Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Wrong Stuff

There is a very telling paragraph in Sarah Palin’s speech:

If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed. If she walks down a public street in clothing that violates the state dress code, she could be arrested.

Note the similarity between Iranian religious fanatics who rule that nation and the fanatic Kanoim of Meah Shearim. In Meah Shearim it is the law of the street. In Iran it is actually a state law. Is there any question that if these Kanoim would have their way it would be the state law in Israel too?

When it comes to beating up woman who violate Tznius laws ...Iran equals the Meah Shearim fanatics.

Just to be clear I do not think that the vast majority of Charedim support this kind of behavior. I’ve said so many times in the past and do so again here. I do not want to be accused of Charedi bashing. Again.

But there is a significant segment from the extreme fringes of Charedi world that support this bunch. And there is an even greater segment that doesn't support it - but offers apologetics.

Whenever I make comparisons like this, there is outrage expressed from some in Charedi quarters. Often the very first comment I get is along the lines of: “Oh yeah?! ...What about Teffilin dates in the MO world?

That’s right. Instead of acknowledging the problem (or doing so grudgingly) they will change the subject and immediately attack another segment of Judaism. Their point? We all have our problems so - shutup!

True. We all have our problems. But that doesn’t solve the one under discussion.

I have also said many times that all decent Charedim protest that behavior. That is eminently clear. But some add the following caveat (or a similar one) .. ‘but the victims brought it upon themselves’.

There may be only a handful of these Kanaoim in Meah Shearim, Bnei Brak, or Ramat Bet Shemesh. But apparently they are a part of a Tznius squad that is endorsed by their Gedolim:

Meny Schwartz, who heads the religious Kol Haredi radio station, said the modesty patrols have been around for years, with the full approval of religious leaders, but appear to have become increasingly violent.

And they are growing - and spreading their vigilantism to other Israeli neighborhoods. Their apologists all over the world seem to be a pretty vocal - if not large - group. And that just adds fuel to their fire.

I have an idea for the people who subscribe to violent vigilante style justice. You know - the kind of justice meted out agaisnt Mrs. Shear for sitting in the unofficial men’s section of an empty bus. She was beaten to a pulp, you'll recall! …or that woman in - I think it was Maalot Dafna - that was beaten because she was seen publicly in the company of men.

These Kanoim all hate the State of Israel They think it is an illegal abomination. So too does the Iranian President. They think Tznius violations ought to be severely punished. So too does the leader of Iran. They have exactly the same principles on these issues. Birds of a feather.

Well they can now have their cake and eat it too. Instead of spreading to other parts of Israel such and instituting their vigilante style of justice there - let them move to Iran where their system of justice is now a matter of law. They can then walk hand in hand with Ahmadinejad. They already walk the same walk and talk the same talk. They can live in Iran and point with pride to the way Iran treats Tznius violators. And they can revel together as they curse the Jewish State.

Those who support them or offer apologetics now will still be able to do so. Those who vilify the State of Israel can still continue to do so. The advantage will be that they will be able to point with pride to Iran as the new symbol of Torah true Tznius values. Especially since there will be a group of religious Jews there leading the charge. Who knows? Maybe these Kanoim can even apply for jobs in the Iranian police force.