Monday, May 17, 2010

A Drastic Step

I really did not want to write about this again. It seems like I have been writing about it every other day recently. I do not want to be perceived as obsessed by it. But How can I not address it?!

On Sunday - just short of 48 hours before Shevuos yet another Chilul HaShem has occured in the streets of Jerusalem. According to an article in Ha’aretz some 700 Charedim participated in a violent protest on Kikkar Shabbat, the intersection between the Charedi section of Geula and Meah Shearim.

There is no question about who instigated it. It was the Edah HaCharedis. They called for a protest against the government removal of graves at a construction site in the city of Ashkelon where they are building a state of the art emergency room in a hospital for the benefit of its citizens. Asheklon is within range of the Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza and has experienced a few such attacks.

If there was ever a city who needed such a facility in a hurry it is Ashkelon. But there has been a 2 year delay because of this gravesite issue. The Rabbanut has cleared the way for removal of these graves claiming that the graves are not Jewish and may be removed to another location.

But the Charedi rabbinic leadership has disputed that and via one of their Knesset members, Yaakov Litzman, they have delayed construction and have demanded that the emergency room be built in another location that would be less ideal for the patients. Construction was a standstill until now. The graves have finally been moved.

The Edah HaCharedis will have none of that. So they have once again set Jerusalem on fire – just short of a couple of days before Yom Tov. Burning dumpsters are in the streets and toxic fumes permeate the air there now. That will no doubt create a noxious environment for Jerusalem’s Charedi residents over Chag HaShevuos – Zeman Mattan Toroseinu. These are not the flames of Sinai. These are the flames of Reshaim.

Then there is the little matter of the cost of these so called protests. According to an article in Ynet the estimated damage from Sunday’s protest is valued at over 1 million Shekel! Who is going to pay for that damage? Not the Edah, that's for sure.

Can there be any doubt about where the real responsibility lies for these violent outbursts? Is there any excuse for it? Is there any – even tepid condemnation of it by The Edah Leadership?

Here is what the head of the Edah HaCharedis Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss said about the demonstrations:

"They are arresting righteous Yeshiva students for protesting the desecration of graves. "It is they [the police] who should be arrested."

Perhaps he should be the one arrested - for incitement to riot!

It is a drastic step but maybe a necessary one. And the rest of the Charedi world ought to support it! Perhaps Rav Weiss and his Edah will get the message if other Charedi leaders approve of such an arrest instead of condemning it. The Torah world cannot allow this kind of thing to continue. They ought to be opposing this continuous Chilul HaShem with everything they’ve got!