Friday, September 11, 2020

Out Of Their Minds

The tensions between the charedi and non-charedi sectors of the population in Israel are very high at the moment. Charedim feel that the government is unfairly discriminating against them with coronavirus restrictions. Non-charedim feel that since the infection rate is much higher in charedi communities, they therefore need more restrictions. Add this to the simmering resentment over coronavirus in the entire country, and it's a powder-keg.

Yesterday, that powder keg exploded. Someone took a video of an utterly shocking incident at a train station, where some chareidi families were about to board a train. An Israel Railways inspector told them that they weren't allowed to board. "Charedim are not allowed on the train," he told them.

Naturally, this outrageous incident caused a national uproar. Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ) fumed that "It is shocking to see how far the policy of incitement against the ultra-Orthodox permeates... I demand that the Minister of Transportation sort out the CEO of Israel Railways regarding the behavior of his employees. Shame!" Transportation Minister Miri Regev - someone with strong sympathies to the charedi community - was shocked and ordered an immediate investigation of Israel Railways.

The first twist then occurred. Israel Railways said that they had absolutely no idea who the person was. He wasn't an employee of theirs.

So who was it? The speculation was that it was some random person with a grudge against charedim. Not an Israel Railways problem, but still reflective of a general problem with anti-charedi hatred.

The next twist came when the real identity of the "Railway Inspector" was discovered.

You're not going to believe this.

He was an actor.

Hired by...

...the municipality of Bnei Brak.

Yes, that's correct. The city council of Bnei Brak were upset that a light rail line planned for the Gush Dan area is not slated to pass through Bnei Brak. So they decided to hire an actor to stop charedim boarding trains and create an outrage about discrimination against charedim.

This might be the most mindbogglingly stupid decision ever made by a city council. Israel Railways is furious over the defamation and has filed a police complaint. Journalists - including several charedi journalists - are fuming and have called for the officials of Bnei Brak to resign.

Strangely, the fuss seems to have died down quite quickly (possibly eclipsed by the news of a lockdown). But can you imagine if it were the other way around?! If the city of Tel Aviv hired a charedi actor to stop secular Jews from boarding a train?! The charedi MKs would call it a blood libel. There would be protests until the city officials resigned.

How does such an insane act get authorized? Only when people are so caught up in their own victimhood and their own tiny worldview that they don't think about the consequences of their actions.

I can't even imagine what proper teshuvah for such a thing would entail (and how do you ensure that everyone who heard about the incident discovers the truth?). But I hope it happens.

23 comments:

  1. An actor? And charedi Jews not allowed on trains. This s discrimination! If it was the other way around, there would be protest on the streets. Do we know who this "actor" is? He needs to be fired.

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  2. It reminds of Ozzy Osbourne's song "We are going down the rails on a crazy train."

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    1. Bit of trivia - thanks to the fact that his wife Sharon's dad, Don Arden, is of the tribe, she and Ozzy got married under a chupa.

      As far as the story in this post... almost as shocking as biting the head off a bat.

      Delete
    2. Ozzy thought the bat was a toy.

      Delete
  3. This piece makes it sound like BB was trying to set-up Israel Railways and they got caught in the act. But that is no what happened! This was a stunt to expose perceived discrimination by a COMPETING RAIL COMPANY (NTA)! It may have been stupid but it wasn't what this post makes it sound like. They knew it would be discovered - that was the whole point.

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    Replies
    1. I imagine they were trying to make some sort of point about trains in general. Still stupid.

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  4. Is this story going to turn out as accurate as the R Chaim Kanievsky one?

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    1. The mayor admitted it. What more do you want?

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    2. Yes He did admit it however he also said that he had employed a PR agent to run their campaign with regards to the tram line and he wasn't even aware what they will do.

      Delete
    3. Nachum,

      You personally heard him admit it? What EXACTLY did he say?

      Or you read somewhere that he admitted it? Point made.

      Delete
    4. No, you're right. I wasn't standing right next to him when he said it, so it must all be lies. Foolish me- I should have known that charedim have never done anything wrong, ever.

      Delete
  5. Yet all those who fumed about this, will still believe tomorrow's news. People just don't learn.

    It has never happened that a story with which I was familiar was reported accurately in the news. They make mistakes with background and context, as well as in many details. I know intellectually that the news is not to be believed, yet I still find myself nodding or shaking my head. Confirmation bias is strong, and we should at least stay aware of it.

    Now let us talk about the Charedi community's response to coronavirus and find out how much of the narrative has any accuracy or veracity. How much detail and nuance are missing, what the various sub-factions believe, do and say. Which are not necessarily one and the same.

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  6. Will the Minister of Transportation "sort out the" City Council of BB?

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  7. It seemed quite obvious that the video was a parody. The "inspector" was constantly blowing on a whistle like a clown and people were even challenging him as a fake.

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  8. I n other news, Rav Chaim is selling off a portion of his learning to Kupat haIr donors again.
    https://www.kupat.org/Project/348?source=108
    The four page printing brochures are even more explicit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure what the problem is with that.
      See Shulchon Oruch Yoreh Deah 246 1 where the remoh says one can share his reward of learning with someone who supports him. The Remah then carries on to say that after one has finished learning he cannot sell his reward any longer.It would appear from this that if he hasn't started learning he is actually selling his reward. Furthermore the source of the Remah is Rabeinu Yerucham and he clearly states that the one learning will lose his reward! He clearly understood that there is a transaction taking place. see also R Akiva Eiger there. (BTW RNS agreed to this when i mentioned it in a earlier post)

      Delete
  9. What evidence is there that the actor was employed by Benai Brak Council? Have they admitted to this?

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  10. Rationalist medical halachah is posting again which is good news. Sorry to send you this here and I don't expect this to be posted

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    Replies
    1. Just noticed that. I thought Rationalist medical halachah would never write again. Although I never read his blog until RNS brought it to my attention in a recent post, I will give it a try!

      Thanx for the update!

      Delete

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