Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Excommunication - Put Them in Cherem!

I tried. I really tried to avoid writing about yet another atrocity coming out of Meah Shearim. I don't want to become a one note Samba here. But how can I be quiet about these people? By their actions they are destroying Judaism – all the while thinking how wonderful they are in service to God. This time it is a woman who is a member of Neturei Karta - the same sect that produced the Ahmadinejad huggers.

A very sick woman from those quarters was arrested for severely abusing her son over the past two years. She was in essence slowly murdering him - via starvation and other methods. The story is available in both Ynet and the Jerusalem Post. Hospital staff apparently determined that this mother very likely suffers from the extremely rare psychological disorder known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This is when a person seeks to draw attention and sympathy for themselves by secretly making someone in their care sick.

My issue is not with this mother. She is obviously very ill. And she needs help. Hopefully she will get it. In the meantime she has been removed from her four children and the case is currently being investigated.

My issue is with the response of her community. From the Jerusalem Post:

Scores of haredi protesters took to the streets Tuesday night, setting garbage bins on fire on Rehov Bar-Ilan and in the Mea She'arim neighborhood, snarling traffic in the area, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.

A man who tried to move a burning garbage bin from the street was lightly injured when he was hit in the head by a stone.

The news of the woman's arrest sparked renewed rioting Tuesday night by members of the extremist haredi organization, which has been leading violent, month-old protests against the opening of a parking lot in the city on Saturdays.

On Sunday, haredim torched the neighborhood welfare office to protest the fact that the suspect was arrested there.

True - this woman has not yet been convicted in a court of law. But the evidence seems pretty strong that in spite of the rarity of the disease, she does suffer from it. The descriptions of events all point in that direction. Especially surveillance video of this woman undermining the medical treatment. From Ynet:

The suspecting medical staff at Hadassah Ein Kerem installed security cameras in the child's room. To their horror, the footage showed the woman disconnecting her son from his feeding tube. In other cases, she poured unknown substances into the tube.

But to the protesting mob none of this is relevant. To them she is innocent and the evil Israel government is once aging unfairly targeting the hated Charedim – in this case a young innocent mother from Neturei Karta. They have a right to believe what they want. But how do they make their feelings known? With the typical violence that has become their trademark.

These people have no redeeming value in my mind. None! And anyone who attempts to defend them in any way isn’t much better. Labeling the media and the Israeli government authorities as anti Charedi is not what made this child almost deathly ill. Nor would achieving her release via these protests and returning to her custody of her son make him any better. It may instead lead to the child's death! Any apologetics in the direction of the protesters merely contributes to that possibility!

The best thing that could happen for Klal Yisroel vis-a-vis this crowd would be to put the entire sect in literal Cherem via an act of Beis Din! The Beis Din Should be comprised of the leading rabbinic figures of our time - and signed onto by as many segments of the Torah world one can find. Those from that sect who do not want to be in Cherem would have to sever all ties with it and join the rest of the civilized world. Those who remain should be Halachicly shunned -by the entirety of Klal Yisroel. I would even add stiff fines to those caught knowingly having anything to do with them.