandalistic act.


This complex situation is reminiscent of the Palestinians. For them, as is the case in other regional Arab regime, there is no room for self-criticism, innovation, or self-flagellation. It is a pity that the haredi community – which boasts many good and kind people – is so behind the enlightened world; a world where self-criticism is a precondition for sanity.


פרסום ראשון: 05.22.10, 13:29
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