Monday, October 22, 2007

R' Yakov Horowitz on Charedi Violence in Israel

From his site, excerpts:

What happened:
Once again, charedi Jews worldwide were shamed and disgraced yesterday, by association, due to the actions of a few violent criminals dressed like charedi Jews.

This time, it was in Beit Shemesh, where according to reports in Israeli papers, a group of five chareidi young men assaulted a woman for refusing to move to the back of a ‘charedi’ bus where the front seats were ‘reserved’ exclusively for men. A male soldier seated next to the woman was reportedly also assaulted – “murderously” beaten, according to the soldier. When police arrived to arrest the individuals, dozens of other ‘chareidi’ men attacked the police officers and punctured the tires of a police car, according to the newspaper reports.
What should be done:
I believe that the vast, overwhelming majority of charedi Jews worldwide feel as I do; disgraced and shamed when these events occur. We also feel frustrated; as there is little that we can do to remove this collective stain from our shirts. We do not seem to have a voice in this process at all.

Do you know what I would like to see happen? I would like the Rabbonim of Eretz Yisroel to use the platform of the charedi press to:

1) Clearly and unequivocally condemn the violence in the strongest language.

2) Issue halachic rulings that:
  • Violence is forbidden by our Torah under any circumstances
  • Those who commit violence constitute a real and present danger to the safety of the public and one is halachicly obligated to report them to the police, and
  • If one finds himself in the presence of a violent act perpetrated by criminals, he is halachicly obligated to defend the victim as the Torah says, “Lo sa’amod al dam re’echa”
We all hope that someone will follow the suggestions laid out in this piece; sadly, we've hit the point where nobody is going to be holding their breath in waiting.


  1. Uch. I am *so* tired of hearing about these stories. The ineffectuality (or lack of choice, or desire) of rabbanim to crack down on people who perpetrate crimes like this makes me sick. It's really hard to keep telling the world that these violent people are not representative of the whole when no major rabbanim seem to be speaking out against them and stopping them.

  2. This is far from an isolated incident, and this sort of thing happens alot in Beit Shemesh.

  3. Beit Shemesh has its share of these stories because of the diversity of the Jews that live there. You don't hear much of this type of stuff in homogeneous all-Charedi neighbourhoods.

    I have heard several reasons why the major rabbanim don't speak out on these things:

    1. The perpetrators are not followers of our rabbanim, so there's no point.

    2. They must focus more on banning the greater threats facing Klal Yisrael such as SEPARATE SEATING concerts by the Miami Boys Choir or Mordechai Ben David, the writings of Rabbi Natan Slifkin and non-Kosher cell phones.

  4. Why weren't these guys at work?