|Former MK, Rabbi Dov Lipman confronting extremists in Ramat Bet Shemesh|
For me this is close to home. Ramat Bet Shemesh is my ‘home’ in Israel. This is where I live when I visit every year for about a 3 week period. Usually during Sukkos. So whenever I hear anything about RBS, my ears perk up. And once again I am disappointed but not too surprised. Here is the story from Arutz Sheva:
A religious, yeshiva-educated Jerusalemite was selected two years ago for the job, which spanned 18 months of intense, sometimes dangerous work infiltrating a complex ring of Jewish and Arab criminals. He was briefed extensively and coached on all the details of the criminal underworld, including special slang and other nuances - ignorance of which could have potentially blown his cover.
Police describe the agent as "a good kid" from a religious family who prior to his mission had no ties whatsoever to any criminality, but whose dedication to the job exceeded all expectations.
He first infiltrated a criminal network in Mea Shearim, gaining the trust of a wide range of gangsters and managing to procure drugs including marijuana, hashish, ecstasy and cocaine, as well as a stolen car for good measure…
He described how there were two very different sides to Mea Shearim - where he himself spent much time during his yeshiva years. "The Mea Shearim of the daytime, and the Mea Shearim of the night."
Following his success in Jerusalem, the police force then transferred him to Beit Shemesh, where he soon uncovered another major criminal network in the majority-haredi neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh.
There, he succeeded in purchasing an even larger quantity of drugs - "tens of kilos," police say - at the cost of hundreds of thousands of shekels. he also procured an array of weapons and ammunition including two Karl Gustav submachine guns, an M-16 assault rifle which investigators believe was stolen from an IDF base, and ammunition.
In total, he succeeded in incriminating 60 drug and weapons dealers, 45 of whom have already been indicted. Police say more arrests and indictments will be filed soon.
Among the suspects are two minors aged 15 and 17, and a resident of southern Israel who was allowed to study in a Jerusalem yeshiva as an alternative to jail time for drug offenses.
To say this is a chilul haShem is an understatement. I don’t know which part of RBS this happened. But I strongly suspect it was RBS B, the insular charedi side where extremist views abound. The reputation of which includes the infamous events surrounding a dispute over the jurisdiction of a school where some of its members verbally abused a seven year old religious Zionist girl - yelling and screaming at her - calling her a prostitute. Not to mention beating women who sat in the wrong seat on a bus, or beating up people - even people as charedi as themselves - that defended those women.
It doesn’t surprise me because I fully understand the mindset of these people. A mindset which they are proud of and constantly tout. They believe the outside world (and that includes religious Zionists) is evil and deserves to be treated with disdain. Outreach is hopeless in their view. So they couldn’t care less how they or their actions are perceived. They do not consider what those outside of their world think. To them outsiders are reshaim - goyim or evil people with no hope of doing Teshuva. Thus Chilul HaShem is not applicable.
All they care about therefore is protecting their values by any means necessary. If that means some occasional violence, so be it. When it comes to Israeli law, some of them flout it if it serves their purposes – since they do not recognize the validity of the State of Israel.
How much of a leap does it take to sell drugs and guns to the ‘outside world’? They are the dregs of society. Why should they care about them? It is far more important to find ways to support your families. If a few ‘goyim’ or mechalilei shabbos get hooked or die, too bad! What about the guns? They’re not worried. Those guns will be used by terrorists outside of those neighborhoods. Or criminals in more affluent ones.
Now I realize that it is highly unlikely that most of the charedim in RBS B and Meah Shearim would go that far. Most of them just want to live their lives in peace. But the mindset is there. And that leads to the kind of thing that happened here. Some of the more emboldened ones of the type that have no ethics or morals will sell drugs to their mothers if their mothers are not charedi like them. OK, I exaggerated. But not by that much.
And now we will no doubt have the disgusting sight of this young courageous charedi cop being called a moser, - an informant to evil secular authorities against a Jew. Which is considered a severe sin. I haven’t seen it yet. But if history has taught us anything about this crowd it will surely happen. I am not even going to bother explaining why this is not the case here. If it isn’t obvious, then you are either a member of this group or a supporter.
I believe I have mentioned this anecdote in the past. But it bears repeating here.
My father was raised in a small chasidic community in Poland. After living in America for many years - arriving just after the Holocaust - he retired at age 69 to Bnei Brak - a city that reminded him of his youth. He became friendly with a chasidic rebbe that had a shteibel near his home. He davened there daily. After davening he would often have a friendly chat with that rebbe who had also lived in America after the Holocaust. They were kindred spirits, that way.
When a chasidic fellow they both knew was caught selling drugs, my father could not believe it. He was raised in a world where things like this did not happen - and was outraged! When he mentioned this to that rebbe, he responded with something like the following: Nu, Reb Shimon, you have to understand, that Chasid had a large family to support.
My father came home and exploded. He could not believe that a Rav, a person very well versed in Torah which my father respected... that had a following both in America and in Europe, had this reaction instead of outrage. And he condemned it!
That is how we should all feel when something like this happens. What has happened to us? I don’t see enough outrage when things like this happen. In far too many cases it’s just apologetics (like that rebbe) and sympathy for the accused. Or worse - condemning the ‘moser’! That is sick!