Enough already...

High Time to Both Say the Truth and Act on it!

Following Hiddush's last newsletter article on Haredi vitriol, we published an op-ed in the Times of Israel on the topic of limiting the ultra-Orthodox parties’ political sway, as Prime Minister Bennett put it. We realize that some of our readers may feel uncomfortable about such an appeal, but we urge you to look at the facts as they are, rather than the raging Haredi political rhetoric.

It's high time not only to say the truth but to act on it. Political cynicism is eroding Israel’s democracy and threatening Jewish unity and Israel's well-being. Suffice it to look at four telling examples from just this week:


1. The Shas party's newspaper’s top headline reaction to the Knesset bill aiming at increasing IDF and civilian service enlistment among young Haredi men reads: ‘A WAR AGAINST GOD AND HIS TORAH’;

"The evil government is launching an open war against the World of Torah and yeshiva students, as a draconian enlistment bill is presented to the Knesset, which includes cruel economic sanctions and 'clobbering' clauses. Shas responds forcefully: 'We will not agree to any limitation or any sanction on yeshiva students, our Tribe of Levi, whose merits protect the Jewish people."

Yated Ne'emanYated Ne'eman

2. United Torah Judaism's Yated Neeman daily’s top headline’s reaction to the political efforts to reinstate the Western Wall compromise with the non-Orthodox denominations and the Women of the Wall, reading: ‘A MALICIOUS REFORM GEARING UP TO 'CONQUER' THE KOTEL’;

3. Yated Neeman's editorial this week reacting to the efforts in Israel to further legislate LGBTQ rights and equality, labeling this as the ‘GREATEST MORAL DEGENERATION AROUND THE GLOBE’ and stating that ‘Zionist independence was intended to acquire weapons for uprooting Judaism... a maidservant is trying to supplant her mistress; they have placed the Torah in the corner of the ark, and, instead, have legislated evil laws and gentile courts’.

Billboard riling up support against governmentBillboard riling up support against government

4. A billboard riling up support against the government: “Bennett is dividing the Kotel [The Western Wall]; help us fight; all of us – Zionist Orthodox, Haredim, and those who follow the tradition are partnering to guard the State’s Jewish character and can stop the takeover of the Kotel by Reform Judaism under the auspices of the government. Only together will we win in the fight over the Kotel. Join. Fight. Win.”

It is time to make it clear that such ideology has no place in shaping Israel's policies, if democracy, civil liberties, and Jewish unity still hold any meaning for us.

Needless to say, the draft bill is neither draconian, nor cruel, and, as a matter of fact, it applies a sleight of hand to an ongoing policy on the part of Israeli politicians, which intends to create the impression of substantive drafting of yeshiva students, while effectively not drafting any who don't want to join the IDF. We will be dedicating a special post to these issues in the future.

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