Friday, January 14, 2022

A Charedi Mafia of Death Threats and Vandalsm

Photo for illustration purposes only.
If they really wanted it to stop, it would. From VIN - here is what happened recently: 

The Charedi “Cell Phone Mafia” has been wreaking endless havoc on stores in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. Extremists have vandalized and threatened phone stores, in a pressure campaign to force them to comply with the guidelines of the Communications Vaad.

B’Chadrei Charedim has reported multiple instances of harassment, threats, and vandalism against stores and owners. 

I have no clue about the legitimacy of  this ‘Vaad’. No clue who appointed it – if anyone did. My guess is that it is a bunch of self appointed Charedi vigilantes that think there are modern day Pinchases -  zealots fighting the good fight for God. A group that utilizes young Charedi hoodlums, and misfits - to do their dirty work for them. The ‘Vaad’ consists of Mafia like thugs that use the supposed violation of community religious standards as their excuse for ‘having some fun’.

There are those who say that these thugs are no different than any other thugs in the non religious world. That they dress and look like Charedim does not make it so. Charedi leaders therefore have no control over a these people. ‘Why should they bother saying anything?’ ‘These thugs won’t listen no matter what they say.’ ‘What do you want them to do?’ ‘The Gedolim can scream about all day long at them it – and it won’t change anything’. 

To all this I say nonsense!

Granted - they are the dregs of Charedi society. That is the only way they can be described with any degree of accuracy. But to say that Charedi leaders can’t do anything about is naïve - a poor understanding about the power they actually have.

Charedi leaders have achieved an unprecedented degree of power in Israel. This cannot be denied. Even though the new government has diminished that somewhat, it is still pretty strong.

One might argue that  politicians winning seats in the Keneset and exercising power there - is a lot different than trying to control a group of young street criminals that won’t pay any attention to them. 

But this isn’t only about vocally condemning them. Although that would be a good start, it is about a lot more than that.  

For one thing they can support stronger laws and stiffer jail sentences against people that are caught doing these kinds of things. And insisting that those caught be sentenced to maximum jail sentences.. What has instead happened in the past is that a Charedi MK would intercede on behalf of some of the arrested to get them off with a light sentence and no jail time. I don’t know if they still do that. But if past is prologue…

And perhaps more importantly - there is little doubt in my mind that their extremely negative attitude towards technology is the root cause of this kind of behavior. The more extreme of which I saw in  a video a few years ago where a Charedi Rav of note (don’t recall who it was) was seen smashing some laptops after a long harangue against them. While this may be the extreme, I believe it represents the negative attitude all Charedi leaders have against technology. 

It doesn’t take that much to go from there - to a ‘Vaad’ that is going to do something about it. I also believe that the Charedi leadership reticence to say – much less do anything about it is that they actually agree with the supposed righteous motives of those thugs - if not their methods..

If Charedi leaders would ALL (and I emphasize all) change their attitude to a more realistic one that talks about the values of technology while at the same time warning people about the very real inherent dangers of it - we would not be seeing these thugs using the ‘evils of technology’ as an excuse for their violent attacks.

That said, I don’t expect this to ever happen. Instead I expect this kind of thing to continue with relative impunity. And that’s too bad.