Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Worthless People

Worthless people!
I have often been criticized for using term like ‘worthless people’ when it comes to fellow Jews. Especially if they look like Charedim. But that is what these people are. And as Matzav reports, I am in good company apparently.  The company of Rav Chaim Kanievksy and Rav Nissin Karelitz. I completely agree with them about these people (who are asscoiated with a group called the Asra Kadisha). They are worthless people.

What is it they are doing that makes them worthless? They are protesting a construction site in Ramat Bet Shemesh with the claim that there are Jewish grave-sites there which Halacha forbids disturbing.

What motivated such an extreme response by these two venerated Charedi rabbinic leaders? Their disparagement of Rav Moshe Sternbuch. They think they are acting in the name of God. But they are doing no such thing. They are acting like street gangs. 

Eida HaCharedis Av Beis Din, Rav Moshe Sternbuch, has pronounced the construction site free of Jewish graves which allows construction to continue. But  Eida HaCharedis head Rav Tuvia Weiss has said that the site is not free of Jewish graves and that construction there should stop.

Siding with Rav Weiss, these people have sprung into action. They have protested violently and clashed with the police. 

Now, I of course have no problem with disagreement. Rav Weiss and Rav Sternbuch are both entitled to disagree on this issue. That makes either position legitimate. It is OK to take sides. But it is not OK to make the Chilul HaShem  these radical are making. Thankfully some very prominent rabbinic leaders are finally speaking out and telling the world what they think of these people. 

It’s about time, they did that. I could not agree with them more.

But I still wonder if this is enough. Or is it too little too late? How will this impact future demonstrations? Demonstrations that they might support – but that results violence by some of its radical members?  Will they condemn them too? Or will they say that they were right about what they protested but just wrong in how they protested it? 

Wouldn’t it make sense to forbid any future demonstrations like this no matter what the cause? Why invite the violent confrontation that almost always occurs when mass protests are called for? Have those protests ever produced the desired results anyway?

And what kind of sanctions will there be for these radicals? Will there be punishment? Or will there just be those words of condemnation - and that’s it? I know that some of these radicals’  own leaders have promised financial penalties for these protesters. But will even that be enough?

I suppose this is a step in the right direction. But it is only a step. Without tough penalties, this will no doubt happen again.  

If any laws were broken by these people (as they no doubt were) they ought to be arrested prosecuted and - if found guilty - punished to the full extent of the law. Most importantly that punishment should be with the complete and public support of these leaders. Jail is what they deserve and jail is what they should get. Not only this time but every time it happens. Let them feel the pain of a maximum security prison for a few months.  Maybe that will stop them once and for all.

I would add that that throwing them in jail although necessary and helpful is basically treating the symptom and not the disease. As I have said many times - what really needs to be done is to re-educate Eida HaCharedis crowd. They have to learn civilized behavior. That is the fault of their Chinuch and perhaps their entire philosophy of how to deal with the perceived ills of society. Until that happens, I’m afraid that the next generation of these people is just waiting in the wings until they are old enough to do the same thing.