As someone who works in social media and enjoys following the news and reading blogs, I get a general feeling of what the public are saying. Due to the IsraelB Online community I run, I have to have my finger on the pulse.
In the news and on social media, the phrases, ‘peleg yerushalami’, ‘ultra orthodox’, ‘extreme charedim’ and ‘yeshiva bochrim’ were being used synonymously, describing the same disgusting event yesterday.
We all agree, that the peleg yerushalmi demonstrations at the entrance to the city were totally unacceptable and a gross chilul hashem.
We also know full well, that they don’t represent the mainstream charedi sector and in fact are a fringe element outside of the charedi sector, led by R’Shmuel Auerbach.
Furthermore, the mainstream charedi gedolim, like Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Shach, Rav Shteinman, the Brisker Rov and Rav Kanievsky all denounce public demonstrations. The mainstream charedi sector distance themselves from the peleg sect and reject their conduct.
We know that, because we live in Orthodox communities in Israel, know what goes on and follow the news in Ivrit.
The question is, what do the outside world think? What are the secular press saying? What are the world press saying? What are irreligious Jews in the Diaspora saying? Do they really have the understanding that we have as to the complexity and divisions within the religious sector here?
Do they know about this anarchistic, ‘peleg yerushalmi’ sect? Do they really appreciate that despite the fact that Rav Shmuel Auerbach (the leader of the peleg sect) is the son of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z’l, he has chosen such a different path to his father, who was a man of peace, love and harmony?
And, yes, that’s the tragedy that I have seen on the news and social media since the appalling scenes from yesterday’s peleg demonstrations on the news. That all the good and positive developments within the mainstream Charedi sector are yet again harmed and knocked due to the behaviour of these peleg thugs.
Tragically the phrases, ‘Peleg Yerushalmi’, ‘Ultra-Orthodox’, ‘Extreme Charedim’ and ‘Yeshiva Bochrim’ have all been used interchangeably to describe yesterday’s event in the blogs and news headlines written and posted on social media.
So, what can we do apart from be frustrated and angry – Apart from write comments on facebook and writing blogs like this?
It’s quite simple. That when we are on the streets and meeting regular, secular Israelis and others to make sure we make the right impression of how G-d fearing Jews really behave.
It’s only through personal example and making an extra big effort, that we can rectify the damage.