Monday, April 26, 2010

Someone is Going to be Killed


Within the next few years, an unprecedented event in the history of the Jewish People is probably going to take place. It will happen just a few hundred yards away from my home, on Nahar HaYarden in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. A religious Jewish teenager is going to be beaten to death by a gang of religious Jewish men for the "crime" of being in their neighborhood and not conforming to their idea of Orthodoxy.

You don't have to be a prophet to see this coming. Over the last few years, there have been numerous stonings of vehicles and mob beatings of dati-leumi teenagers who pass through Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet on their way between Bet Shemesh and Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph. A few months ago, a girl was thrown to the ground by a group of men and beaten.

Last week, one of the worst incidents so far took place. Today I spoke with a neighbor of mine who is the mother of one of the victims. Her teenage daughter was walking with about ten boys back from a Yom Ha-Atzmaut celebration, late at night. They were not being especially noisy or rowdy. One had an Israeli flag wrapped around him. Another engaged in a small act of vandalism, spraying a Magen David on the wall (which is decorated with various posters declaring Zionism to be idolatry, and pictures equating the Magen David with the swastika).

A group of adult men, estimated at around SEVENTY in number, descended upon the group of teenagers, armed with various implements. According to the local "Chadash" newspaper, which blamed the teenagers for the incident, the men first warned the kids to leave. According to my friend's daughter, the "warning" consisted of the mob rushing at them while yelling and brandishing weapons.

The mob knocked the teenagers to the ground and proceeded to beat them, including my neighbor's daughter. She suffered multiple bruises all over her body, and an especially large injury to her head, which is still causing her headaches and loss of sleep a week later. At one point she saw that one of her friends was being strangled, and she managed to bite the hand of the strangler, causing him to let go. Her friend thanks her for saving his life. Several of the kids had to go to the hospital, one requiring stitches in his head.

The police arrived after fifteen minutes, but the group dispersed and no arrests were made. It's too difficult for the kids to identify the men that beat them. The police are reluctant to take action in an area with thousands of hostile citizens. Nothing will be done.

This has happened before, and several dati-leumi people from my area have required medical treatment over the years. But it seems that each time, it gets more extreme. The thugs are emboldened by their success, and probably also by the new mayor, who never takes a stand against extremist influences here. And of course, while it's "only" a few dozen men actively engaged in the violence, there are many, many more who encourage it, tacitly support it, or are reluctant to speak out against it. Others detest the situation, but simply have no idea what to do about it. There is also a group of 5-6 families in RBS-B who feel terrible about what is going on and want to publicly offer their homes as safe houses for anyone who is being attacked. This shows that not everyone is guilty in that neighborhood, but also indicates how bad the situation is.

Eventually, someone will be killed. At which point perhaps the national uproar will be sufficient for firm action to be taken.

It's a tragedy that we will have to wait for a child to get killed in order for something to be done.

(Read more on this story at Arutz Sheva and Life in Israel)

79 comments:

  1. I too have been saying this. These people are terrorists, plain and simple. The fit the exact definition. I'm sick and tired of Chareidi-lite people coming to their defense or trying to marginalize the problem. (Like some the writers on Cross Currents.) Just we demand that Islam eradicate their terroristic, fanatic elements, we must do the same. These people are a cancer and ti's metastasizing.

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  2. Two quick things.

    First, sorry for the typos. Typed too fast.

    Second, I wasn't C"V talking about all Chareidim, just the terrorists and their enablers.

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  3. Al tiftach peh is a very serious principle. The same point could have been made without the 'prophecy'. The desire for publicity of a good cause still doesn't justify such predictions r"l.

    Another perspective: If G-d forbid such a thing did indeed take place, are you confident that you would have no satisfaction from the fact that you were 'right'. I, for one, would never be able to live with such a feeling.

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  4. Rambam did not legislate "al yiftach adam piv leSatan" and did not believe in it. See the article from Twersky that was posted here yesterday where he explains that Rambam also held that curses (by people) possess no innate power.

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  5. Yoni, you have a point. However, Rabbi Slifkin is correct in highlighting the potential danger here to emphasize the severity of the situation.

    Far too many people, especially Rabbinic leadership in the Chareidi community, are quick to dismiss this terroristic behavior as mere delinquency of a few fringe nuts.

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  6. Menachem --

    You have to be careful about referring to "people" as a cancer. That they must be stopped is clear, but the implication is that, like a cancer, these people should be eradicated/eliminated/killed.

    I'm sure what you meant is that the ideology, attitudes, community norms which lead these people to do violence that must be eradicated and eliminated. With this I fully concur. (Sorry if this sounds like a technical distinction, but I assure you it isn't!)

    Second, I fully agree with your analogy to Islam. If we can't handle and control this relatively isolated outbreak of religiously-motivated "Jewish" violence, how can anyone expect the Muslim world to curtail its violence -- which is magnitudes more deadly and widespread?

    It is time then to come up with a plan. And I would think this plan would have to in some way address education (i.e. getting to the sources where these ideologies are purveyed and changing the message) as well as disincentives (communal, economic, punitive, etc. whereby the cost of perpetrating or allowing violence is simply too high).

    I for one don't want to wait for a death, chas v'shalom.

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  7. If G-d forbid such a thing did indeed take place, are you confident that you would have no satisfaction from the fact that you were 'right'. I, for one, would never be able to live with such a feeling.

    I am certain that if I did not write this post out of the concern that you raise, or made it less powerful and effective, and such a thing were to happen, I would not be able to live with myself.

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  8. One more point -- anticipating the question: What does this has to do with rationalism?

    In theory, it is fully possible to rationalize violence against innocents without any religious or metaphysical talk, to justify it on purely logical or opportunistic grounds.

    However, if rationalism here serves as a voice of "reasonability over ideology," where the assumption is that people's tangible life and welfare are more precious than any intangible ideology, then I place myself fully on board with the rationalists.

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  9. I hate to sound like I'm throwing in the towel, but the only answer is separation....Dati Leumi people who are not prepared to conform with the outward forms of behavior in a largely haredi neighborhood should simply move out. There is no way to win this fight. The extremists in their community seem to always set the tone, a good example was mentioned in the thread about Yom Ha'atzmaut where it was pointed out that in the early years of the state many Haredim did say Hallel, but extremist intimidation succeeded in ending the practice.
    I live in a town where the Haredim are a minority of the religious population and they "know their place" and there is little friction. But "standing on principle" while inviting violence on one's self is simply self-defeating.

    I think the biggest victims of this extremism will be the Haredi society itself, and not so much we outsiders. The increasing extremism in halacha and in things like gender-segregated buses simply shows a spreading spiritual desolation in their camp where more emphasis is placed on outward conformism with the latest "campaign" in the community (e.g. burning wigs that 'might' have been used for avodah zara) than on true piety. This means increased cynicism and hypocrisy and growing frustration among the young.
    It also can bring hostility towards them from outsiders, as is happening with the Islamic community in the West where the outside community increasingly fears and distrusts the Muslims.

    There was a interesting article in Makor Rishon a couple of weeks ago about the collapse of religious life in inter-war Poland. The writer pointed out that many, many people outwardly identified with the big Hasidic groups, including going to shul regularly, wearing the uniform and otherwise outwardly conforming but desecrating the shabbat and knowingly eating non-kosher food. Yes, I know many people will say "that was different, there was terrible poverty and persecution then, today we don't have these things so we will be able to keep our young people in line" but I don't buy that. The massive falling away from religious observance in the 19th and 20th centuries could repeat itself and the Haredi leadership had better realize the mistakes it is making so that that wont' reoccur.

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  10. I'm not convinced that violence against those who carry this extremist ideology is not the right approach.

    Perhaps if enough kannaim in the Haredi world were eliminated by other Haredim then such a counter-revolution would quell the problem.

    For that matter it would be a great coup against Islamic extremism were large numbers of Gazans to be killed every time they launch a missile at innocents.

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  11. as my magid shiur from the mir used to say. "usually it isn't kin'as haShem - its kin'ah"
    in general, hareidim have to learn to realize that all hafganot and religious legislation are useless. did anyone ever become shomer shabbos because of the bar ilan hafganot? or do drivers just avoid the area, and we see less chillul shabbos, like ostriches (the rabbi will tell me that ostriches don't really do that :))
    did one woman ever dress more modestly because of a store being burned down in geula? or do they now buy there clothes at the malcha mall instead?
    does anyone keep kosher because bassar lavan is mostly outlawed and chometz can't be sold in public?
    it is illogical and it is insanity.
    rav soloveitchik (community covenant and commitment p198) pointing out that we should focus on jewish education, instead of religious legislation.

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  12. David, thank you for clarifying. I do not advocate violence. I wasn't even happy to hear that these kids spray painted the Jewish Stars. We must do everything possible to take the high road and not to behave like them.

    However, we are not going to change their ideology and so they must either be driven out or isolated. They really are only able to live peacefully among themselves.

    A first reaction many people have, I'm no exception, is to use pritzut to "attack" them since that's their hot button issue. Obviously, for many of us that would present problems. One idea I've had to use, and Rabbi Slifkin should like, this dinosaurs! We could print up flyer and posters with pictures of dinosaurs giving their names and how many millions of years ago the lived here.

    Just a thought.

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  13. There are two ways to respond to this:

    1) In the 1980's Chareidi arond Yerushalayim engaged in a campaign of vandalism against public ads they considered immodest. Mostly it consists of them lobbing garbage cans full of flaming materials at bus shelters displaying the ads. Then they started expanding their attacks to private stores. It got bad enough that some unknown hooligans decided enough was enough and attempted to burn down a shul. The resultant nation-wide shock brought a quick end to the campaign.
    If someone gets killed, I am willing to predict it won't be a dati leumi. It'll be a chareidi who, while beating some defenceless young woman will fail to notice her soldier boyfriend/brother who, in his rage, will shoot first and express regret later. And that shock will end this.
    Chalilal and it goes without saying I hope this never comes to pass.

    2) On the other hand, if you don't fight back, you're just encouraging it. If these chareidi thugs know they'll get away with attacking small groups of dati leumi, don't travel in small groups. Travel in large ones, carry sticks and clubs and when the chareidim get fiesty, give them what for.

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  14. I'm not convinced that these armed thugs have any knowledge of any martial arts or real fighting technique and I suspect they are simply bored, worthless, idle yeshiva bochurim with power of numbers, size, and weapons to their advantage, whose only form of study in their entire lives has been in gemara and who lack expertise even in that.

    The Torah of Eretz Yisrael demands that we teach our young men (and women for needed self-defense) the age-old martial arts fighting techniques to sufficiently prepare them for self-defense in any situation and to be in a place where they can teach lessons to thugs like this and have the thugs flee in terror. The healthy Jewish body with a healthy Jewish head, trained in the real disciplines of Jewish self-defense has been overlooked and neglected for far too long. Now that the exile is over, there is really no excuse, and in fact this is gross negligence that our youths do not know how to fight or defend themselves from attack. We must take decisive action and incorporate aspects of Torah that are far too often overlooked and which certainly have a strong and ancient mesorah behind them even if subsequently ignored. Every Jewish man can be a warrior even on a small scale, even without an IDF uniform.

    A famous Rabbi ZT"L Hashem Yikom Damo, whom I'm sure we are all familiar with, stressed addressing this area of weakness in the Jewish people decades ago, and it is a surprise to me that for the most part we the Jewish people haven't listened.

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  15. Y. Ben-David said...
    > Yes, I know many people will say "that was different, there was terrible poverty and persecution then, today we don't have these things so we will be able to keep our young people in line"

    From what I’ve heard, the Chareidi community in Israel is very poor and perceives itself as being constantly persecuted by the secular government.

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  16. Has anyone tried to get haredi gedolim to speak out strongly against any kind of violence against other Jews (even irreligious or less-religious ones)? I'd hope that at least one or two would be willing to take a stand, since as far as I know, the halacha is extremely clear on this. I don't think you can attack anyone except a rodef under any circumstance, can you? Have any of the haredi gedolim given public opinions about this sort of violence before?

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  17. I'm not convinced that these armed thugs have any knowledge of any martial arts or real fighting technique

    Ironically, many of them learned karate in my own basement! The previous owner of my house had karate classes in the basement, and many of the students were RBS-B hooligans looking to improve their skills.

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  18. in general, hareidim have to learn to realize that all hafganot and religious legislation are useless. did anyone ever become shomer shabbos because of the bar ilan hafganot

    They're not doing it to encourage people to keep halachah. It's about power and control, nothing else.

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  19. Has anyone tried to get haredi gedolim to speak out strongly against any kind of violence against other Jews

    Even if all the Gedolim came out against it, these people would not care in the slightest.

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  20. Has anyone tried to get haredi gedolim to speak out strongly against any kind of violence against other Jews (even irreligious or less-religious ones)? "
    when i was in the mir, the ry rabbi n z finkel forbade going to hafganot. i believe the ban is still in effect. they say the only way to get kicked out of the mir is to get arrested at a hafganah or smoke in the bm.

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  21. It seems to me that the residents of RBS-A are seeing the results of their inaction with regards to the Mea Shearimniks in RBS-B. They should have strongly protested when the plans for a Hareidi neighborhood were first proposed - given the history of what had happened in J'lem. Now they can only protest as they are subject to increasing pressure and violence from the chevra populating RMS-B. Such protest, it seems to me, should consist of picketing the city officials and rabbanim living in RBS-A who tolerate or suport the acts of aggression, intimidation, and violence by those hooligans and supportive Hareidi politicians. If the current trend continues, life for the moderate people in RBS will soon become intolerable.

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  22. Would you be so kind as to tell us:

    1) What "religious" sect this group of adult men belong to? Do they learn in kollel...?
    2) Are they Hassidic? If so, what sect?
    3)Are these "adult men" in their 20s, 30s, ...? Do they have kids of their own?
    4) And lastly, are they represntative of most/all of their community? Do their communtiy's schools promote such thuggish behavior as well? If not, what is it that brought/brings them to act in such an unjewish manner?

    Thank you

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  23. Koillel Nick-

    Simply telling the bachurim and avrechim in the yeshiva that they should't attend demonstrations is only a start. Did the rashei yeshiva denounce the extremists and encourage boycotting troublemakers? Did they advocate any community-wide program for dealing with the problem?

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  24. I think it is time the Israelis realize it is an internal intifada and treat it like this.

    Drones, tanks, sayeret duvdevan, snipers, demolitions, targeted assassination etc I am sure will teach the hooligans some lessons, like the lessons Hamas Youth and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades go

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  25. Targeted assassinations against hooligans, even the rock-throwing kind?

    Sorry, Ariel, but Israel doesn't even do that against Hamas. I think you let your frustration, justifiable as it is, get the better of you.

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  26. Y. Ben-David, why should the DL have to move? Why shouldn't the Charedim- who clearly don't appreciate the fact that they're living in Israel anyway, with all the benefits the Zionist government brings with it- be the ones who have to go?

    R' Slifkin, do you remember Heine's line? "Those who burn books will eventually burn people." The quote is set in stone at the spot in Berlin where the Nazis started by burning books.

    One day, people will look back (if they're not already) at the banning of My Uncle the Netziv, your books, etc. etc. as the thing that got the kannaim started. And maybe- hopefully- as the high point of their power, after which their victims wised up.

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  27. To everyone calling these people terrorists:

    Intimidation, even physical intimidation, is not in itself evil. The American colonialists used to physically intimdate and assault British tax colectors, and we generally think of that as a good thing.

    So the it is not the tactic that is inherently evil. What is evil is how, when, why, and to what end these charedim are using it.

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  28. I am Dati Leumi. I live in Elad and after reading this story, I am going to DAVKA visit the area.
    I am so curious about this...
    What I wanted to say though, is that we are currently in the 33 days of mourning for the 23 000 disciples of Rabi Akiva who died horrible deaths in a plague. The sages explain that these learned disciples were NOT united. With their higher learning, they showed arrogance rather than using the depth and greatness of torah to foster closeness amongst their fellow Jews and too too many paid with their lives.
    It is exactly what we are experiencing in today's world, is it not? Why is the past so hard to relate to when we are so dumb as to repeat its mistakes in our lives of today?

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  29. " Ariel said...
    I think it is time the Israelis realize it is an internal intifada and treat it like this."

    In that case, these nuts will be allowed to riot and the Jews will be prevented from defending themselves against the rioters. I don't think you want to go down that road considering the political correctness and "kid-gloves" that are used in response to Arab intifadas and riots.

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  30. >>Another engaged in a small act of vandalism, spraying a Magen David on the wall...

    A small act of vandalism is a bit more than merely the "crime of being in the nelghborhood". So why do you whitewash it?

    Actually your elaboration that the wall contained anti-Zionist slurs indicates that this fellow was answering the "challenge" of the locals. In other words, as mild as it was, it still constitutes a confrontation of sorts and nullifies the claim to innocence.

    As for your story of a girl thrown down and beaten "a few months ago", a "few months ago" turns out to be a year and a half. Chareidi bashing stories - even if they have merit - seem to have extreme longevity and are replayed again and again as if they happened yesterday. This is actually a testament to how infrequent these incidences really are.

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  31. >>They were not being especially noisy or rowdy.

    After I posted the previous comment, I checked the Arutz 7 site and the Life in Israel blog and saw the comments there from RBS locals.

    The sentiment seems that they were indeed especially noisy and rowdy and blatantly confrontational.

    Perhaps, if this keeps up, someday someone may actually be R"L sent over the hill, but not because they just happened to be there.

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  32. Anonymous, I find your comments to be loathsome. Are you implying that spray-painting a Magen David justifies being beaten up? And these stories are hardly infrequent - there are acts of vandalism and violence against non-Charedim all the time (I only mentioned the most prominent case). And in your reference to the comments on the Arutz Sheva site, you are clearly accepting the version of events told by a minority of commentators and ignoring the version told by the majority. Finally, your claim that nobody gets attacked for "just being there" is blatantly false - that is exactly what happened in the earlier incident.

    You know, it's apologists such as you that make people skeptical of the claim that this is just a problem of a few lunatics. When even Americans try to downplay it and justify it, its clear that there is a much bigger problem here.

    By the way, in general I do not allow anonymous comments.

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  33. Nachum-
    I'm on your side, but what, realistically can be done, if the Haredi leadership refuses to do anything about it? Setting up our own Dati Leumi militia and going after their thugs won't help, all it will do is make them martyrs in the eyes of the majority of Haredim who I believe have the attitude "these mean well, they just go too far" ( I would like to believe that I am wrong about that). I am sure you realize that Haredi propaganda constantly reinforces the idea that everyone supposedly hates them, that they are primarily victims, and so our striking back at them will simply seem to confirm that idea.

    I stand by what I said....that it is Haredi society that will suffer the most from this in the long run and it is in the interest of their leadership to stop this before it they start losing a lot of their youth, something that has happened before and is happening at least to some extent today.

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  34. "You know, it's apologists such as you that make people skeptical of the claim that this is just a problem of a few lunatics. When even Americans try to downplay it and justify it, its clear that there is a much bigger problem here."

    the bigger problem is the inability for hareidim to accept mussar from anyone who isn't hareidi. we (yes i sit and learn in a hereidi kollel)can't accept from outsiders that we may have a problem dealing with pedophiles in our schools, or that we are giz'anni (racist)- for all the hareidi propaganda out there, the bagatz though not faultless, is generally moderate. heck, we can't even accept that a bunch of our politicians just got arrested on suspected bribes.
    we have horrible weeklies who skip the main issues facing our society, and focus on the small issues. they neither report the real news nor bring real problems to their readers attention.
    we are too insular. a little Torah im derech eretz is in order.

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  35. Why has no one mentioned the common denominator between the fanatical madenss in RBS-Bet and a rabbi in RBS Aleph's having publicly and in his presence called L'Maan Achaai leader David Morris a "Rasha and a jackass".

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  36. There is no common denominator. That same rabbi is the ONLY charedi rabbi to have spoken out publicly against Rav Perlstein's "Pogrom in the Park."

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  37. The rabbi in question engages in "selective" fanaticism. Some of his opinions are great and I am not denying his pluses.But, those selected targets of his selective fanaticism are the victim as much as those victims of the RBS Bet crazies.

    When that rabbi does engage in fanaticism he needs to be countered. Too bad his congregation is terrified of him.

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  38. There is an obvious flaw in chareidi education. Like, did they never learn Hillel's dictum about treating others the way you want to be treated.

    Alas, the flaw is so deep that when they provoke the full backlash, in kind, they will whine about being persecuted. Better they should whine than they should act out.

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  39. What is going is on Terrible. However, why arn't the dati leumi people doing something about it if the Police won't?

    Call the governors? call the army? Arrange boycots of the people in the neighborhoods with the thugs?

    More can / should be done by the residents than just waiting for the police and complaining on blogs.

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  40. >>Anonymous, I find your comments to be loathsome. Are you implying that spray-painting a Magen David justifies being beaten up?

    Of course I am not implying anything. I am saying straight out b'Rachel bitcha haketana that when somebody agitates somebody at any level he "asked for it." The silly response that "agitation A-minor does not justify response C- major" is very childish. My children do it all the time:

    Child A:She hit me!

    Me to Child B: Why did you hit her?

    Child B: She was making fun of me and I told her to stop and she didn't.

    Me to Child A: Is that true?

    Child A: Yeah, but she didn't have to hit me.

    You know what happens? Child A - the one that got hit, the VICTIM - gets a tongue lashing from me for provoking the incident. Child B usually gets off the hook or a minor reprimand.

    This "doesn't justify..." response is like when the world says the Israelis use "excessive force". I don't buy it. You provoke, don't go crying when you get hit!

    >> And these stories are hardly infrequent - there are acts of vandalism and violence against non-Charedim all the time (I only mentioned the most prominent case).

    Seldom perpetrated by chareidim.

    >> And in your reference to the comments on the Arutz Sheva site, you are clearly accepting the version of events told by a minority of commentators...

    Including Rabbi Dovid Landesman in a comment in the latest Emes Ve-Emunah post.

    >>...and ignoring the version told by the majority.

    No, my friend. The point here isn't which side I accept. Actually, I don't accept much from either side. The point is that there is another side. And once there is, then its eidos mach'chishos and the story is up for grabs.

    >>Finally, your claim that nobody gets attacked for "just being there"

    I believe I said, if somebody gets killed (as per your "prediction") it won't be for "just being there"

    >>...is blatantly false - that is exactly what happened in the earlier incident.

    You mean the one that happened "a few" (like over 16) months ago? I have been following these stories and that is the only story I ever heard that did not involve some level of confrontation. When was the next "frequent incident" since then?

    >>You know, it's apologists such as you that make people skeptical of the claim that this is just a problem of a few lunatics.

    There are "aggressor" apologists like me and "victim" apologists like you. And it is the victim apologists like you (that cry WOLF whenever someone who starts up with the kanaim gets a black eye) that make us skeptical when once in 16 months someone may actually be a victim.

    >>When even Americans try to downplay it and justify it, its clear that there is a much bigger problem here.

    Yo, chabibi! Me, American? Mah pitohm??

    >>By the way, in general I do not allow anonymous comments.


    In general, I do not get on your blog. I just traveled here on a link. But, to respect your policy, I gave myself a name.

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  41. For a while I've thought that one solution would simply be to deliberately have a few dati leumi people who happen to have just finished army service happen to go through charedi neighborhoods a few times. After the main instigators lose a few teeth from the resulting self-defensive actions, maybe they'll stop.

    This also fits in with another idea I've had, which is to bulldoze the houses of charedim who riot.

    It seems clear to me that Rabbi Slifkin is a better human than I am in that he's more concerned about preventing violence where I have trouble not focusing on making sure that the people responsible for this sort of behavior get what they deserve.

    I'm not actually sure that a dati leumi kid getting shot will actually have that much of an impact. The police don't do anything now. They give up bodies that would be going to autopsies. The justice system caves to charedi pressure when dealing with a mother who might be poisoning her children. The death of a dati kid won't necessarily remove that cowardice. The charedi community is in a death spiral in many ways. And they are likely going to drag a lot of other people down with them.

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  42. The author of the story does a terrible disservice to the Jewish people. Right now, anti frum blogs are salavating over a type of story like this. Once even worse is the cnn-like telling of the story.
    Atleast some if not all(they were all together) of the DL kids are wayward teens. They drink and get high(yes, actually break the laws of the state of israel). This is a fact. As you state they were spray painting in the neighborhood. Lets imagine the scene. A bunch of drunk/ or high students are carousing through bet looking for trouble they are loud, and then start to spray paint. What do you want the people in bet to do, offer them cake and have them sit down and learn about why they dont accept independence day as a holiday?
    I think it is totally wrong for anyone to use violence however they were drunken rebble rousers. In Singapore they whip graffiti artists. Lets not make the DL kids involved here as innocent boy/girl scouts on their way home to sell cookies. Lets check there blood count and illegal substance check and you will find that those teenagers suddenly withdraw their police reports.
    Why do the people there wait on independence day at 2 am toi attack people? They didnt attack othe DL people walking through? They know that there are plenty of wayward teens who get drunk at the untznius concert in Bet Shemesh and then come back in packs looking for "fun". They prepared for them. Again, Its totally wrong for them to use violence however lets not be naive.

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  43. > there are acts of vandalism and violence against non-Charedim all the time (I only mentioned the most prominent case).

    Seldom perpetrated by chareidim.


    Um, actually EXCLUSIVELY perpetrated by a particular sect of Charedim.
    I can tell that you don't live in these parts.

    > And in your reference to the comments on the Arutz Sheva site, you are clearly accepting the version of events told by a minority of commentators...

    Including Rabbi Dovid Landesman in a comment in the latest Emes Ve-Emunah post.


    See, that's the problem with you. Rabbi Landesman WASN'T THERE! He doesn't have a version of events.

    I have been following these stories and that is the only story I ever heard that did not involve some level of confrontation.

    You have no idea what goes on. Most stories do not make it to the internet. People have had rocks thrown at them while on a bus. What was their confrontation?

    I am saying straight out b'Rachel bitcha haketana that when somebody agitates somebody at any level he "asked for it." The silly response that "agitation A-minor does not justify response C- major" is very childish... Child A - the one that got hit, the VICTIM - gets a tongue lashing from me for provoking the incident. Child B usually gets off the hook or a minor reprimand...
    This "doesn't justify..." response is like when the world says the Israelis use "excessive force". I don't buy it. You provoke, don't go crying when you get hit!


    So if someone walks through RBS-B on their way home with an Israeli flag, and gets severely beaten and wounded, you don't think that a severe punishment is warranted for the assailant.
    Tell me, do you think it's okay to have open season on Charedim who don't stop what they're doing during the siren? After all, that is MUCH more provocative. So if they are severely beaten and wounded, do you think that the assailants should "get off the hook or get a minor reprimand"?

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  44. I think it is totally wrong for anyone to use violence however they were drunken rebble rousers... Lets check there blood count and illegal substance check and you will find that those teenagers suddenly withdraw their police reports.

    You have no idea what you are talking about. I know one of the kids. There was no substance abuse and no drunkenness. They were not loud at all (reports about a loud group were referring to a different group). There was ONE kid who spray-painted a star.

    The author of the story does a terrible disservice to the Jewish people. Right now, anti frum blogs are salavating over a type of story like this.

    And nothing less than a national or international uproar is going to stop it.
    You know, it was also a terrible Chillul Hashem when the newspapers ran the story about Baruch Lanner. But that's the only thing that led to the situation being stopped.

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  45. And nothing less than a national or international uproar is going to stop it.

    Let's take a page out of our playbook dealing with our other terrorists. We need to build the bypass road that's already planned so nobody has to pass through RBS B. Then we need to build a security barrier at the border of RBS B and Sheinfeld.

    I still like my dinosaur poster idea. We can even make them pictures of naked dinosaurs. :)

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  46. A bunch of drunk/ or high students are carousing through bet looking for trouble they are loud, and then start to spray paint. What do you want the people in bet to do, offer them cake and have them sit down and learn about why they dont accept independence day as a holiday?

    OK anon. If you want to play it that way then, according to you, every time rowdy chareidim spray paint tznious graffiti in our neighborhood (a regular occurrence) we should beat the crap out of them.

    Way to go.

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  47. >>See, that's the problem with you. Rabbi Landesman WASN'T THERE! He doesn't have a version of events.


    Neither was your neighbor who is the mother of one of the victims.

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  48. NS, you said you know one of them and there was no drunkardness or substance abuse. Were you there with them? Were you with them at the amphi before hand? You are accepting their side of the story. Other people also know some of the kids and they can tell you atleast one of them is a party person(not that there is eyewitness testimony that the person was drunk then however you can assume at at concert, with guys/girls and others drinking, there was that behavior by the regular party kids.) Please understand there are 2 parts to every story........
    Also realize there are other people saying that the kids did no graphitti, that they separated when they walked through bet, etc.. A lot of versions out there. Maybe you should go to bet and ask around what there side of the story is.

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  49. From Menachem Lipkin

    >>OK anon. If you want to play it that way then, according to you, every time rowdy chareidim spray paint tznious graffiti in our neighborhood (a regular occurrence) we should beat the crap out of them.


    As every commenter on my side of the fence has written, nobody is excusing the aggressors. What we are doing is pointing out that the victims are not innocent victims and the news items (and bloggers) that paint them that way are playing the same game as those who cry for the "poor Palestininans".

    Thus - NO - we should not beat the cr*p out of the rowdy chareidim just as the rowdy chareidim should not beat the cr*p out of the DLs. But, if somebody does beat the cr*p out of the rowdy chareidim (in your scenario), I would also not cry for them and accept that they "had it coming".

    Our discussion is not about absolving alleged aggressors, it is about sympathizing for alleged "victims' who are not truly victims. If you cannot understand that distinction then I will consider adopting you as one of my kids (join the crowd).

    You may think I am chareidi but, my shita is: Jews are Jews and the same rules apply for everybody.

    Incidentally, I am not the same anon that your comment was responding to.

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  50. "The author of the story does a terrible disservice to the Jewish people. Right now, anti frum blogs are salavating over a type of story like this."
    that is shooting the messenger. i think the thugs did the the disservice to the jewish people.

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  51. Our discussion is not about absolving alleged aggressors, it is about sympathizing for alleged "victims' who are not truly victims.

    Again, so according to you a woman who walks through central park at night and gets raped is not truly a victim? That's sick.

    But fine, you think these kids had it coming to them? You think they had it coming to them?

    - What about the 14 year old girl who got beat up 1 1/2 yrs ago?
    -What about the two teens who were innocently sitting on the steps on a Friday night in OUR neighborhood who were threatened?
    - What about the 3 FRUM women I know personally, who have been spit on in the last year?
    - What about the guy in RBS B who tried to work toward a peaceful solution who had his car totaled and was sent to the hospital?
    - What about the kids on a school who were terrorized when Chareidim stoned their bus?
    - What about all the flags we've had stolen from our cars PARKED IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSES?

    These are only the very few things I can remember on the spot or know about.

    You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

    You want to apply the same rule to everyone fine. Let's at least apply the simple rule of law to these terrorists. But like all terrorists their very behavior makes it a whole cost/benefit analysis every the police need to take action. The losers are always regular normal, well behaved people.

    And by the way, I don't agree with you that if vandalizing Chareidim had the crap beaten out of them they would deserve it. That ideology makes you almost as bad as them.

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  52. As I have argued on Emes-Ve'Emunah, the way this issue should be dealt with is by viewing it through the
    paradigm of 'the rule of law' as opposed to a clash of civilizations. If you break the law, you get fined or sent to jail. Put up CCTV cameras, catch these guys - inspect the curricula in their schools, get evidence of their rabbis inciting to violence, and send them to jail. Of course they should not be attacked - vigilantism will just allow them to view themselves as a side in a conflict when in truth they are simply rogues and criminals, as are any rabbis that approve of them. A good start would be to close down any educational institutions that teach active disrespect for the law and the institutions of the state (such as a school where the flag has been burnt). As far as I am aware, there is a sovereign government in Israel - and no entities which actively seek to bring down the government should be tolerated. In the same way that I would expect Islamist preachers of hate in the UK to be jailed, and their schools shut down, there is no reason for Israel to be any different.

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  53. J, you're logically correct, however implementation is not so easy. Ever see Steve Emerson's documentary "Jihad in America"? And that was done many years ago. The Saudi's are funding Wahabi eduction all over the US, all over the West.

    Remember when Mayor Dinkins told the police to lay off and he allowed the Crown Heights riots to go on for days?

    Every policing action, especially against well-organized, ideologically fanatic people, carries a cost. In Beit Shemesh it takes virtually the entire police dept. to secure the arrest of one Chareidi.

    I'm not saying this is right, it's just the reality of making choices. We really could use Rudy Guiliani here for a while. There's a lot to be said for consistently enforcing basic laws, but it takes will, manpower, and money.

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  54. >>Again, so according to you a woman who walks through central park at night and gets raped is not truly a victim? That's sick.


    Is she walking alone? Is she attractive? It may sound sick to you, but that's what the Torah that I learn says. See Devarim 22:23,24 and Rashi on pasuk 23.(Hat tip to Rabbi Hirshman and his essay at http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/2009/03/absolving-casualty-torahs-perspective.html)

    >>But fine, you think these kids had it coming to them?

    Chill out. My terminonlogy "had it coming" was a bit slangy and was not meant to imply that it is "deserved". What it meant is that they are not brain-dead and they know that their activities can lead to a confrontation - deserved or not - and they could take steps to avoid it and don't bother to do so. This applies to the lady who gets raped in Central Park (who I think is brain-dead if she is attractive and goes out alone) as per the Rashi in Devarim quoted above.

    >>What about...What about...?

    I am not a dayan. But if I was I would tell you, bring me a case, let's hear exactly what happened and I will judge accordingly. You may not think so, but I'm pretty fair (though not the fairest of them all)! What I am actually "fighting" about on these blogs (and the point I wish to impress) is that we should cut out this public "trial by media hearsay" Which it is evident that Rabbi Slifkin and Rabbi Maryles and perhaps yourself are party to.

    >>You want to apply... well behaved people.

    Huh?

    >>And by the way, I don't agree with you that if vandalizing Chareidim had the crap beaten out of them they would deserve it. That ideology makes you almost as bad as them.

    Again, I didn't write the term "deserved it". That's your term. I used the term "had it coming" and I meant it in the context that I just explained - that they are guilty of (knowingly) putting themselves in a situation where a confrontation is liable to happen.

    G-d decides what people deserve, not me. I only evaluate what is liable to happen if people (chareidi or not) act like jerks. Thus, the attractive woman who goes out alone in Central Park does not "deserve" to get raped (unless G-d thinks so) but she is certainly liable to get raped.

    It may do you good to read Rabbi Hirhman's essay.

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  55. You're being a bit too talmudic/legalistic about this in the way you're parsing things up.

    The bottom line is that we have a group of individuals who are violating Torah and local law. Their actions fit the exact definition of terror.

    Let's not obfuscate the issue by trying to mitigate the behavior.

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  56. >>Their actions fit the exact definition of terror.


    You still didn't read R' Hirshman's essay.

    Though you might be right in a few isolated cases, but then we are back to saying it's the work of a handful of lunatics, something that our esteemed blog host doesn't want to admit.

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  57. Anon, I think I see that you mean well, but your attitude is part of the problem. In NON of the cases we discussed should there be a discussion of "provocation". We are talking about the behavior of people in a civilized society.

    A society cannot function if a group of people violates the law at every perceived sleight. It's much worse when the group manufactures their own reasons to feel sleighted.

    Again just compare them to the Islamists who threaten to kill people for drawing pictures or otherwise defaming Mohhamed.

    Your line of reasoning allows some justification, no matter how small, for the Fatwas and murders that have resulted.

    Reasonable people have reasonable discussions about what offends them and try to work out solutions. Unreasonable make demands and leave no room for compromise. That's what we're dealing with here.

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  58. then we are back to saying it's the work of a handful of lunatics, something that our esteemed blog host doesn't want to admit.

    He won't admit it because it's a false assumption. In our area we know who's behind it. There's a whole structure. There are rabbinic leaders who instigate, there are "troop" leaders who command, and there are the drones who carry out the deeds.

    Our Rav met with their "Mafia Don" Rabbi. He claims to control 7 buildings full of people. That's about 100 apartments. And that's just in one little corner of RBS B. Does that sound like a "handful" to you?

    And that's without even going into the numbers of people in Bet who wouldn't directly perpetrate these acts but who are nevertheless pleased with the results.

    Who's R. Hirshman and where can I find this essay?

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  59. The police and the national govt would like nothing better than for the charedim and dati leumi to beat each other and destroy one another. Actually the bigger threat, the dati leumi, is their preferred victim and if it has to be charedim instead of armored policemen on horses, they'll take that.

    Let's keep in mind 2 factors in play here, 1. we need to bridge the gaps between these religious groups and try to breed harmony rather than enmity (crushing the extremists may be part of that, but that will also require careful diplomacy with their rabbis and authority figures to rein them in perhaps), and 2. The govt authorities have proven they can't be relied upon. So we must actively teach our men and women self defense. These things are clear to me.

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  60. Unfortunately, I'm almost certain that R' Slifkin is right that this trend will bring about somebody's death.

    I once read a book called "What Cops Know." In it, police officers talked about their experiences.

    One comment from the book sticks out in my mind. The officer said that most murderers never meant to be murderers. They meant to beat somebody up. It went to far. "Honestly, Officer. I didn't mean to kill her. I just wanted to teach her a lesson."

    They're murderers just the same. I hope R' Slifkin is wrong. I just don't think he is.

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  61. "Yerachmiel Lopin said...
    There is an obvious flaw in chareidi education. Like, did they never learn Hillel's dictum about treating others the way you want to be treated."

    today, a hareidi guy translated "ve'ahavta lerei'acha kamocha" for me. "love your friends when they are like you."
    i wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

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  62. I have many friends in Ramat Bet Shemesh, and I have seen 3 facebook updates regarding someone coming home with stitches or bruises in the past 2 weeks.

    These are not "isolated" cases. And the people of ramat bet Shemesh need to stand up and do something.

    Its reminding me of the fights with the guys from Niveh in Ben Yehudah.

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  63. >>Who's R. Hirshman and where can I find this essay?

    He wrote a book about chareidim called One Above and Seven Below which I found to be fascinating and a bit funny.

    Then he started a blog called Achas L'Maala V'sheva L'matta (which is Hebrew for One Above and Seven Below). He and Harry Maryles are at each other's throats.

    He posted the link to his essay on Maryles's blog. I already copied it into an earlier comment (to you) but I'll doit again with a link tab:

    http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/2009/03/absolving-casualty-torahs-perspective.html

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  64. Student V is absolutely right...the anti-religious elements in the gov't and Establishment would like nothing better than to have the DL's and Haredim go at each other...they have already done so in handing the Chief Rabbinate over to the Haredim who don't even recognize its authority. They view the Haredim as their allies in weaking the DL's because of our (DL) attachment to Eretz Israel.
    Also it is important to remember that the political echelons are automatically going to care more about Haredi opinion than ours because their people vote as a bloc whereas DL's are independent as individuals. That is why, in the Knesset the Haredim have immense power whereas the National Religious have pretty much been wiped off the map, seeing as how their spread their votes over many parties, most of which seem to take those votes for granted, especially the Likud.

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  65. Hirshman's essay is cute. I'm knowledgeable enough to argue with his halachic conclusions, though as always is the case, I'm sure it's not quite as clear-cut as he makes it seem.

    However, his definitions are HIGHLY subjective. And it brings us back full circle to allowing the terrorist define the terms.

    According to Hirshman, virtually no terror victim in Israel is truly a "victim" since the terrorists define our being here as a provocation. You realize how bizarre that is? If a woman is walking on the sidewalk in our neighborhood, but in view of theirs and she's not dressed according to their absurd Tznious rules then, according to Hirshman, she's not really a victim.

    If a person in my neighborhood has a TV in his living which the terrorists can only see is on, but can't see what's on it, yet this violates some irrational sense of theirs, then, again, by Hirshman's definition when the terrorist threatens to beat him up he's not really a "victim".

    He did get one thing right. The Chareidi fanatics squarely fit his definition of terrorist.

    This essay serves no useful purpose and is, in fact, detrimental. All it can do is to further empower of bunch of very sick people.

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  66. Menachem Lipkin,

    You could argue further and say that according to Hirshman unless you denounce being jewish, there are no victims of anti-semitism. A person who's property is stolen is not a victim, only a casualty because by having the property accessible to a thief, they enabled the thief to take it.

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  67. The best thing about Natan's write up and and Harry's follow up is the absence of a certain word.
    That word whether in the singular or plural, or whether preceeded with a c or not needs to be retired.
    Unfortunately it is overused in the comments. Those who use it cheapen true fear of G-d.
    The 1a7b site is doing a poor job of defending those whom he purports to defend, and positions some of us as fanatics and others as less than committed Jews.
    The use of 1a7b from the Yom Kippur Kohain Gadol service probably has every worthy Kohain Gadol that ever did the Yom Kippur service from Aaron onwards "spinning in the grave"!!!

    Dallas Jew

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  68. I live in an Arab neighborhood. This type of incident sounds familiar, though in our neck of the woods it's Arabs doing the attacking. Both groups use violence against Jews in the name of God.

    All of you commenters are acting like typical religious Jews: pontificating and discussing the various aspects of this incident. There's nothing to discuss: you don't take the "law," however you perceive it, into your own hands. And you definitely don't attack someone because you're angry. That comparison someone made to kids is nonsense. Adults should know better than kids and be able to control themselves and not hit in response to an upsetting incident.

    Shame on the Haredim for acting on part with sonei Yisrael. Shame on their leaders for not speaking out against it. And don't take the writer to task for predicting death: the trend shows that's the direction. It's a miracle no one was killed this time. If you don't want him to be right, speak out.

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  69. Advice for next Yom Tkumath Yisrael (Yom Haatzmaut):

    Anybody who will be driving through RBS-Bet should place flags on their car and on the flags extremely potent glue. When some little fanatical rascals come to grab the flags off your car at an intersection they will find themselves "attached" to the Israeli flag.

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  70. Actually there's a substance called "Off mipoh" which is made for getting rid of pigeons which is ideal.

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  71. I am willing to consider other suggestions? What does "Oof MiPoh" do? Does it also glue the target? I am not suggesting we poison the target. :)

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  72. In today's "Israel HaYom" newspaper, there was an article about Haredi extremism regarding Yom HaZikaron (memorial day) and Yom Ha'atzmaut in Meah Shearim. The significan thing is that they reported that the Agudat Israel newspaper (HaModia) had an article strongly denouncing those extremists who insist on antagonizing those who are standing at attention for the sirens or flying flags is important. At least this is a start.

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  73. Glue Your FlagsMay 1, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    My feeling is that the Haredi world is splitting-one portion getting more fanatical and one portion going in a milder direction such as the Tov party in Ramat Beth Shemesh.

    Perhaps we should be condemning the fanatics and encouraging the Tov-types.

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  74. Regarding 1a7b's essay on incitement, it doesn't fit the facts. In one case, when a Jr-High aged girl from my neighborhood was beaten up, the group she was with was walking through RBS-B very quietly, and the boys and girls in the group separated and walked on 2 sides of the street so as not to offend neighborhood norms by walking together. All the girls were dressed tzanua, although perhaps without long stockings.

    This is not about incitement and it's not about halacha, it's about a power conflict, pure and simple.

    As for 1a7b, it's written by an American living in a largely American-Chareidi neighborhood similar to RBS-A, and he has no direct experience with the kinds of thuggery that's going on.

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  75. Let's face the facts..the kitzonim have the silent support of much more of the "mainstream" Anglo charedi community.

    Two years ago you reported on Life in Israel about a Melave Malka for a new Kupa in the Kirya/RBSB. This is the Kupa of the kitzonim. Who was the guest speaker?

    Rabbi Shmuel Eidensohn of Kupa Shel Tzedaka of RBSA and I quote:

    "Rav Eidensohn, who heads the kupa of RBSA, spoke last Motzei Shabbos at the inaugural dinner of the hooligan kupa. (not last night's kupa shel Tzdaka dinner - this happened the week before) This gives them great legitimacy because he heads the Kupa of RBS A which does great work and already is a large organization with a great reputation.

    When asked why he was going to be speaking there (someone present at the conversation told me) considering it gives legitimacy to the hooligans and they will use it to control their neighborhood even though they are a minority within it, he responded that he has to give them legitimacy because otherwise RBS will become too modern."

    This comes from a man in RBSA who has the support of many in the Anglo Charedi crowd.

    It is Rabbi Eidensohn's "friends" who did this to these kids.

    Perhaps he feels that by beating up our teens that too will prevent RBSA from coming "too modern".

    Realize that there are some people who have a sweet face but really want RBS to change into a full Charedi city..at any cost.

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  76. Let me start by saying I don't condone violence, and what happened here is awful and I believe it wrong that the residents beat up these kids! As far as the teens quietly walking through the neighborhood walking home, I am not so sure how valid that is... If you take 8-10 teenagers walking home from a Yom Hatzmaut party, flags raised (around their shoulders), noise levels high, through a chareidi neighborhood... These kids were putting a huge stumbling block in front of these people in Bet. they were walking through their neighborhood which is strictly Chareidi. The people in that Ramat beit Shemesh bet chose to live in a Chareidi neighborhood and for these kids to walk girls and boys together as they did is not acceptable... Finished. Instead of making it a Chareidi versus Dati Leumi versus anything else, I think that parents need to teach their children to respect other people...

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  77. Question: Why aren't you advocating for a civilian police force? Why don't you have patrols of DL men with various implements (baseball bats, Dogs, etc.) who will act as a deterrent to these thugs?

    Yes violence, especially Jew to Jew, is disgusting. But there is a time and place for everything and I DO believe that if you feel that somebody is going to be killed that all steps must be taken to prevent such a thing from happening.

    Hashem Yishmor

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  78. " It may sound sick to you, but that's what the Torah that I learn says."

    For people like you the Torah cries.

    Oy for the Torah you "learned".

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