Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Stay In Bet Shemesh?

Well, the results of the election are in. And unfortunately, they are not good. Charedi incumbent Moshe Abutbol won the election by 1800 votes, which is at least 9 people (ba-da-bum!).

A local dati-leumi rabbi just shared a thought: Perhaps we, the supporters of Eli Cohen, could have been victorious had we employed the tactics of Moshe Abutbol and his supporters:
  • Illegally recruiting schools and children into the campaign;
  • Using Holocaust imagery to portray the other side;
  • Having a team of people working on collecting identity cards to vote multiple times;
  • Using municipal resources to further our own campaign and harm that of others;
  • Lying to Gedolei HaDor in order to recruit their support;
  • Capitalizing on rabbinic authority to intimidate people into accepting our voting directive;
  • Driving around the neighborhood, blasting out prayers over loudspeakers describing the opposing campaign as the enemy of the Jewish People;
  • Creating pseudo-religious methods of manipulating votes;
  • Having community rabbis use their public forum for sharing divrei Torah to instead engage in political campaigning;
  • Convincing local physicians to compromise their professionalism and capitalize upon it in a misleading way;
  • Making posters depicting Abutbol side-by-side with the violent extremists who support him, just as Abutbol made posters depicting Eli Cohen side-by-side with Lapid;
  • Claiming the support of rabbis on the other "team," even when this is entirely false.
But, continued the rabbi, we have our Jewish ethical values, which we stuck to, and can be proud of. Better to lose the election and maintain one's integrity and values, than to win the elections by compromising them.

Those were his thoughts. But, I was thinking, where does that leave me? How can I live in a city which is on a track of accelerating charedization, where the Israeli flag is routinely ripped off my car, where charedim try to forcibly prevent everything from restaurants with outside seating to public exercise equipment, where the mayor and mainstream Anglo-charedi rabbonim refuse to take a stand against violent extremists and treat the dati-leumi population with a complete lack of respect, and where in the future, the position of mayor will simply be determined by the askanim? Why stay in Bet Shemesh?

Pondering my options, I thought about friends of mine who have gone into kiruv, outreach. True, it's a difficult lifestyle. You are living in an environment that does not reflect Torah values. You and your children are in contact with Jews who have no idea what Judaism is about. But, as everyone appreciates, it's valuable to make such a sacrifice in order to be able to inspire and educate others towards a true Torah lifestyle.

I've decided that I want to do that.

And so I'm staying in Ramat Bet Shemesh.

Ramat Bet Shemesh is a wonderful opportunity for kiruv! Here, one is surrounded by people who are unfortunately unaware of correct Torah values. They go against Chazal's directives about how one should work rather than live off charity, and about how one must educate one's children to be able to support themselves. They don't know how to act with derech eretz towards people from different communities. They don't understand the responsibilities of being part of Am Yisrael.

It's a great opportunity to inspire and educate them! We can show them that there are good Jews and Torah scholars who wear colored shirts and even kipot srugot. We can show them how to lead life as a Jew with Torah values - working for a living, contributing towards the nation. We can show them wonderful shuls. We can show them the benefits of charity organizations that lead people towards independence, with the help of social workers and other professionals, rather than fostering dependence. We can show them the benefits of child-protection services that report to the authorities rather than to rabbis. We can show them wonderful yeshivot that combine Torah with chessed and Zionism. We can show them how dedication to one's community and even having political goals does not need to mean compromising integrity, ahavat Yisrael or derech eretz.

Plus, it's not as though I'm all alone here. About 47% of the city shares this outlook. I live in a wonderful neighborhood with terrific like-minded people who proudly fly the Israeli flag. I teach in a fantastic dati-leumi American yeshivah. There are at least a dozen wonderful dati-leumi and charedi-lite shuls. There are excellent dati-leumi schools for my kids. Each year, there are people in the charedi community here (often Anglo immigrants) who, like I did a few years ago, suddenly realize, What on earth have I gotten myself into?, and want to jump ship to join the dati-leumi community. We need to maintain our framework for absorbing them.

Here is a quote from one of the comments to this post, written by a neighbor of mine who inspired me towards this line of thought:
My close friend and I have been saying that for all these years. While some friends sought out "emotional comfort" in all dati-leumi communities, we chose to stay here and to be involved. (She started the local mo'etzet nashim which unites women from literally ALL communities.)
We are here because we don't live in Israel in order to hide among people who are "like us." We are here to interact with people who think differently, who make us have to check and recheck our values regularly, and people whom we can, b'ezrat Hashem, teach by example what Torah and Yir'at Shamayim is all about.
I am proud of my children for taking up the challenge, for being active and involved, for getting others involved, for recognizing that elections are not just about RBS , to which perhaps Abutbul will tend as he has so many supporters here, but rather that elections are about the Vatikim, the Olim from Russia and Ethiopia, the elderly, the children with Special Needs, the handicapped, and so many more.
I sincerely believe that we are capable of continuing to work together, as Eli truly got us to do, with Jews of all stripes, to find the common ground...

Yes, I'm happy to live in Ramat Bet Shemesh. It's a wonderful environment and opportunity to bring people closer to Judaism.


78 comments:

  1. So you're saying we DL's shouldn't selfishly treat ourselves as the Sheairis Hapleita and give up on our misguided brethren?

    Interesting concept.

    I already tried this once in Har Nof. Didn't work.

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  2. You hit the nail on the head...

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  3. While I admire your idealism, being ‘mekarev’ the extremist/haredi elements of BS/RBS is a much tougher task than being mekarev unaffiliated Jews. Consider:
    - Unaffiliated Jews are usually uneducated about religion and, depending on the individual, are willing to look at Judaism with an open mind and sincere curiosity. Haredim are already convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are correct and that anyone who disagrees with them are goyim.
    - Haredim listen to their ‘gedolim’, which defines ‘Daas Torah’ – why should they listen to you? What is there that you can teach them that their gedolim can’t?
    - Haredim are fighting a ‘war on Torah’ – anyone who even insinuates that they should change their lifestyle, i.e. - leave the Beis Medrash, work for a living, contribute to the army - is Amalek. Therefore, all of the tactics which they invoked towards winning this election are completely justified. The ends justify the means.

    Very difficult to ‘inspire and educate’ people such as this. Good luck, though.

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  4. You're one of kind! Keep plugging away.

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  5. JJ - I'm not talking about being mekarev the extremists. That's hopeless. I'm talking about the moderate charedim - in particular, the Anglos, who move to Israel and fall for the myth that Charedim is the True Torah Approach.

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  6. My close friend (MS) and I have been saying that for all these years. While some friends sought out "emotional comfort" in all dati-leumi communities, we chose to stay here and to be involved. (She started the local mo'etzet nashim which unites women from literally ALL communities.)
    We are here because we don't live in Israel in order to hide among people who are "like us." We are here to interact with people who think differently, who make us have to check and recheck our values regularly, and people whom we can BEH teach by example what Torah and Yir'at Shamayim is all about.
    I am proud of my children for taking up the challenge, for being active and involved, for getting others involved, for recognizing that elections are not just about RBS , to which perhaps Abutbul will tend as he has so many supporters here, but rather that elections are about the Vatikim, the Olim from Russia and Ethiopia, the elderly, the children with Special Needs, the handicapped, and so many more.
    I sincerely believe that we are capable of continuing to work together, as Eli truly got us to do, with Jews of all stripes, to find the common ground and to ensure that in this term of office, Abutbul play by the rules, and not play favourites.

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  7. And here are my thoughts...

    It's a tough morning in Bet Shemesh for many people as the corrupt, immoral, and unethical incumbent was re-elected. But as my friend and neighbor Yehoshua Hershberg pointed out, this is and will be, for while at least, a great place to live. After all we've suffered mayors like this for quite some time and the city's inertia keeps it moving forward in many positive ways.

    The real issue for me, and should be for many, is that Judaism's growing fanatic fundamentalist wing got a real boost. These are people who have no scruples as we understand them. They believe that they have the one and only "truth" and it comes straight from their god. In such a world view the ends easily justify the means, which is why they cynically lied to and manipulated venerated nonagenarian rabbis, had no issue perpetrating massive voter fraud, unabashedly lied about the challenger, played with the minds of the blindly faithful, and so much more. (Note: I'm not talking about Chareidim in general, just the religious fanatics who hide among them.)

    The hopeful silver lining will be that greater Israel will see us as the canary in the coal mine and double down their efforts to amputate the tentacles of religious fundamentalism that have been creeping its way into our society. The Rabbanut needs to be either eliminated or emasculated, coercive religious laws must be eliminated, and it would probably be a good idea to have a constitution to enshrine basic freedoms and civil rights against any future onslaught.

    So, yes, the sun is shining, we took our happy children to gan, and we went off to work just like any other day. And tomorrow will pretty much be the same. We have the daily wonder of living in this amazing country that has accomplished so much so quickly and under such difficult circumstances. We are among the happiest, healthiest, and longest living people in the world. Let's work to keep it that way.

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  8. Methinks the rav doth protest too much.

    Not to mention the fact that all your careful kiruv will be a drop in the ocean compared to all the careful 'richuk' work that you detailed in the first part of your post.

    I'm happy you are happy there, but for the life of me, you won't get me moving anywhere near there. and i wonder about all those new upcoming places like ganei ela. will people considering moving there now want to reconsider, given that RBS is only going to get worse in the next five years?

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  9. Their richuk makes our kiruv easier. Plenty of people in the chareidi community have been turned off the charedi world as a result of the disgusting campaign.

    And as regards the numbers - "one who saves one life, it is as though he has saved an entire world."

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  10. I think you will end up being very frustrated even if your target is "moderate" Anglo chareidim. Most people do not think for themselves particularly when it comes to religion. Unfortunate but that's the reality. You can talk logic until you're blue in the face and not make a dent because the people you are talking to are not making decisions based on logic.

    For example, you can come up with every proof there is that the universe is more than 6,000 years old and you will not convince anyone who *believes* otherwise. Your proofs are of no consequence. They don't matter because they believe that you are saying something that is against the Torah and the "Gedolim" disagree with you.

    The only possibility of success IMHO is to lead an exemplary lifestyle especially full of gemilas chassadim to show that you can have a differing opinion and still be a tzadik. Then, maybe, just maybe, people who are open to begin with, may be open to your views as well.

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  11. While I admire the idealistic views being expressed here, I must confess that I could not remain in a place like Beit Shemesh because I would find it spiritually debilitating. I find just getting through life while attempting to be an observant Jew enough of a challenge without the great stresses these ongoing, day-to-day confrontations with extremists cause. I live in a different town where there is a mixed secular, dati-leumi and haredi community where people get along with each other, and where, frankly, the haredim "know their place" and do not attempt to force their values on everyone else. However, when we made aliyah 27 years ago, we at first joined a mixed haredi-dati leumi synagogue. Things were at first quiet, but then the 1988 elections hit with the split between Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah which was just as ugly as what we saw recently in Beit Shemesh. Since we were members of this particular shul, we found disgusting election propagand every day in our mailbox. After that blew over, it was decided to introduce a modified prayer for the IDF (not the official one said in DL shuls) which removed any reference to the IDF, but only referred to "soldiers" which was explained to the haredim in the shul, was referring to kollel avreichim (!?). In spite of the compromise, there were some haredim who led the prayers who would mumble it, or say it extrememly fast, which led to outbursts from the audience. Every week, one would feel tension, in anticipation of what would happen. I can not pray with a peaceful mind in such an atmosphere and we left that shul. I now go to a DL shul where I am very comfortable. The same can be said of living in a city with tension like RBS has and I fully understand those who throw in the towel and look for a better, spiritually more fulfilling location. It is not any particular individual's job to push himself into an unpleasant situation with the idea that he is going to "straighten out" Am Israel. Being a Ben-Adam and trying to live up to the deamnds of the Torah is enough of a challenge.

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  12. R nosson I love your posts and all but with all due respect this is from the worst cop outs I ever saw evrey kiruv actavist will tell you that the first step in being mekarev people is to genuinly respect those people and there abilaty to make there own desicions your condesnding veiw towards charidim (which is quite justified) will have to be changed. I see this post as more of a despart lunge to try to defend a bad desision you are making out of fear from?

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    1. Ha ha kiruv activist respect the people? Realy? If they respected them the wouldnt leave out half the picture when bringing people onboard . Can you imagine buying a sports car with faulty breaks. It doesnt help to lie its not about the numbers. So now because these kiruv activists taught the bal thehsuva with 4th grade philosophical level learning . You have a bunch of spiritually stunted people.

      Delete
  13. One thing is completely clear. Irrelevant of your strain of religiosity, YOU CANNOT SPEAK LOSHON HARA. That's the bottom line and in this article you did. There is no excuse but everyone else is. So they are doing something wrong, You don't have to be a lemming!!!!!!!!!

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    1. One thing is completely clear. Irrelevant of your strain of religiosity, YOU CANNOT SPEAK LOSHON HARA. That's the bottom line and in this article you did. There is no excuse but everyone else is. So they are doing something wrong, You don't have to be a lemming!!!!!!!!!"
      I think all the people who scream lashin haro should voluntarly sign up for stitching their mouths shut. Like thus theur is no possibility of talking badly.
      Everybody can tell talking loshan hara to some degree is part of human nature.thats why we our leaders have tried to curtail it through out time.
      Not all semi lashan hara is created equal. You cant have people saying lashan hara about dl and then when they fight back with their wit and words call it lasha hara . I I mean common thats weak

      Delete

  14. It's always amusing how people pull out the "Lashon hara!" card when they are uncomfortable with what you are saying.

    Binyomin, lashon hara is permitted letoeles. Or is it forbidden to talk about how Conservative and Reform suffer large rates of intermarriage?

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  15. The charedi community embarrassed itself over the last few weeks leading up to election, not just in Beit SHemesh, but even more so in the battles between the different factions, especially Bnei Torah vs. Degel. And now this morning Rav Steinman was physically assaulted by an avrech from Kiryat Sefer http://www.kikarhashabat.co.il/נחצה-קו-אדום-אברך-ניסה-לתקוף-א.html.

    This is just not the religion I practice, and I think Rabbi Slifkin is right that these people need kiruv every bit as much as unaffiliated Jews.

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  16. Wow! This is so good.. this article is total emotion, no brains....
    Seeing your posts, it makes Abutbul's victory so much tastier.
    You had the chutzpa to answer Rabbi M (and at the same time making a super fool of yourself in front of all shul members), the one Rabbi who backed you all along didn't deserve a response from you at all, it should have been left for another loser to answer, the fact you apologized twice in the article is a joke, you stab and then apologize :(. (You proved the entire article was spot on)
    You lost, don't be a sore loser, bite the bullet and shut up (as many promised if Eli lost - leave the city and go to a place where you are guaranteed a secular mayor)
    As for your Dati Leumi Rabbi Friend - this was a great slap for all those Rabbi's - the truth prevailed (a Chilul H-shem was made and tshuva is definitely on the cards).
    The Tov party is also another good slap - lets call it "reform charedism" lost.
    How should I sign off?
    I'm an Anglo, Charedi, not pissed at the charedim, full day working guy, the second riddle of Rabbi Ma., not totally black & white but totally self confidant of who I am (with no need for backing from the ultra B&W), accepting of the gedolim (without saying their misinformed) hopeful for more good things (better than last term) from Mayor Abutbul (and extremely happy for the success of a Charedi Mayoral win especially after watching the past year turn into a chardei bashing agenda government - supported by some self hating charedim - know Rabbi DL??)

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  17. The charedim tell us that they should be funded and excused from the army because they do the critical work of keeping our Torah tradition alive. Well if that's the case, then we have every right to ask whether their behavior is truly in line with the Torah tradition that they claim to be upholding. The type of conduct we've seen over the last few weeks leaves little doubt that this is not the case.

    And nobody can tell me it's the evil secular media portraying a negative image. It was by reading bechadrei charedim and kikar Shabbos that I got nauseous reading about what's been going on in the charedi velt. An absolute chilul Shem Shamayim and disgrace to the legacy of the avos and imahos about whom we are reading in the Torah this time of year.

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  18. Yehudis Jay... if you only knew how many shul members wrote to me to say that they agreed with me, but are too afraid to say so... But I really don't think that it's a good idea to bring all that up in this forum.

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  19. What you all are forgetting is that Bet Shemesh is not just the Ramats. There are a whole lot of us who live in "Old Bet Shemesh" and I think most of us voted for Eli. We're not all chilonim either. I have not spoken to one person from the Rema who even knows my street or the closest main street, Rambam, on which the buses from the Rema run. I think you need to seceed and form a new municipality and deal with your internal problems yourselves. We are the forgotten down here. Eli Cohen lives here and he could become OUR mayor. Maybe when you truly embrace ALL Jews including the Ethiopians, Sephardim and less frum, and not just use one for your political purposes, maybe Hashem will credit your hesed to your merit and grant you relief from the erev rav.
    .

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  20. Natan - Sadly, I think my post applies to much of the mainstream haredi world and not just the extremists. Just take a look at Yehudis Jay's babbling rant, as well as how many actually voted for Abutbul :-(

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  21. There is something to be said for a yishuv kehilati.

    There is a sometimes rigorous acceptance process, involving interviews with the vaad hayishuv, kehila members, and when applicable, the rav and even the moetza. (I realize this concept of a vetting process to be accepted into a community is somewhat "offensive" for someone coming from a culture where "anyone has the right to live anywhere.")

    It can be devastating not to be accepted. However, this vetting process is mostly to weed out crazies, and to ensure that hashkafically, that people are more or less on the same page. If you don't get accepted, chances are you would not have been happy in that community because it wouldn't have been a good fit, so it's really gam zu l'tova. If you do get accepted, you will be in an environment where people hold by the same values you hold dear.

    This does not necessarily mean that everyone votes the same way or educates their children in the same school. (There are several "mixed" communities out there)

    Usually in such communities, there is less machloket (but admittedly people are people, and they might disagree about other things).

    There are many such yishuvim around the country, especially in the Negev and the Galil (within the Green Line) and in Yesha. And, it's a benefit for Israel to get these places more populated, so you are really helping the "yishuv haaretz" concept. Relationships between people tend to be very close, and there is usually a very good quality of life in terms of air quality, no traffic, and wide open space for kids to play without danger. Many religious Jews seem to feel that one has to live in a city, yet with Kvish Shesh and the train, the entire country is more accessible and shopping and other conveniences are no longer as challenging as they once were for someone living in a bedroom suburb or more rural area. And yes, there are always kiruv opportunities, even in places that are less populated.

    I have lived in places that were lovely, but hashkaficaly not a good fit, and I can tell you from experience that it is emotionally exhausting being the odd man out. Once you move to a community that is a better fit for you, you will look back and realize that your energies could have been much better spent, especially for your family's sake. You just don't begin to realize how much this takes out of you when you are immersed in it, until you step away from it.

    So, fight the good fight, do what you need to do, but realize that "quitting" does not mean "losing" - it may in fact mean quite the opposite for you and your family.

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  22. Stay because you want to stay, or leave. But don't fool yourself into thinking that anyone from any of the Haredi / Hassidiche communities will be at all interested in anything that you have got to say. Unlike you, they moved to Bet Shemesh to live amongst their own kind, and only their own kind. What interests them is what the Rebbe Zocht. A man of your evident talent can positively affect the minds of hundreds of like-minded people whom you needn't waste time convincing that the essence of man is not found in his shirt colour. What has happened to bet shemesh in my opinion is appalling. In fact it is tragic. It is typical of people like yourself who will think about self improvement first and criticism last. Alas, the Haredi of today is not the Haredi of thirty years ago, who saw no shame in working, who had a cousin or two in the army, who went to the bar mitzvah or wedding of their mizrachi relatives or whose grandparents might even have avoided saying Tahanun on Yom Haatzmaut. Haredim today are caught in a cycle of bad education (if you can call it education) poverty and extreme jealousy. They are at the mercy of cynical askanim who think nothing of lying to their leaders, who then make bizarre public rulings to which they must keep. After all, who are they to argue?! I've argued that the dati leumi, modern orthodox, post Haredim, whatever you want to call them, should be taking a far more aggressive and cynical position in Bet Shemesh. But most argue that they want to sleep well at night knowing that they have behaved in a fashion that will make their children proud. Fair enough. But don't waste your time with people who think nothing of treating you with malice and ill will. Live by example and pray that they will come to you.

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  23. If it's any comfort:

    1. Shas probably won't exist by the end of this year.

    2. In Beit Shemesh, they held on to what they already had. It's in other cities that they lost big time. In Jerusalem, they failed to unseat Barkat, they gained very little in the council (even with R' Ovadiah's death) and Deri and Lieberman are now probably anathema to Bibi. In Elad, Shas lost to the Ashkenazi Charedim.

    3. The Charedi breakoffs didn't do so well, but the cracks are forming and atmosphere is really poisoned already.

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  24. I am looking forward to joining the community you advertised at the bottom (Mishkafayim). I still identify as Chareidi and see my own goal of educating the as-of-yet undamned in the extremist society you so loathe as well as the rest of the secular world that Yerushalmi Chareidi / old-school living has nothing to do with this culture of riots and handouts and misery

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  25. Rabbi Slifkin,

    What type of group can we form as the 15,000 residents of Beit Shemesh that need some representation in our city?

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  26. Avi, I hate to say it, but anyone who has to qualify their position by stating that "they identify as Charedi" is still part of the problem. What, exactly, makes you Charedi? Who did you vote for?

    And anyone who can idealize "Yerushalmi Charedi" as opposed to the current crop is ignorant of history.

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  27. Sorry, I don't buy this post for a minute. You're staying for one reason - because Ramat Beit Shemesh is a great place to live, and you know it! It's not 1/100th as negative as you portrayed it this past month, trying to gain votes for Eli.

    And probably because it is a great forum for you to continue speaking lashon hora against the chareidim. Were you to move to Gush or Raanana or Yad Binyamin, what negative posts could you possibly find to write, when all your neighbors are just like you??

    Stick around and keep up the good work - I'm sure it will help bring Moshiach faster.

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    1. Stick around and keep up the good work - I'm sure it will help bring Moshiach faster"
      Yeah and calling Torah observant Jews amaleik is going to bring moshiach? Double standerd much!

      Delete
  28. Having just gone through the elections in a city whose haredim are a minority and considerably more "moderate" in general (because the haredi rabbis are very smart, though not ideologically moderate), I thought a comparison might be in order. It's not the same where I live, and the most horrible stuff isn't here, but there are still some striking similarities:

    *Illegally recruiting schools and children into the campaign;
    Yes.

    *Using Holocaust imagery to portray the other side;
    No.

    *Having a team of people working on forging identity cards to vote multiple times;
    *No.

    *Using municipal resources to further our own campaign and harm that of others;
    Yes.

    *Lying to Gedolei HaDor in order to recruit their support;
    No.

    *Capitalizing on rabbinic authority to intimidate people into accepting our voting directive;
    Yes (you better not disobey Rav Ovadia's dying wish and commandment...)

    *Driving around the neighborhood, blasting out prayers over loudspeakers describing the opposing campaign as the enemy of the Jewish People;
    No.

    *Creating pseudo-religious methods of manipulating votes;
    No.

    *Having community rabbis use their public forum for sharing divrei Torah to instead engage in political campaigning;
    Yes.

    *Convincing local physicians to compromise their professionalism and capitalize upon it in a misleading way;
    Not exactly, here it is more like "we're not a haredi party because look at all the non-haredim who love us".

    *Making posters depicting Abutbol side-by-side with the violent extremists who support him, just as Abutbol made posters depicting Eli Cohen side-by-side with Lapid;
    *Well, here it is claiming that the other party is awful because of whom they are willing to speak to and associate with: The other religious party must be Reform or not even Jewish... We had an extremely disgusting event the night before the election where a sincere giyoret (#2 on the list) was advertised as a non-Jew (she belongs to a community that the rav ir doesn't like):
    **https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151927953543166&set=a.10150523315793166.397776.703148165&type=1&theater
    **http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPcMR8yaSuY&feature=youtu.be

    *Claiming the support of rabbis on the other "team," even when this is entirely false.
    In our case they claimed the support of RZ Knesset members who actually supported the other party.

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  29. For all those who agreed with R. Slifkin, him and you owe an apology to myself and teh chareidi world. You speak about us like you are the European settler speaking about the primitive American indians. yes, we are savages, ignorant, etc.. I am university educated and so are most of our Rbs A Chevra. Just because you disagree with our choices doesnt mean you should have a sel righteous attitude. I know PhD's and MD that voted abutbol.\All those who say he is corrupt, prove it. Are there people who might have done the wrong thing, of course, and on both sides. Most are not hooligans and Abutbol has not been indicted on corruption charges nor election rackateering. We, the "primitive" Charedim, with BA, MA and Phd's await your humble masters apology. Its pure Loshon hara what you, Lipkin and others wrote. Again, teh proof is in the pudding, show us the proof of the corruption.

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  30. Natan,

    That's awesome that you're staying, but your internal debate is something most of the daati/masorti/chiloni community of Beit Shemesh will also be having with themselves.

    And many will come to a different conclusion than you. And move out of Beit Shemesh.

    Not only will this reduce the non-Chareidi populace, but even moreso those who would have otherwise consider moving into the town will certainly keep away now. They aren't even foot-deep into it yet. They have every reason to find somewhere else.

    And, of course, the third factor that will increase the Chareidi majority is their phenomenal birth rate. They are winning in the maternity ward.

    These three factors point to an election in five years where any non-Chareidi candidate for mayor won't even have a realistic chance of winning. You might see a race where the two viable candidates are both Chareidi will little difference between them.

    Even the moderate so-called Chareidi TOV party lost the one representative they already had. The Chareidim increasing their ranks in Beis Shemesh are the right-wingers.

    There is no two ways about it.


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  31. How many Chareidim in Beit Shemesh have been "mekarev" by DL and moved towards a DL lifestyle over the past five years? You may find some if you look really hard enough but certainly not in any statistically significant numbers.

    It's good to have hope but reality is reality.

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  32. Democracy has failed us.

    It is time to rethink the system. A socialist State with an appointed mayor by the judges is the only solution. We will keep being outvotes as they are increasing their numbers.

    Imagine, in 5 years from now the mass of Chareidi 12-year old elementary school students (today) will be voting. Voting for them. They have many more 12-year olds, 13-year-old, 14-year-olds than us. We are in a lose-lose situation.

    We can run but we cannot hide.

    It is time to move on from democracy. It was good while it lasted. But the fun is over.

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  33. And I think they are winning more daati convertes to chareidism than daati are winning chareidi converts to daati/

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  34. I would encourage everyone to sell now before the real estate plunge when the real exodus starts getting underway. I don't even know who will buy at this point. Especially in neighborhoods that aren't yet Chareidi.

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  35. " How can I live in a city which is on a track of accelerating charedization, where the Israeli flag is routinely ripped off my car, where charedim try to forcibly prevent everything from restaurants with outside seating to public exercise equipment, where the mayor and mainstream Anglo-charedi rabbonim refuse to take a stand against violent extremists and treat the dati-leumi population with a complete lack of respect, and where in the future, the position of mayor will simply be determined by the askanim? Why stay in Bet Shemesh?" He sounds like this place is worse than living in Harlem. A few nut cases get a lot of publicity, and he paints a picture that all charedim are like this, even worse, the Anglo-charedi rabbonim condone these acts. If it wasn't so obvious his ax to grind against the charadim I would think Harlem is gan eden in comparison to Beit Shemesh. The dati-leumi, in my humble opinion, are hypocrites when they talk about ahavat chinam except for there obvious dislike for the charedim, and Kahanistim. If it is so bad then he should leave why cry about it.

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  36. To ploni, above me - you wave your PHD and other degrees around as if that's meant to prove something. To me it says that you simply wish to use the authority that is presumed to come with them as a way of stifling dissent.

    I don't read R. Slifkin's blog because I submit myself to his authority, I read it because I examined his arguments and the causes he writes about and found that it was both worth reading and interesting.

    Unfortunately, I find your attitude very common in the Chareidi world, and is one of the reasons that I am only barely religious.

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  37. A local dati-leumi rabbi just shared a thought: Perhaps we, the supporters of Eli Cohen, could have been victorious had we employed the tactics of Moshe Abutbol and his supporters:

    This type of non-rational thinking is what lost the election for Eli Cohen. To even think of stooping to this low level is for the charedim and ignoramuses only. Are you sure it was a local dati-leumi Rabbi and not a charedi Rabbi that made such an irresponsible statement? It looks to me that the charedi mentality is beginning to rub of on you guys.

    If the people in Bet Shemesh knew this shtick was going on and nothing or not enough was done to counteract it, (which is obviously the case) then the dati-leumi community did not deserve a Mayor such as Eli Cohen.

    It was the dati-leumi's election to lose. As I had suggested in a previous blog, "why do not the dati-leumi-Ramat Bet Shemesh community secede and form their own municipality leaving the charedim to their own fate?"
    o

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  38. Thanks ploni for providing the much needed comic relief! The icing on the cake is the fact that in attempting to rebut the perception of most Haredim as being uneducated you highlight your own college education (which itself is ironic given the fact that higher education is frowned upon in Haredi society in Israel) yet write at the level of a third grader. I'm not going to bother relating to the actual content of your post, since its so ludicrously hypocritical it almost hurts, and totally ignores what Rabbi Slifkin has written.

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  39. Friday night five years ago, not long after Abutbol's first election, Rav Ariel senior was visiting RBS for the Shalom Zachor of his grandson. Towards then end of the evening his son asked him on behalf of many congregants whether there was an inyan of living next to chareidim to "do kiruv on them" and show them the beauty of our lifestyle.

    He spoke for a while, but the bottom line was NO. It simply won't work he said.

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  40. Natan,
    I respect what you are doing, but isnt the reason that you are staying is that you chose to live there when you thought you identified with the community but at this point the (mental and financial) transaction costs of moving are just too high?

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  41. "Their richuk makes our kiruv easier."

    It doesn't appear to be true. Most charedim that leave become secular, not DL.

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  42. Azaria - that goes without saying!

    Mark - you're talking about a different demographic.

    There are plenty of charedi families - especially Anglo olim - who, after a few years here, realized that the charedi world was not for them, pulled their kids out of charedi schools and transferred to the DL schools.

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  43. Unknown- Its not all Dati-Leumi that hate "charedim, and Kahanistim". Their are some more liberal one's that do, but many other Dati-Leumi are good people. Some are just similar to hilonim with a kippa and they are mamlachtim who basically suck up to and show themselves to be inferior and servants of the hilonim. While other's see the Torah as coming first and foremost and then everything else follows.
    Anyway what is this " ahavat hinam", nothing should be "hinam". Their is hatred and love, sometimes it is appropriate to love and respect, at other times to hate and disrespect. All the appropriate times is said to the Torah and Chazal.

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  44. *In the Torah and Chazal.

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  45. While I supported Eli, and I agree that the other side used low methods to win. I think most people in Beit Shemesh including the many Chareidim are decent people. In day to day life here we all get along. When I go shopping or to a Mikva or Shteeble in Bet I never have any problems and the people are generally all nice. The only thing that I don't like are when they rip off Israeli flags, and the incident with Abutbul not standing up to Orot was inexcusable.

    To keep things in perspective, although we wanted Eli to win, over the last 5 years, 3 Malls did open, Big, Neimi and Park Center, route 10 was complete, and im sure im missing many things. While Abutbul definitely has his faults he is not the devil and what Makes RBS great are the people, even if 51% voted for Abutbul, this is a great place.

    Did you all notice going down Yarden there are people with the Yellow signs not to vote in the Zionist election, and next to them are signs for Gimmel. That must be an interesting conversation between neighbors on Shabbos. Every community has their own battles.

    The most bizarre thing about Abutbul is apparently he was once called a Tzioni and said he can not forgive the guy for calling him that. A Tziony believes in Jews living in Israel under self (Jewish) governance. So since Abutbul is a Mayor of and city in Israel this means he is anti himself.

    As you can see there is a lot of confusion in the chareidy community with how to view the state of Israel, however they do not plan of going back to Europe and the more they grow and grow up, the younger generations realize this is their Home and they need to find a way to deal with it.

    B"H with good normal neighbors like us, we WILL definitely have an influence on many of them, perhaps if you REALLY want to make an active roll in unification, start a group with a name like "Achdut" or "Areivim" that comes up with programs that unify the different groups in Beit Shemesh with different programs and functions.

    Im sure there are may great ideas to start with and after some good interaction they can expand. It can start off with a joint Simchat Beit Hashoeva, or Chanuka or Lag Bomer event. Maybe bowling teams and competition once they open. etc...

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  46. Kavod Ha Rav,

    There are wonderful dati communities who would benefit more from your shiurim and hadracha in person, than the RBS community will from your attempts at kiruv.

    If you ever want to come out here for shabbat to check out your alternatives, please let me know, we would be thrilled to host your family.

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  47. Not employing dirty tactics doesn't mean you have to wear white gloves. What divides you from the charedim is that they YELL their lies, while you barely whisper. What we need is to not be afraid to get out there and put the truth IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES, and publicly call them on all their lies. Do it in a creative way. Put up posters that will YELL out a message of truth. And if the posters are ripped off the next day, go and put them again. Distribute fliers. Don't let fear stop you, yes, you may have to go in groups and carry a pepper spray. In the end of the day this is not about elections, it's about letting a bunch of evil lunatics manipulate minds and CREATE A CULTURE OF LIES.
    And why wait for the next election? Now is the perfect time to go out there and put in front of our charedi brothers the following message: You won the election but lost big in terms of truth and human decency. And point out all the lies that they've been told and all their dirty shtick, and ask them, is this the way of Torah? I think if you do this you will find quite a lot of hearts that will feel deep regret inside. And there's a big chance that this regret will later lead many people to make better decisions about their lives.
    May be I'm being naive, but I'm sure there're plenty sincere people in the charedi community that just got swept along with this insanity, but if they're given a clear (and now after the election a non - political) message of truth they will start understanding that something's very wrong with the picture.
    I think if we want to influence people - now is the perfect time. Get some people together, prepare the right message (and don't sugar coat it), devise measures to ensure safety and go for it.

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  48. Rabbi Slifkin: I am sorry tha M.A. won and E.C. lost. However, patting yourself on the back and saying you lost and the other side won becuse you acted ethically and they did not is childish and counter-productive. You have to ask yourself some hard questions. What mistakes did your your side make? What did it do wrong? How it can correct these mistakes in the future/ Was E.C. the best candidate to put up? Perhaps Aliza Bloch would have been better. Perhaps there other things you could have done. These are political questions. Again ethical self-congratulation, however self-satisfying, reflects political immaturity and is uncalled for. I am sorry to be so harsh, but precisely because I support your side, I think that your "team" has to take a hard look at itself, for only thereby will it be able to improve its peformance in the future.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  49. although only vaguely related. I saw this interesting historic document. a dispute between bg and herzog on army service for yesivah bachurim

    http://www.archives.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/CA26304C-B980-4921-8E1E-ABF974B07C65/0/herzog01.pdf

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  50. i don't think that anyone considers seriously for one second that the DL/moderate chareidi world should adopt the tactics used by abutbol. if eli cohen had done that, besides the moral considerations, it wouldn't have helped and would probably had made things worse (see how much they hate us!!!)

    what eli cohen, IMO, needed to do, is what nir barkat and yisrael porush did very successfully: make a deal. find a weak spot, split the opposition, and use it. do it discretely, not like deri who bragged about his deal.

    you have to be willing to give up something, talk to people that you don't necessarily like, but it works.

    deals don't have to be dirty. politicians need to make deals, that is part of the game. it works. not all chareidim are the same and they are not necessarily one big block - unless they are pushed into being a block.

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  51. סוֹף דָּבָר הַכֹּל נִשְׁמָע אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים יְרָא וְאֶת-מִצְו‍ֹתָיו שְׁמוֹר כִּי-זֶה כָּל-הָאָדָם

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  52. @Professor Kaplan:

    I completely agree with the substance of what you advise, but I also think that the day after a defeat, you can't expect 100% constructive thinking from everyone. For most people, there has to be a certain amount of licking of wounds before they can regroup. I would read the post in that light.

    Again, I agree that the "they didn't play fair" analysis doesn't really move the ball forward.

    It is also true that campaign strategy can make only so much difference; there are underlying factors that can't be changed by a good campaign. One possibility is that there was no winning strategy.

    Finally, losing the election doesn't automatically mean losing everything. Politics goes on after the election; perhaps spending time on how to get the "right" priorities addressed by the city government is more constructive than what-iffing the last election.

    Disclaimer: My understanding of local politics any place in Israel is nil.

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  53. I once lived on a D.L. yeshuv, ( I won't mention the name), and the corruption was outrageous. During elections for the moatsa the mazcer's friends who did not live on the Yishuve were shipped in to vote, because they had the yeshuvi's address put on there sefach. The guard post was a half mile away from the entrance from the yeshuve so the mazcer could get free shimera on his gas station endangering the live of the guard. There is much more. So my question is if the D.L. community is so reigthous why don't they correct there own flaws before they start pointing at others? The ahavat chinam, which is no where in the Torah, that you preach seems to have a double standard by the D.L. community.

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  54. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzOctober 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    "As you can see there is a lot of confusion in the chareidy community with how to view the state of Israel, however they do not plan of going back to Europe and the more they grow and grow up, the younger generations realize this is their Home and they need to find a way to deal with it."

    Actually the older charedi generation is the one that had a clearer perspective about the positive lements of the State of Israel. The younger generation has been infected by the charedi brainwashing which is the inverse of communism. The communists in Russia (and others) had people walking around believing how great things were even though they were terrible. The charedi leadership has created a cult of people walking around saying and believing how bad things are even though things are generally great.

    I would second Y. Ben-David's (and Rav Ariel's) points here. There is no point in doing "kiruv" on charedim. In light of your admission that the financial and mental costs of uprooting are significant shouldn't you be focusing on getting the message out to potential olim from the modern yeshivish (baltimore, YU yeshivish etc>0 community that there is no "grey" in Israel and going to the charedi "world" is not for them?

    and I would note that Abutbol isn't going back to europe. maybe a different continent.

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  55. Unknown-
    No ideology (and I include "religion" as just being another ideology in this discussion) makes people good. Look at all the wonderful ideas about sharing and caring that Marxism spouted and look at the monstrosity it created. The most important thing is "midot" (character). Thus, the RZ ideology by itself will not make people good either. There has been extremism and harrassment of those with different beliefs within the RZ camp. However, it is important to note that different societies make different emphases on what character traits are to be encouraged. ON THE WHOLE, the Religious Zionist community, at least as I have observed it, is more successful in implanting these good midot in those living in and educated within its framework than other Israeli sub-cultures, including other religious groups.
    That is why I have a problem with liberal Haredim who are critical of the problems in the Haredi community and yet continue to live in it, and worse, to have their children educated in it simply because they believe (mistakenly, IMHO) that the Torah is only found there, even though there is a greater chance of their children picking up bad midot than there is in the RZ community. Isn't the object of education to turn the child into a "ben-adam" (mensch-a productive, honest memeber of society) and not just to turn out walking encyclopedias of Torah lore that may in fact be disconnected from real life?

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  56. David Ohsie: Your points are well taken. My complaint was not so much directed against the DL rabbi who "licked his wounds" in private conversation with Rabbi Slifkin as it is directed aahainst R. Slifkin himself for publicizing the rabbi's thoughts in print.

    And you are also right that perhaps the election was unwinnable. Then again, we know that negative campaigning is successful. Perhaps the Cohen campaign needed to be more hard-hitting and while, of course, not stooping to the unethical extremes of the Abitbol campaign, need to be more sharply critical of Abitbol's record. Again, I, like you, do not know the answers to these questions.But these are the questions that the Cohen supporters should be asking themselves.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  57. It wasn't a private conversation. It was a public letter that he sent out.

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  58. Rabi Slifkin: Thank you for the correction. My criticism therefore first and foremost applies to him and only secondarily to you.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  59. The way you have described RBS - it's a sinking ship. You're not the captain, abandon ship, find your lifeboat.

    There's no virtue in being the last one left on the sinking ship if you're not saving anyone else. Be realistic, you're going to save chareidim by hanging around as many others have pointed out.

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  60. I really don't understand these comments - what do you expect from an election campaign run by 18 yr-olds with their 14-yr old lieutenants. And for this you tar all Charedim in with a negative brush, as if serious people pay any attention to the silly posters thrown all over the floor in every Chareid neighborhood, or these gimmicks reflect the views of Gedolim or any specific theology?

    In the Mirrer Yeshiva, alittle sign was posted" go out and vote "Gimmel" and RETURN TO YOUR STUDIES" - that is the total extent of the average ben torah's involvement in elections. If you read the situation differently, I guess you spend all your day in front of a computer screen where real-life is defined by the public media.

    Election campaigns in the Charedi are a form of sports for children in a community where organized athletics are frowned upon - instead of screaming "Yankees stink" as we did when we were kids, they scream "Kofer" at the Tov party -

    Why don't we grow up and move on.

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  61. natan

    some secular and others are saying lets split beit shemesh up up. into charedi and not.

    do you have a position on this

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  62. "Ramat Bet Shemesh is a wonderful opportunity for kiruv! Here, one is surrounded by people who are unfortunately unaware of correct Torah values."

    Why is it only when Torah values presumably coincide with western values that do you take exception?

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  63. RBS is not a sinking ship. Abutbul is not the devil and there are now 100,000 amazing people lvining in Beit Shemesh. We have every type here and people generally get along very well.
    In the last 4 years 4 malls opened, BH they are packed and you see all kinds of people together there.
    We will continue to grow and thrive and be an example to other cities what it's like to have all types of am Yisrael in one city.

    We are getting a bowling ally soon, and Abutbul promised a baseball and soccer field.

    Come visit here and you'll see for yourself how great it is.

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  64. Where are the givaldicks when you need them? They should be used in order to per-sway and (scream and shout) to Haredim NOT to vote as they believe.

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  65. I really don't understand these comments - what do you expect from an election campaign run by 18 yr-olds with their 14-yr old lieutenants. And for this you tar all Charedim in with a negative brush, as if serious people pay any attention to the silly posters thrown all over the floor in every Chareid neighborhood, or these gimmicks reflect the views of Gedolim or any specific theology?

    In the Mirrer Yeshiva, alittle sign was posted" go out and vote "Gimmel" and RETURN TO YOUR STUDIES" - that is the total extent of the average ben torah's involvement in elections. If you read the situation differently, I guess you spend all your day in front of a computer screen where real-life is defined by the public media.


    This is actually quite scary if true. In a democracy, if the citizens are not remotely interested in finding out what is going on and basing their voting decisions based on what they know, then there is no protection against incompetence, and in the worst case, tyranny. And if you what you say is true, there is a whole block of people willing to vote for a group of people whose campaign is run a group of out-of-control children and who cannot be bothered to protect children on their way to school because they are completely ignorant of what is actually going on. This is worse than what R. Slifkin describes.

    Election campaigns in the Charedi are a form of sports for children in a community where organized athletics are frowned upon - instead of screaming "Yankees stink" as we did when we were kids, they scream "Kofer" at the Tov party -

    This is horrifying. Does decisions on the proper administration of the city and protection of its citizens from hooligans depend on such an ignorance-based approach to elections?

    Why don't we grow up and move on.

    If you truly view elections as simply "us vs. them" sporting events, then I guess that "growing up" and moving on makes sense.

    For those us infected by the absurd notion, inculcated no doubt by the media, that government power and the rights of citizens are important issues, it might be worth a little more thought.

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  66. David- "In a democracy" .... Yadda yadaa yadda. Everyone defines what a "democracy" is for THEM and their interests. Also who says the public is usually informed and if the information is correct. Most democracies are failures especially in the long run.

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  67. No, I did not mean to imply that the average ben torah is uninformed. I simply am making one point: R Slifkin's analysis of the Charedi menace is attributing deep significance (as he usually does) to media press releases, pashkevillin written by immature people, and campaign antics of bored teenagers, none of which are taken seriously by thinking people (and yes, there are charedim who think - they in the Bais Medrash, and not on the street corners). In response to your comment about uninformed voters, how much time does one actually need to spend determining the issues, and whether or not he should vote for the Charedi candidate - 10 minutes? Or perhaps he needs to spend hours debating online the future of Israeli politics along with his opinion of Netanyahu's plans to divest Iran of nuclear prowess, and whether settlements should be uprooted in an agreement with the Palestinians? In the Mirrer Yeshiva, they believe that a man's time is better spent trying to understand an entire Mesechta cover to cover - with Rashi, Tosafos, Rosh and Maharsha.

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  68. R. David Ohsie wrote,"In a democracy, if the citizens are not remotely interested in finding out what is going on and basing their voting decisions based on what they know, then there is no protection against incompetence, and in the worst case, tyranny."

    Although what you say is true, I am envious somewhat of these Mirrer bochurim all voting Gimmel. From the time I made aliyah 20 years ago, I have witnessed several national elections. I think I can sum up the Lubavitcher Rebbe's directives about voting: 1) vote for the most religious party, 2) שלימות הארץ, and 3) that no votes should go to waste.
    Nonetheless, over these twenty years, I have seen the Chabad vote split between Agudas HaTorah, Moledet/Ichud Leumi/Bayit Yehudi, and usually some other right wing party that doesn't pass the cut-off to get into the Knesset. Afterwards, all the voters can justify how they voted, even if it only fulfills one or two of the Rebbe's conditions. Perhaps it would be better if we were more cohesive.

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  69. To all the doom and gloom demographic merchants, remember that by the time of the next election the hitherto monolithic Shas bloc will be split into 2 or 3 parties, and the rhetoric between them will make this election look like a picnic.

    If the chareidi communities of Jerusalem have not managed to elect one of their own these last two elections, despite the numbers available to them, it shows that these internecine squabbles, which are a permanent feature of chareidi politics, actually depress voting numbers, and allow compromise candidates to emerge.

    This will happen as soon as the next BS mayoral election.

    All is far from lost.

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  70. As a Londoner detached (by distance) from the situation, it seemed to me that Cohen's campaign was doomed from the start. The minute Abutbol's cohorts get R C Kanievski et al to come out against the Chiloni, the fight was over.

    Interestingly I happened to pick up a small book on Faith and Happiness (or some similar title) lying around in Shul, wherein the author occasionally lapses into sweeping pro-Chareidi-anti-Chiloni generalisations (such as 5/300 of Chilonis sleep are unfaithful). I need to get you a copy as the author then writes how Charedim have turned towns around and successfully improved them, FOR EXAMPLE Bet Shemesh which is now a glowing success. I am sure you will find that dubious - although can i politely suggest, Rabbi Slifkin, that due to your very shocking and unfortunate saga you are not really objective enough anymore to comment completely objectively on Chareidi topics (understandably so)?

    I then saw a very Chareidi fellow (later revealed to be from Kiryat Sefer) reading this book. When he asked me to borrow a pen, I responded 'Why-to cross it out?' and then showed him the abovementioned section. Thereupon erupted a little argument. He thinks Bet Shemesh is marvellous. He thinks the fake IDs and the other disgusting parts of Abutbol's campaign were not necessarily done by Chareidim!

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  71. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  72. David- "In a democracy" .... Yadda yadaa yadda. Everyone defines what a "democracy" is for THEM and their interests.

    I'm not understanding your point. By democracy, I just mean any system that allows for the citizens to make decisions by some level of majority rule directly or through representatives. I'm not conflating democracy with "whatever I think is good".

    I'm fairly libertarian, by which mean that as few decisions as possible should be made democratically and the as many as possible by individual for themselves. But some things are going to be decided via voting, and this does require a citizens to be informed to some degree. And since police power is going to be invested in the state, widespread ignorance and apathy can lead loss of rights.

    Also who says the public is usually informed and if the information is correct.

    They may or may not be informed and apparently, according the the prior comments, unfortunately some parts of Israel's voting public may be horrifyingly uninformed.

    I lean libertarian precisely because the costs are high for people to be informed. But complete lack of information/concern + democracy is quite scary.

    Most democracies are failures especially in the long run.

    I don't agree with this, but what of it? Our goal is to have the country survive, not collapse.

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  73. R. David Ohsie wrote,"In a democracy, if the citizens are not remotely interested in finding out what is going on and basing their voting decisions based on what they know, then there is no protection against incompetence, and in the worst case, tyranny."

    Although what you say is true, I am envious somewhat of these Mirrer bochurim all voting Gimmel. From the time I made aliyah 20 years ago, I have witnessed several national elections. I think I can sum up the Lubavitcher Rebbe's directives about voting: 1) vote for the most religious party, 2) שלימות הארץ, and 3) that no votes should go to waste.
    Nonetheless, over these twenty years, I have seen the Chabad vote split between Agudas HaTorah, Moledet/Ichud Leumi/Bayit Yehudi, and usually some other right wing party that doesn't pass the cut-off to get into the Knesset. Afterwards, all the voters can justify how they voted, even if it only fulfills one or two of the Rebbe's conditions. Perhaps it would be better if we were more cohesive.


    Or maybe the Rebbe knew what he was talking about when he laid down his general principles and mandated that people make their own decision (but I'm afraid that I'm in an odd role defending the Rebbe to his Chasid :).

    Yes, as a minority, you can increase your special interest voting power by voting as a bloc. But if you are just trying to do what is right by the principles that you have, it is better if the politicians know that your vote is not guaranteed.

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  74. My complaint was not so much directed against the DL rabbi who "licked his wounds" in private conversation with Rabbi Slifkin as it is directed aahainst R. Slifkin himself for publicizing the rabbi's thoughts in print.

    You mean sharing things on the internet is "public" and private matters should be kept off? You must be over 25 years old!

    :)

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