I have written previously about the Religious Right in Israel, and I do so again because very few Americans appreciate how religious law operates in that so-called “only democracy in the Middle East.” Here’s something for cognitive dissonance: Liberal American Jews whom are zealous about enforcing the separation of church and state in the United States simultaneously champion and cheer not only the religious framework of the Jewish state of Israel but are indifferent or at least choose not to concern themselves with the rising religious right in Israel.
American Jews fight the Christian Right here while being apologetic about the Jewish Orthodox Right in Israel.
Here are a few case examples that if you were to switch the persons from Jews to Christians and the country from Israel to the United States would cause an uproar among groups like the Anti-Defamation League but when it happens in Israel, silence is the response from such groups (if not support):
Intel will not employ Jewish workers on Saturday shifts in its Jerusalem plant. The chip-maker has suggested in a new compromise proposal. The move comes after large crowds of ultra-Orthodox protesters attacked the plant on Saturday, in protest of it continuing operations on Shabbat. The plant, in the Har Hotzvim industrial area in Jerusalem, employs some 150 workers.
Israeli police have arrested a Jewish woman for wearing a prayer shawl at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Police said wearing the shawl – known as a tallit – was a violation of a High Court ruling that a dress code must by abided by at the Jewish holy site.
Female teachers say they were told the main entrance is not safe, but they believe the real reason is pressures exerted by ultra-Orthodox elements.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef came out on Saturday night against the feminist lineup at the Western Wall and called for the condemnation of its members. According to him, the movement is made up of “stupid” women who do not act “for Heaven’s sake,” but merely because “they want equality.”
And now the Israeli religious right wants to ban websites because of offenses to its sensibilities:
Prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbis are targeting a new foe in the decidedly impious world of the Internet: They’ve demanded a boycott of their community’s own Web sites, accusing them of disseminating “gossip, slander … filth and abominations.”
It’s the latest flashpoint in a long-simmering battle by ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, rabbis to preserve their influence over hundreds of thousands of followers in an era when the forces of technology are growing ever more powerful.
The ultra-Orthodox portals do not contain the seamy material that traditionally has been the main target of rabbinical ire. But the sites, which publish articles on politics, economics, health and religion, do offer freewheeling discussions with irreverent and unmonitored reader responses – including direct criticism of rabbis’ authority.
And American liberal Jews are still blind to this transformation and reality. This is about tribal-support in the face of human rights of Palestinians and even the human rights of secular Israeli Jews.
But, I will say, this: the haredim Israelis are the best since they are at least cold toward Zionism if not explicitly anti-Zionist. They do not ascribe to Zionist doctrine. That is why they are attacked by Zionist hoodlums:
Jerusalem no longer boasts a Zionist majority. Out of a total population of 800,000, there are 272,000 Arabs and 200,000 Haredim–ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not generally identify with the Zionist state. Recent years have seen the flight of thousands of secular Jews from the city, especially professionals and young couples. This exodus has severely eroded the city’s tax base, making Jerusalem Israel’s poorest city. Add this to the lack of industry and the prevalence of terrorist attacks and it is easy to see why Jerusalem is hardly a magnet for young Israelis. Indeed, virtually half of all Israelis under 18 have never even visited Jerusalem.
Yes, but those youth will go on to serve in the occupying terrorist IDF where they will ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. So they’ll visit with guns and bulldozers.
So they, the haredim, serve as a bridge to build a secular, one-state. They would accept a Palestinian state where Arabs and Jews live together under equal rights. The haredim just wants to be left alone and live their lives – like the Amish. That is fine with me. They can do whatever they want to. As long as the believe in Palestinian rights too, and many of them do and haredim around the world protest against Israel and march in support of the Palestinians and Palestine.
Good people. God bless them.