Jason Shvili
An Israeli in Canada

Some of Israel’s Haredim Are Out of Line. It’s Time to Knock Them Back In

Today, I was appalled to hear about the treatment of members of Women of the Wall at the hands of Haredi bandits (Ultra-Orthodox curse, spit, tear up a prayer book while Women of the Wall pray). What’s also disturbing is the way police allegedly responded to this Haredi mob: By doing absolutely nothing.  Indeed, Israeli authorities regularly treat Haredi extremists with kids gloves and I think this needs to stop.  There are just too many people in the Haredi community who have no respect for anyone, whether it’s women, secular people or anyone else who doesn’t want to live like them and do their bidding.  The rest of Israel has been living in fear of these extremists for far too long and it’s time we turned the tables.  It’s time for the extremists to start living in fear instead of ordinary Israelis who don’t conform to the Haredi lifestyle.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not just ordinary Israelis living in fear of Haredi extremists, but also successive Israeli governments, including the current one.  Almost all Israeli governments have had members of Haredi political factions sitting at the cabinet table.  The Haredim, like all other Israelis, have the right to representation.  What they don’t have the right to do is to use that representation to blackmail governments into imposing theocratic laws and policies on the country’s non-Haredi population.  But unfortunately, this is exactly what they’ve been doing.  The latest example?  Haredi factions threatening Prime Minister Netanyahu that they will leave his government if he does not cancel the agreement with the Women of the Wall to create a mixed-gender section at Judaism’s holiest site – an agreement that the Haredi leaders initially agreed to.  They have since changed their minds and will now stop at nothing to prevent the compromise arrangement from taking shape.  Bibi has so far yielded to the Haredi parties, not wanting his government to fall.  I just wish he had the same courage in dealing with Haredi extremists as he does in dealing with Palestinian terrorists.

Actually, I would say that the extremists among the Haredim are terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly.  They’re lucky I’m not in charge, because if I were, the police wouldn’t just be standing around while they spit and curse at women trying to pray peacefully at Judaism’s holiest site. They’d be breaking the bones of these terrorists and hauling all of them off to jail.  Yes, I advocate nothing less than an iron fist policy towards Haredi extremists.  Some of them even burn Israeli flags on Independence Day and show support for our enemies – yet at the same time, they take money from the Israeli taxpayer to subsidize their lifestyle.  In my opinion, any Haredi sect, movement or organization that supports the destruction of Israel should be treated just as we would treat terrorist organizations like Hamas or Islamic Jihad. They and any of their symbols should be banned and their members thrown in jail.

Now please don’t interpret my words as hatred for the Haredim in general.  All Haredim that wish only to minde their own business and live in peace with their fellow Israelis should have no fear. But as for those who want to impose theocracy on Israel or even destroy the state altogether, you are vermin and you deserve to be treated as such.

About the Author
Jason Shvili was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area. He studied at the University of Toronto and now owns and operates a small business. He is proficient in Hebrew and also has working to advanced knowledge of Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.
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