Beyond the Cusp

October 29, 2018

Synagogue Shooting in Squirrel Hill

 

Eleven people, Jews, were killed and at least six injured including four police at the Tree of Life Synagogue located in Squirrel Hill, a largely Jewish community attached to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For me, this is somewhat personal as when I attended college in Pittsburgh I often walked the streets of Squirrel Hill eating an exquisite corned beef sandwich for lunch at least twice a month, weather permitting. I probably have at least walked by, if not attended services at, this Synagogue. The neighborhood in the early 1970’s was filled with unique Mom and Pop stores selling Judaica and anything else including two head-shops. The people were as wonderful and sweet as you could want to meet. I will always remember the pleasant walks with one of the most special people of my life. But this horrific attack was perpetrated specifically at Jews solely because they are Jews. The same old hatred and falsehoods, anti-Semitic tropes which our forefathers heard in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and, sorrowfully, throughout the world were again found behind the hatred here. He hated the election of President Trump so that was the fault of the Jews despite the known tendency for Jews to vote for the Democrats. He was against immigration from outside of Europe and these were being brought to the United States by Jews, by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) which helps Jewish refugees relocate to the United States. The shooter, identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers, tweeted moments before entering the Tree of Life Synagogue, “I can’t wait while my people are getting slaughtered….I’m going in.” His social media was riddled with anti-Semitism. He was reported to yell, “All Jews must die!” as he began shooting. The Synagogue was filled with Shabbat observers and a family and friends of a circumcision ceremony for their newborn son. This was an act of pure evil perpetrated by a person so filled with hatred of Jews that everything they saw which they thought was wrong was blamed solely and entirely on the Jews.

 

What is equally appalling is the immediate politicization of this indescribable propagation of hatred which took eleven lives while leaving at least another six with varied injuries. This was not about firearms, this was not about any elections, this was not about politics, this was about the oldest hatred which has infected humankind almost since the inception of faith in a single and unseen deity, Hashem. Bowers may have given a thousand different political reasons for blaming the Jews, a thousand different societal qualms for which he blamed the Jews, it does not matter the reasoning that he hated Jews as those were excuses to satisfy his desire for his hatred of the Jews to be justified so his act would be blessed in his warped, hate-filled mind. This is a condition which arises for varied reasons and through varied means. Sometimes it appears to be heredity as if in the mother’s milk, as is commonly said. This is often because they heard Jews blamed for every ill that befell somebody in their family or it was a common theme in their community. This is what has roiled the Middle East and North African nations and what infected Europe, especially Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Then it can be learned at a later point where it is initially launched by some defining moment or act in the person’s life. Then there are times it just arises seemingly out of nowhere with little to indicate from whence it came. This is often the hardest to understand and is also one which can have the most dangerous implications, as there is no prediction or predilection which serves as a warning that the person has such hatred. This instance, there was plenty of warning signs, just nobody did anything to bring the potential threat to the attention of authorities. That would not have likely resulted in any actual actions, but it is nice to think that warning of somebody who is threatening a community within our greater communities would serve to prevent such acts. The problem with anti-Semitism is it is pervasive enough that if the authorities had to keep tabs on every anti-Semite, they would have little resources to perform any other duties. Anti-Semitism is one of the problems which can only be defeated through education for the time being until we gain a far deeper understanding of the human mind and how we learn to hate. It is as Martin Luther King purported, another hatred formed through bigotry and as baseless as the rejection of people of color and all the mindless and baseless claims he fought against. It was as he stated at a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on October 27, 1967, at a Civil Rights rally in Boston, Mass as he stated, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” He recognized this and far more as also stated at the above link.

 

Burning Israel Star of David

 

This shooting will be with the Squirrel Hill community in general and the Tree of Life Synagogue for the foreseeable future as such wounds leave scars which come to mind every time you think of one of the victims or see their relatives and close friends. Such is the nature of these horrible events. There will be the store operated by one of the affected families which will be closed forever leaving a form of dead space even after the new store opens in its place. Certain things in the community will never be the same. What will be the worst remembrance of this trauma will be for the family of the young newborn who was a mere eight days of age and whose bris and naming ceremony was destroyed in an instant of stark terror. This was exactly the same as terror attacks read about which happen in Israel and the trauma to the neighborhood and the congregations will be just as permanent as our memories of such events here. We can share in the indelible feelings of helplessness and victimization which ran through those when the first shots rang through the Synagogue. That sickening feeling deep in your gut which makes you want to wretch while all your mind can think is how can I and those around for whom I care simply disappear and be as far from right here and right now as possible, and you know that no such thing can be performed by mere human beings. Prayers might be running through your head and their content never had more urgency or meaning and those who survive will thank Hashem just that much more sincerely for the time being. Life becomes that much more precious and feelings that much more intense and for many time all but stops and their every movement feels as if they are moving through molasses as it appears to be slowed to almost an enormous effort is being expended to move ever so slowly. Your hear beats faster and so hard you can hear the blood rushing past your ears on its way to the brain which is reviewing options before you can clear your head to control those thoughts. Some moments pass quickly when you remember them but time becomes almost your enemy as it either passes too slow or so fast and you cannot react at that speed. Nothing makes sense and things can even begin to swirl and you feel feint and unable to clearly see what and where things are. Then everything, if you are fortunate, gels and thoughts are crystal clear and you seem to regain control and are able to move with an alacrity which feels as if it is beyond your normal abilities. Then, when you are finally at the end of the threat, and you calm yourself enough to collect your thoughts and emotions and you look at your watch, only fifteen minutes have passed but you feel like it was at least an hour long ordeal. The human body reacts in some ways beyond understanding when one is placed in such a situation where conditions have no resemblance to normal. The feeling of relief at having survived such an ordeal is short-lived as the realization comes and you see that not everyone was as fortunate. Then the reality of the cost of what one just survived but by the grace of fate and Hashem sets in and the melancholy and soul-searching begins. We start to try and find a reason for why we survived and these eleven friends and fellow congregants were not so fortunate. We then find the wounded and, if we are able, we assist them and see that four of them were police who rushed to the scene and you feel gratitude for their heroic efforts which assuredly saved many, possibly oneself. That fills you with the gratitude of living and you once again mutter thanks to Hashem for sparing you and hopefully all those you hold dearest. Not all are that fortunate and they are near their lost loved one completely broken and destitute wondering why not themselves instead. The full gamut of feelings will be found with every person finding their own little place within their consciousness which will provide them even the smallest amount of peace for each moment. Reason cannot account for nor provide any explanation as there is no understanding of why, what or any way to make a better explanation because nothing justifies away the hurt and the horror. Yet, in retrospect, there will be a thousand reasons all of which will prove insufficient, as there is no explaining hate, not pure and unadulterated hate which is at the core of anti-Semitism. There is no reason for such hate and there never has been any reason for such hate but it has endured as the explanation for inadequacies, inequalities and every other complaint held by the anti-Semite because it is easier to blame the Jew than to search within themselves.

 

We could try and continue to explain the actions of Robert Bowers and explore the range of thoughts and reactions of the Congregants present and the police and community who responded to the shooting, the police by rushing towards danger and the community pulling together at the vigil to show solidarity and support for those who died and those who survived as they too will carry the emotional scars on top of everything else for quite a time to come. This was a series of events which the news will dissect until the next tragedy replaces it in the news cycle. Pittsburgh will run with this just that bit longer than the rest of the nation and the world. It will also be carried longer here in Israel as we feel such events as tragic and hope that Jews will realize that they would actually be safer here in Israel. Many find that difficult to believe, but it is actually true. For the Jews of America, if you wish to see what will be your future, just watch Europe as they are but a decade, if that, ahead of the United States and what you witness there you will witness at home in the near future. We do not even desire to think of how many more like Robert Bowers are out there in the United States or across Europe. They are an unseen threat often because they associate with a select group who either completely agree with their every complaint about the Jews or really could not care less one way or the other about their talking evil about the Jews because they are not Jews, they know almost no Jews and thus they do not really care about the Jews. That is another thing about many people to whom the Jews may as well be those aliens from Zeta Reticuli whose saucer just crashed and are setting up house somewhere in the mountain of central Wyoming. This is often why such people who fester such a burning though baseless hatred within are seldom brought to the attention of the authorities. Their acquaintances often simply think of their anti-Semitic ramblings are nothing more than their means of expressing their frustrations and doubt that they are truly serious, let alone actually going to act upon such feelings. These are the way some simply explain their shortcomings or the things which fail to meet their expectations. They did not get a raise because of those Jews, of course. The news which they do not like or reports which show events celebrating something they hate politically it is because of the Jews. That is just their expression and what does it hurt. The problem is that there does exist a percentage of anti-Semites who just might act upon their hate which is what happened in Pittsburgh.

 

Aliens from Zeta Reticuli

Aliens from Zeta Reticuli

 

Often people think of the Jews as being as alien as our little friend pictured above. There are people who believe that Jews look different and that they can pick them out in a crowd. Some believe Jews have tails or horns or whatever feature which denotes them as less human. I was fortunate in life as a nearly two meter tall one hundred kilo male, not many people actually desired to strike me. I have had a few instances when it was necessary to stand up for a less size-endowed Jew and it always shocked the anti-Semite that a Jew would not only talk back but actually call them out on their hatred. None had ever decided to take me up on stepping outside, which is to my liking. But none have ever bothered my Jew of less physical dimensions again after our exchange of words. That too is a good thing. Jews, for the most part, are not overly physical and prefer cerebral methods to the use of force, at least in the United States. This is odd as the person responsible for the scientific art of boxing and heavyweight champion of England in 1792–1795 was a Portuguese Jew named Daniel Mendoza. This was back in the day when it was bare knuckle boxing where there were no gloves and the rules were quite simple. The rules were you started with round one and each round went for three minutes with one minute between rounds and you added one to the round counter until one fighter was knocked out or unable to meet the bell and submitted. Mendoza lost his crown to “Gentleman” John Jackson who found his way to victory by seizing Mendoza by his long hair and holding him with one hand while he pounded his head with the other. So much for the “Gentleman” part of his name. As we stated above, there were not very many rules. But all the Jews of the past also had one thing in common with Jews of today, they still were faced with anti-Semitism, the mindless hatred of the other as defined by the Jew. Jews have been the other because it was easy. They lived separate from the rest of the people in a community which often was walled in. Here is the odd thing, the wall was not for the protection of the Jews inside as they did not erect the wall. The wall was to protect the rest of the world from the Jew and to provide the Jew with a limit as to where they could proceed and not be threatened, but dare to leave the ghetto and the Jew had to be wary and very careful as he was on forbidden ground and only at the mercy of any who might lay eyes on them. These walls were built by the Christians and the Muslims to protect themselves from “Jew contamination” or something like that. Sure, there were periods when the Jews were permitted to mix freely and live amongst the rest of the peoples, but they were never permanent and are proving once again to be temporary. This was a wake-up call which will not be heeded for what it portends. This was a call to return to their only real home where they can live more easily as observant Jews, where they are the majority. This was an Aliyah call telling them that Israel is their real home. For every excuse you might have as a Jew for not returning home to Israel, there is a reason to return to Israel which probably belies that very reason with one exception, your aging parents or grandparents require your remaining where you currently reside. What you will not believe is that once in Israel, providing you come with an open mind and expecting little but to be amazed, then you will find that Israel is truly the home of every Jew and welcomed by a community which speaks English as the British saw to that by colonizing almost every corner of the world. Come and spend a month starting, as too many Jews will, in Tel Aviv and once you have had that experience, then visit the periphery. Go to places such as Jerusalem, of course, and Hebron, the Dead Sea and all the other tourist stops and take in the history and the sights. Then visit Tzfat which is a town of artists, Nahariya, which is a beach town largely for other Israelis, Eilat, as it is the southernmost tip of Israel and also a beach resort, and any number of other places not usually seen on the tourist posters. Israel will surprise you as it has a diverse number of places which have their own personality. We love Nahariya and when we visited to get a feel, we were fortunate to stay in Nahariya and were here for the Purim Parade. We definitely advise making it to some smaller town during Purim as the celebration is one of the times of the year that we all come together and celebrate. Holidays in Israel are so completely different than in the United States as in Israel the Jewish holidays are also national holidays and that too is something to be amazed about. Israel, to put it simply, is the Jewish State, period. And it is perfectly safe as Israel does put a great effort into protecting us to the best of their ability.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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September 18, 2018

Random Terror or Targeted Assassination?

 

Ari Fuld was felled by a 16-year-old a resident of the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Yatta, south of Hevron named Khalil Jabarin. The murder took place near a shopping center in Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem. Forty-five-year-old Ari Fuld was stabbed in the back and as the terrorist fled, Ari managed to give chase and open fire on the terrorist, but he later was to succumb to his wounds. The immediate reaction was indicative of the life of Ari Fuld, a father of four from the town of Efrat in Gush Etzion and an IDF veteran where he was prone to act without thinking of himself first, as recounted in this story. The Hamas terror group, unsurprisingly, praised the terrorist responsible for the murder of Ari Fuld, calling Khalil Jabarin a hero and a martyr. Hamas released a statement which read in part, “We welcome the stabbing attack in Bethlehem, which coincided with the killings of our people during the March of Return.” They further added, “The attack makes it clear that our people wish to continue the Jerusalem intifada. To resist the occupation, by using all means necessary, is our legitimate right.”

 

Ari Fuld

Ari Fuld

 

The official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA presented the terrorist who murdered Ari Fuld Sunday morning as a victim of an Israeli shooting playing down the inconvenient fact that he was shot after his commission of a terror attack stabbing Ari Fuld leading to the Israeli’s death. The story ran under the headline, ‘Israeli forces injure Palestinian near Bethlehem.’ We are just waiting to see if this story reaches outside of Israel and should it do so, it will be curious as to how it is presented. We are anticipating that in Europe the story will start with the Palestinian youth being shot by an activist Israeli who was prominent in the Settler Movement. After exhausting that lie, they might mention that the Israeli was the victim of a terrorist stabbing or they may simply leave his stabbing up to the reader to decide which came first, the knifing or the shooting. We can give them a hint, if the shooting came before the stabbing, then there would have been no stabbing, just one dead young man but here the shooter died and the stabber was merely wounded. The stabbing initiated the exchange as the stabber had run placing distance between himself and the shooting reply which in a state of shock was probably even less accurate. We also expect for European protests demanding that Khalil Jabarin, at the tender age of just 16, was likely not really responsible for his actions and it was the actions of Israel that brought on this act of frustration.

 

We have been to this dance before and know the tune all too well. NGOs such as the New Israel Fund, Students for Justice in Palestine, Adalah, BDS, Coalition of Women for Peace and a plethora of ‘Human Rights’ NGOs which are simply against Israel and working in concert with the Arab and Muslim worlds for the elimination of the Jewish State replacing it with a democratic state of all its citizens meaning the entirety of the former British Mandate where the populations of the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, UNWRA refugees and Jordan will vote with Israel in a democratic election one time for the new dictator of the lands from Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea. This will place the ballot before approximately seven million Jews and two million other minority religions against somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five-million Palestinian and Jordanian Arab Muslims. This has been the latest idea for a fair means of representing the Arabs as a whole in their dispute with Israel solved democratically. We think it sounds like twenty-five wolves and seven sheep deciding on what will be dinner, or should we say who will be dinner.

 

Ari Fuld was a well known man and easily recognizable in the areas around where he was murdered. He was a member of his community’s rapid response team, and IDF veteran, and an advocate for Israeli rights and the enforcement of the actual laws which meant that Area C was designated as Israeli and that Israel was not expected to return to the Green Line which has been referred to as the Auschwitz Borders. Anyone with even the slightest hint of intelligence with a knowledge of history know very well that the British Mandate placed the border between Jordan and Israel as the Jordan River and that is the legal border to this day. Until and unless Israel signs away her rights to these lands, as she did Gaza, there is no legal means of taking them away. Sure, the “Palestinian Authority has just submitted a claim where the PLO urged ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to meet with representatives of Khan al-Ahmar and Palestinian officials over the village’s fate,” according to Saab Erekat. He subsequently added, “We’re determined to pursue our fight in the UN Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice.” In response, US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday warned The Hague-based court not to go after Israel, stating, “We will not allow the ICC or any other organization to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.” And of course, this would not be complete until we have two United Nations special human rights investigators commenting without any invitation stating, “Forced eviction constitutes a gross violation of the right to adequate housing under international human rights law. In addition, forcible transfer of people who are protected within an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and amounts to a war crime under the 1998 Rome Statute.”

 

We wonder what everyone thinks of the European Union building substandard shacks which lack water, sewage, electricity, gas, roads or even floors in the ‘homes’ and then protesting when Israel removes these illegal structures which were never licensed or inspected during their construction (see images below with the top one the one they are taking to the ICC). One can only wonder what the reaction would be if an Israeli company with money from an NGO would build a ramshackle neighborhood just outside The Hague and let homeless vagrants occupy them and demand that Brussels straighten out these homes and fit them to all the utilities so these poor people can live there. We get the feeling Israel would be condemned for this ‘equally egalitarian effort’ which mirrors the European Union actions in Israel and would be referred to as a completely different situation. Of course it is, there are no Jews being threatened, thus it has no purpose but the ones in Israel are on the grounds of another city, border a major highway and pose a direct threat even to emergency reaction forces which would need to use that highway. But that is exactly why the European Union is supporting the Palestinian complaint as is the United Nations and it would have been likely that the United States would have gone with the Palestinians had not the election placed Trump in the White House.

 

Illegally Built Outpost European Union Claims Must be Legalized

Illegally Built Outpost European Union Claims Must be Legalized

 

Illegal European Union structures bearing obvious EU Identification signs

Illegal European Union structures bearing obvious EU Identification signs

 

Illegal European Union built structures in Disputed Territories

Illegal European Union built structures in Disputed Territories

 

More Illegal European Union built structures in Disputed Territories

More Illegal European Union built structures in Disputed Territories

 

The reason we brought up these ludicrous attempts to destroy Israel was simply because Ari Fuld was deeply involved in the Zionist efforts and it will be impossible to replace his energy and enthusiasm. He is going to be missed and remembered whenever action may be required as he was a man who would not sit still when Israel was threatened. It was because of his community efforts and acts reaching throughout the region that made him a target. This was not what it will be portrayed, a random stabbing, this was a targeted murder. This was how the Palestinian Authority, PLO, Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas and the plethora of Arab anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic groups and individuals work to have their side take the superior position. To get a feel for the loss Israel is feeling and his community as well as his family, simply search Ari Fuld on Google or whatever search engine and you can get an idea of the man but for a deeper understanding, simply visit his Facebook page as long as Facebook leaves it in place. Nothing you read or watch can fully explain this wonderful human being who was targeted because he loved Israel and the Jewish People.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 25, 2018

Modernizing the Israeli Haredi Community

 

The modernization of the Israeli Haredi community is not simply an objective but an absolute necessity. The problem comes down to simple mathematics. As the Haredi community has grown, they have become a larger and larger percentage of the Israeli population. If there is one thing we have learned, it is that there is a critical point beyond which the rest of the population becomes unable to produce sufficient wealth that they can take care of another portion of the community. Those numbers differ depending on numerous variables, but once the dependent populations clears 40%, let alone reach 50%, they become an overt and unbearable burden on the remainder of the population and other government services such as defense begin to suffer catastrophically. For this reason, the Haredi community needs to be pulled, voluntarily or kicking and screaming, into the mainstream working population. For a model of such one need look no further than the United States where the Haredi communities not only work, pulling their own weight, as well as studying Torah and are amongst some of the wealthiest and most productive Jewish communities. The same model can be duplicated in Israel and still permit for the top and most promising Torah scholars to study Torah as their work financed by the charity of others or the government, something which can be hammered out once the Haredi show their promise to have the majority join the normative society.

 

The initial step in this direction comes by including the Haredi in military service. This would begin by passing a draft law which would make Haredi men eligible to be drafted with a small but relatively sizable percentage allowed being exempted as Torah scholars. This percentage should not exceed 10% though initially it could be set as high as 25% and brought down from there. For those Haredi not exempted but adamantly opposed to service in the IDF, they can be given the standard option of National Service. This will require the IDF remain hospitable to religious soldiers and reverse the somewhat recent trend to impose secular standards upon religious soldiers. This has apparently come about as the high command appeared to be attempting to break the will of the more religious soldiers, something which should never happen within the Jewish Army. There could be combined religious-Haredi brigades or even a complete division. The catch is currently the religious Zionists when enlisting often request longer service periods in order to serve in the most prestigious special brigades such as the Nahal Brigade, the Paratroopers Brigade and the Sayeret Matkal as well as the other Special Forces units. It is unlikely that the entirety of the Haredi would desire to enter such units and their percentages in each area of service are more likely to mirror the rest of Israeli draftees.

 

Five beautiful, glorious and holy Torah Scrolls which carry near infinite wisdom and are the foundation of all Judaism and their culture and civilization is built around the Torah and the teaching of Torah

Five beautiful, glorious and holy Torah Scrolls which carry near infinite wisdom and are the foundation of all Judaism and their culture and the Jewish civilization is built around the Torah and the teaching of Torah

 

The difficulty in bringing this concept to fruition has been the simple political fact; the Haredi Parties within the coalition have the numbers to bring elections and thus can resist any draft law which requires Haredi service. This is one of the difficulties with parliamentary coalition governments; they are only as strong as their most disruptive link. The coalition system has presumed advantages though when scrutinized, the disadvantages appear to crop up far more prominently than any advantages. The Haredi parties demand as their entry into any coalition that their population remain deferred from service in the IDF or National Service because they must be free to study Torah twenty-four-seven otherwise peace will never come to the world. We really hate to break this to them, peace does not appear any closer with them pursuing only Torah study, perhaps some of them might be going about their studies with less than the required serious concentration necessary to bring world peace. This has been the problem as some of the Ministers of the Knesset have pointed out, they can drive through the Haredi neighborhoods, largely in Tel Aviv, and they see tens to hundreds of young Haredi men standing around on street corners smoking cigarettes and not apparently pouring over Torah manuscripts and the related commentaries deep in study and thought. The claim is these numbers are too large and persistent and are found almost any hour of the day to be laid on the excuse that these young men were taking a break. This may weaken the Haredi parties’ arguments, but it does not dilute their ability to force elections.

 

There is another means of slowly forcing the incorporation of the Israeli Haredi to join into the workforce, which is the actual reason for including them into the IDF and having required STEM and other basic courses be taught at the Yeshivas. As stated above, such is the norm for the Haredi in the United States and they support their own Torah greats in their studies from within their community and do not demand that the United States government support their Torah studies as the Haredi have done historically here in Israel. The other persuasive means is to not increase, or actually decrease, the amount of government support provided to the Haredi communities thus eventually forcing them to realize that their game is up. Again, this will run afoul of the Haredi parties who can threaten to force new elections. Eventually there will be a government coalition not requiring the Haredi parties to reach the required sixty-one Ministers, a majority of the one-hundred-twenty in the Knesset. For the Haredi’s sake, they had better pray during their Torah studies that such a coalition not be made up of the secular-left as they will have no pity and feel absolutely no guilt in cutting the Haredi communities off their support leaving them to beg and scratch to survive. At least if such a coalition is from the right-Zionist-religious-nationalist parties, then the Haredi will be cared for more gently but the writing is on the wall and they are going to by necessity be joining the normative society. Of this need there can be no rational argument as their numbers and percentage of the Israeli population continue to increase.

 

The truth is there are some very successful Haredi run companies within Israel. What makes these companies all the more outstanding is that they have nary a man in the building. These are companies started by and populated with Haredi women. To read about a select group of these companies we would like to provide links to the following this article, this article, this article, this article, this article, this article and this article. These are proof that the Haredi believe in working and if the men desired, they could very probably follow their women’s example while adding a difference where each department within the company was given special time in which to devote themselves solely to Torah. This would serve two purposes. The first is that it would permit every Haredi with time to study Torah and second, we would not be deprived of a miraculous contribution to the commentaries on Torah coming from the most unlikely of former students. People always bring up the fact that Albert Einstein did not do well in his early studies, especially where speed was required in answering any question. Thus, the claims that even the most brilliant diamond is but a lump of rock when pulled from the earth is an analogous comparison. The countering argument is equally valid in that not every Haredi is a real and treasured brilliant Torah scholar and thus every Haredi is not necessary for the advancement of Torah and the Law going forward, a percentage including the most promising students should be permitted deferment from IDF and even joining the workforce and possibly receiving a stipend from the government. But the teachers at their Yeshivas and their participants in immersive Torah studies should ideally be supported by the Haredi community just as they are in other countries. Most of the synagogues and especially those attending regular services provide sufficient charity to the Haredi to pay for much of this work being performed in a most serious manner. Finally, working and supporting oneself was ideally meant to provide additional insight into the human condition and thus deepen one’s ability to understand Torah and the Commandments and allow for a deeper interpretation of Torah relevant to the lives of the people.

 

This is all well and good but it does not get us past the Haredi parties blocking, or attempting to block changes in the current system by threatening to force new elections. The Haredi parties do not fear elections because their voting block supports their candidates because their rabbis tell them to do so and thus their representation remains rather constant between nine and thirteen seats. This often makes them the kingmakers as their numbers can make for a stable coalition capable of having four or even seven Ministers not vote with the coalition and still have their legislation be passed and prevent new election crisis. Often they are required to form a coalition and in these instances their power is greatly increased, making changing the rules very difficult. This requires that the Haredi be persuaded to accept these changes which lead to painfully slow progress in these areas. One can only hope that the Haredi leadership, preferably their leading most rabbis, will simply state what is true; Torah scholars are meant to also work as a means of remaining humble and appreciative of how those who depend on them to interpret Torah such that it is made meaningful for them are served. Even the prophets of old were required to work for a living with only the most brilliant and righteous having as their position to advise the Kings. Otherwise, the prophets in antiquity would have starved to death and along the way become too weak to think straight. We understand that some of them did not particularly think straight all the time even with food and good employment. The fact they were required to perform something of monetary worth in addition to their relating the desires of Hashem is the important point. Surely, the Haredi do not place their Torah study above the revelations which came from the prophets, or do they?

 

When the day arrives that the Haredi see the light of day or are not required and a coalition is formed without their participation, then the Haredi will know what it feels like to be depending upon the kindness of others exclusively. On this day, the future of the Haredi community will be decided free of their input and this fact alone should place the fear of Hashem into the leaders of these Haredi parties. They would be far better served to be participants in a logical, acceptable and understandable transition towards reaching a final goal and in defining that final goal. Should the Haredi continue to endlessly demand that the system not be altered, they run the risk of when the system is altered that they will receive absolutely no special privilege from the government. Would it not serve them far better to receive support for 10% or at most 20% of their adult population being permitted to spend their time as Torah scholars producing the standards of Torah for the whole of the community? This is the overbearing question which they should be thinking and not plotting to force no change taking place because doing so will soon lead to their being resented by the population at large, and that would spell danger for the Haredi as a whole. There is a final bit which requires addressing, and it involves the fanatics within the Haredi community. They must be brought within control of the greater Haredi community. Their attacking other Haredi because they serve in the IDF is behavior which should be treated as being beyond the pale and unacceptable. The same goes for their riotous reaction when people not meeting their ideal dress code for modesty are seen within their neighborhoods. The Haredi need understand that other people with different standards exist and have equal rights to be respected and not become the victims of a self-professed modesty police. Such actions are part of societies which are ruled by a theocratic dictatorship. This is nowhere near the ideals of the State of Israel where we cherish equality and that there are differences between people. The principle problems concerning the Haredi community and its incorporation into mainstream Israeli society will come at some point in the not too distant future. The final reality strike will come when there will be no means of supporting the Haredi within Israel and also budgeting for the IDF and other necessary government services such as road repair, utilities and all the other necessities which people rely on the government to provide. This brings up the concept that perhaps everyone need be reminded that the government should be limited and not providing services to the people which the people can provide for themselves, and that goes for all people.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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