Holy f*$@^d: A rant on religious coercion in Israel

Imagine this situation: A group of secular Israelis get together and decide to spread the gospel of science and enlightenment in Bnei Brak. They buy a picnic table (get one at Osher Ad, Yossi, it’s cheaper), pack dozens of copies of Stephen Hawking’s “A brief history of time”, some pastrami and emek cheese sandwiches (from Tiv Taam, of course) and set up shop at the corner of Aharanovich Street. Or better yet, they decide to send their teenage kids armed with gelatin gummy bears to the local playground in Bnei Brak and then offer the kids one for every page of Stephen Hawking they read.

I think it’s safe to say that those secular Israelis would be lynched by an outraged religious mob in Bnei Brak. They’d be run out of town, possibly thrashed within inches of their lives. Yet when chabadniks spread out on street corners in central Tel Aviv on a Friday (I spotted three this past Friday on Sheinkin, Nahalat Binyamin and Allenby) and accost every man that passes to lay t’fillin, no one bats an eye. Or the five religious ladies handing out Shabbat candles to my wife (ha ha, jokes on you – we use the candles to burn effigies of Bibi). Or when the Chabadniks send their own children to playgrounds in secular communities with sweets for the kids if they recite psalms and no one dares say anything.


The secular community is, as usual, on their back getting it in the missionary position.

Some of you might be following the balagan the religious parties in general, and the United Torah Judaism Alliance party in particular are raising because of the construction on the Jerusalem railway repairs on Shabbat. The coalition threatened to implode some weekends ago until a last minute compromise was reached; only non-Jews would work on Shabbat and thus the crisis averted. This weekend was another story. Health Minister (or is he Deputy Health Minister? Some of you might recall that he was unable to accept the position of ‘minister’ until a landmark approval by the chief Rabbi) Yaacov Litzman resigned his position in protest. See, the problem was, German engineers – some of the best in the world apparently- were scheduled to arrive in Israel this weekend and consult so work had to continue. Oy!

Who cares about the thousands of working, tax paying Israelis that will be stranded in traffic for hours on Sunday as a result of work stoppages? Or soldiers who won’t make it to the base on time. Fuck ’em up the you know what!

A few weeks ago Interior Minister Aryeh Deri attempted to orchestrate a shutdown of all businesses on Saturday in Tel Aviv. If it wasn’t for the High Court of Justice, ruling that each city could determine its own policies for the Saturday, we would have lost all the fun that is overpriced foie gras at Sarona Market on Saturday morning. I joke but the foie gras is tres magnifique. Hopefully Deri will be back in jail (he’s currently being investigated on corruption charges… again) before he has a chance to bypass the law somehow and screw the secular population.

I’m not going to talk about the religious dominance of marriage, divorce, (I kinda already wrote about it) and death. That’s another can of worms. Nor am I going to talk about the insidious trickling of religious materials into the schools (my son, a second grader in a public school, was just taken on a class trip to a synagogue on my local tax shekel) nor am I going to talk about the invasion of privacy we endure every Passover when security guards rifle through our bags looking for chametz. Or the fact that we can’t take a bus on Saturday yet ministers who block legislation to reform this (Israel Katz etc.) get driven around on Shabbat in government issued cars driven by tax-paid chauffeurs. It boggles the mind.

Wait a minute. Maybe I should talk about how the religious coercion here is screwing the secular Israelis doggy style, time and again,

Fine. I will talk about how seculars are being bent over, even though technically it’s more of a Dirty Shlomo (A Jewified Dirty Sanchez) than just plain tushie sex. How is it ok for the ultra religious to demand that all Israelis live in accordance with their interpretation of Judaism yet they themselves refuse to serve in the army or contribute to society? Would that be sustainable if every Jew decided NOT to serve in the army? Would they be afforded the same freedom of religion under an Iranian-proxy regime, like Hamas? Possibly, but that would be the end of the Zionist dream and we’d be back in ghetto mentality, ripe for some other maniacal dictator’s final solution for us. Nope. Not happening again, fuckers.

But I digress.

Back to anal.

Every secular Israeli is getting shtupped up the tuchus by the religious establishment and it’s time we put an end to it. Why should we serve in the military for three years and then another twenty in reserves when an entire population does neither yet reaps the benefits of exorbitant budgets? Why should religious avrechim (full time Yeshiva students) make three or four times what combat soldiers make? Why? Why do I need a car to get around on Shabbat?  Because the system is rotten, corrupt and yes, FUBAR.

I know what you’re thinking. This is the JEWISH state and if you don’t like it well, pack your leftist, pot smoking, Haaretz-reading, meretz-voting, Israel-hating, self-effacing shit up and move back to whatever Jew hatin’ city you’re from. This is the way it’s been since the Status Quo arrangement back in1948 and this is the way it will be. Besides, a lot of people (a LOT of people) will also claim that I’ve misrepresented the issue. They don’t actually mind the missionary position (heck, they probably stop and put on t’filin when accosted) and they sure as heck don’t mind when a public school sends their kids on a field trip to the synagogue (it won’t hurt them, to have some Judaism injected into their education). M. and I raised a ruckus about the religious texts in our public school and 90% of the parents turned on us as though we had just dropped a shadoobie on the floor (Godless heathens. No wonder their kid is so… you know…meshugana)

Some of you might take offense at the crude sexual metaphors I’m using to depict the schism between the religious and secular in Israeli society. Granted, I could have been less salty (but who would bother to read it in our age of listicles and click bait) but the fact of the matter is that no matter how much the secular community protests, nothing ever changes. The shaft just gets deeper and deeper with every shady, backroom coalition compromise.

Live and let live, assholes.  Otherwise, maybe it’s time the rest of us took the battle to their streets and fought back. This is not Iran. We’re not run by religious zealots. We’re not a Religious Rule. We’re supposed to be the only true democracy in the Middle East and it’s about time we fuckin’  acted like it.

/end rant.

About the Author
Jason Fredric Gilbert is a film director, published author and acclaimed parallel parker; His Independent Film,"'The Coat Room" won "Best in Fest" at the 2006 Portland Underground Film Festival. He is also the author of two books of screenplays, "Miss Carriage House" and the follow up collection of screenplays "Reclining Nude & The Spirit of Enterprise" He currently lives in Ramat Gan with his wife, son and cat.
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