Tsuris in Jerusalem, as the Hasidim get into the Orangefest spirit

I love this. We’re now on the third week of this protest by Hasidim in Jerusalem against the opening of a car park on Shabbes. This has involved the frummers getting stuck into the police with a venom usually only reserved for fighting with rival Hasidic sects, thanks to the cops deciding to uphold the sinful opening of the car park.

Perhaps now we’ll see David Hirsh and Norman Geras coming out with forthright condemnations of this blatant anti-Semitism on the part of, er, the Israeli authorities. Then again, maybe not.


  1. Phil said,

    July 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Actually, the last time I got into an argument on Engage, a couple of people got very close to calling the Hasidim anti-semitic – this being the only obvious alternative to abandoning the equation of anti-Zionism and anti-semitism.

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    July 12, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Theological anti-Zionism is really a Hasidic preoccupation these days, although Zionists don’t like to admit that it was the majority view in European Jewish communities until probably the rise of Hitler. But if you’re a religious Jew, those Hasidic polemics are damn near impossible to refute, especially as the Hasidim have a wealth of religious knowledge that the Zionists don’t.

    There’s also, I think, the way Jewish orthodoxy tends to embarrass atheists of Jewish origin who like to frame Judaism in terms of an attachment to Eretz Israel and a vague set of ethics. It’s like when Norm quotes Hillel as a stick to beat Independent Jewish Voices – if Norm is going to quote the ancient sages, he might like to examine some of the juicier bits of the Talmud, like the sections on women or the really scurrilous stuff about Jesus, and explain to us what this has to do with universal values.

  3. Phil said,

    July 12, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    It’s a difficult relationship, for sure. Here are the comments I was thinking of:

    “Members of Neturei Karta routinely deny the authentic Jewish identities of Israeli Zionists and their diaspora supporters. To the extent that they demand the immediate dismantling of the Zionist state and anticipate with a kind of messianic glee the suffering and displacement of millions of its citizens, it is certainly within bounds to say that their movement harbors ill-will toward a large segment of the population which the rest of the world would define as Jewish, an attitude that is rather difficult to distinguish from antisemitism, regardless of who hold it”

    Or, put a bit more crudely:

    “Most Jews are zionists. Zionism is a legitimate aspect of Jewish modern history and identity, regardless of those who accept or deny it and no matter how much they may like it or not like it. Anti-zionism denies and seeks to deminise that aspect of Jewish identity … it is no different from those antisemites who say we ‘only’ oppose Jews because they eat kosher food.”

  4. prianikoff said,

    July 13, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Not sure how the analogy with the Orangemen works.
    They are engaged in running battles with secular jews over Sabbath obervance, not with Palestinian Arabs.

    The term Haredim is now more commonly used for such groups. (which roughly translates as “quakers before god”)
    This group are the Edah Haredim, who are similar in ideology to the Satmars.
    i.e. strictly religiously observant and opposed to the secular zionist state.


    Their ideological stance is based on the following view of the former Satmar Rabbi, Joel Teitlebaum:-
    “The Talmud explains that we have been foresworn, by three strong oaths not to ascend to the Holy Land as a group using force, not to rebel against the governments of countries in which we live, and not by our sins, to prolong the coming of moshiach; as is written in Tractate Kesubos 111a”

  5. splinteredsunrise said,

    July 13, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Yes, I’ve run into the Satmars in Brooklyn. Interesting people.

    We of course have our own history of battles over Sabbath observance. Back in the 1960s the Northern Ireland Labour Party split over the question of chaining up swings in municipal parks on Sundays.

  6. prianikoff said,

    July 13, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Well, I think in this case, the issue is probably that the Car Park is inside their Eruv. i.e. they wouldn’t go and riot about the car park in the Canyon Yerushalayim, but will do if it encroaches on their religious turf.

  7. Madam Miaow said,

    July 13, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I love those hats. But don’t their brains boil in the heat?

  8. prianikoff said,

    July 13, 2009 at 10:37 am

    On reading some more news reports about this, it appears that the Edda are acting as a vanguard which has managed to coalesce a united front of Haredi factions, including the more establishment Shas.

    The fact that the car park is so close to the orthodox neighbourhood of Mea She’arim would certainly have helped boost the numbers involved.
    The conflict is also part of a wider political struggle between secular and religious Jewish groups in Jerusalem.
    Last year, the new secular mayor Nir Barkat ended 5 years of religious rule in the city.

    But he opposes dividing Jerusalem as part of any peace agreement with the Palestinians and has promised to build extensively in East Jerusalem.

  9. ejh said,

    July 13, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I can’t remember the exact wording, but the play area in Inverarish on Raasay still has a notice up saying that it is not to be used on Sundays.

  10. July 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    […] hair out at the behaviour of the city’s religious minority. For one thing, there’s the standoff with the Edah HaChareidis movement over the opening of a car park on Shabbes, apparently violating […]

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