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1 What, me worry?  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 11:28:09am

I'm very excited to see this all coming to a head. I see it as an incredibly positive and empowering movement. It's part and parcel of the OWS, the American gay rights movement and also the Arab Spring. Everyone wants out of the closet!

Israel is so unique as a country. It has democracy. It has a ruling parliament body with representation from all walks of life, including Arabs. It has criminal and civil laws, and a justice system. But unlike other western democracies, it also abides by Jewish law. This is where the women's issues arise. Women are fighting against religious segregation and I have no doubt they'll succeed.

As to the Arab Spring, they need more than revolution. It's not even enough to demand democracy. Democracy is the ability to cast a vote, however, elections can be corrupted very easily. You need the rule of law, criminal/civil laws, a justice system that is equal to all. Here in the U.S., we are a Republic. We have a written constitution. All of this together is the freedom the Arabs want, but simply toppling a dictator will not create it. History, in fact, shows us that usually one dictator takes over from another. The people have to demand more and usually have to shed their blood for more. We did. Ain't nothing ever free, least of all freedom.

2 Archangelus  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 11:59:29am

This isn't just the sole issue of women's rights - religious extremists have been pushing the boundaries of the general populace, and gradually taking more and more efforts towards essentially annihilating the long-standing "status quo" established decades ago between the religious and secular elements in the country.

Women already have rights in Israel - they even predate similar rights in other democracies - but in its pandering to the religious right and ultra Orthodox elements, Israeli governments have turned a blind eye towards issues such the abuse of those rights - when they were on a smaller scale.

And as the saying goes, you reap what you sow: in ignoring these issues for so long out of political convenience, things have gradually escalated to the point where the larger, more secular populace is essentially fed up at this point. The intensity of the counter-reaction to the latest incidents didn't come out of thin air, all of a sudden; as far as many are concerned, they've seen their way of life being shown little to no regard for a long time now, by a population that has long-since grown beyond the definitions established in the historic "status quo"; one that doesn't participate equally in the social order (many to most religious factions don't serve in the mandatory military service, get funneled significant funds without being part of the workforce, and more) and is attempting to force its way of life upon them, their opinions be damned.

The fact that the moderate religious parties and the Netanyahu government - whose coalition parties such as Lieberman's Israel Beitenu relied heavily on secular votes - either refrained from taking action out of fear of internal strife or simply didn't care, may now result in a secular tidal wave which seems to be starting to take shape.

The next round of Israeli elections in will be interesting to watch in my humble opinion, to say the least.

3 Eclectic Infidel  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 12:02:25pm

My understanding is that this sort of discrimination has been going on for some time in Israel, with the government and police turning a blind eye. I wonder why Israeli officials are paying attention now?

4 Archangelus  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 12:33:28pm

re: #3 eclectic infidel

I wonder why Israeli officials are paying attention now?

Facebook, pure and simple; Social media networks, FB in particular, are INSANELY popular in Israel over the past 1-2 years, and more Israelis are connected online percentage-wise than in many other modernized countries in comparison, and it's utilized in a big way. News updates can resonate and result in significant reactions . Its part of the success of the summer's financial-oriented protests, and the coverage that this has got among Israelis utilizing the networks seems to be promoting it in the same way.
Those protesters, and a wave of successful boycotts during the same time as well (which marked a first in Israeli society) drew in massive support from more than 80%+ of the population according to many polls, which meant that the political sphere eventually had no choice but to react.
The Israeli media and the politicians have learned to spot such trends and recognize them as vital, and react accordingly.

5 SanFranciscoZionist  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 1:02:44pm

I really hope this is some sort of a tipping point. I'm seeing very little now of the pushback you usually get, where people start to cry that the poor, poor extremist nuts are being harassed, and it's because people hate the Orthodox. Haredim are out there too, saying that they're sick of being hassled by these small-change Taliban groups.

6 What, me worry?  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 1:16:32pm

re: #2 Archangelus

But it's mostly concentrated on women's rights. The issues with women praying at the wall with the Torah or Tefillin. Removing women's photos from billboards as to not upset the Orthodox. Women not allowed to sit with men on the buses.

Indeed, I forgot about the privilege that the Orthodox receive. I don't understand all the complexities of it, but as to mandatory military service, that has to do with not wanting to sacrifice the keepers of the faith. I thought the Orthodox can serve if they want tho.

My only trip to Israel was in 1978 when I was 15. Part of the charm of the country was experiencing some of this. To have to cover our arms and legs when we were in parts of the old city. One time, my g/f and I were rushing to get home for Shabbat and we didn't know the time. A man on the bus sitting in front of us overheard the conversation. He pretended to fix the back of his hair, but he was really waving his watch at us. It was real apparent what he was doing. We were obviously not Orthodox. He obviously was.

Anyway, I don't know if I would find it so charming if I had to live with it. I have many cousins in Israel. One hates it and wants to come back to the U.S. She lived here about 10 years and there's things about the U.S. she doesn't like - Jewishly, but overall she prefers it here.

I get the feeling it's something they just didn't want to deal with as opposed to wanting to dehumanize anyone. The religion itself is very accommodating to women, as you say.

7 lawhawk  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 1:31:33pm

re: #6 marjoriemoon

I'm actually planning a trip to Israel with my wife. I was there way back when . She's never been there. I've got a reference point (and I lived in the Jewish Quarter for six weeks). I got to walk around Jerusalem at all hours, came to see myself as one of the locals, and not just a tourist. It felt like home.

A home with lots of idiosyncratic rules.

But even then, Tel Aviv had a different set of rules from Jerusalem. Still different rules for Mea Shearim. But in no place did I see women treated the way that they are now. That's just wrong on so many levels. It's an intolerance of anything that isn't their way of life that it threatens the fabric of Israeli culture and society.

But it looks like some of the Haredim have pushed things beyond what Israel's founders considered. They saw Israel as a multicultural amalgam of the Jewish diaspora and a safe haven for all Jews, regardless of their religious practices. That the Haredim are pushing for all Israelis to accept their vision of Jewish practices is extremely troubling.

There has always been an openness and sense of community, but now the Haredim are pushing the bounds; they are forcing their standards on to everyone else, and not for the better.

And it will take more than one election cycle to reduce the power of the religious parties influence on the cultural - considering that no political party has had a majority without forming a coalition, the religious parties' power comes from their ability to fill out a coalition. They get what they want because if the major parties (Labor/Likud/Kadima) didn't do what they asked, they'd create a crisis in the government or threaten to force elections. It's an outsized power relative to the size of the voting bloc, but it's a very effective one.

8 What, me worry?  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 2:26:35pm

This just came across on The Twitter. Of course, it's horrifying to read.

[Link: www.israelhayom.com...]

I hate the term "ultra" Orthodox. Orthodox is Orthodox is Orthodox. Ultra means nothing to me. Obviously, this rabbi is using the term, and I know other Israeli's use the term, so maybe he uses it to separate himself (an Orthodox Jew) from them, but I still find it awful. It says to me that the "plain old" Orthodox aren't are religious as the "ultra" and that's BS.

Are all of these crazy Jews anti-Zionists? And how can they live in Israel and be anti-Zionist? I read something from one of their rabbis not too long ago that said that Herzl was worse than Hitler. Hitler wanted to kill the body, but Herzl wanted to kill the soul. First, that's such utter bullshit, I hardly know what to say. At any rate, I can't believe a rabbi would say such things about millions murdered in the war. Many others who survived and those like me who grew up with the stories. If it wasn't for Herzl, Israel wouldn't be there.

9 SanFranciscoZionist  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 2:59:47pm

re: #8 marjoriemoon

This just came across on The Twitter. Of course, it's horrifying to read.

[Link: www.israelhayom.com...]

I hate the term "ultra" Orthodox. Orthodox is Orthodox is Orthodox. Ultra means nothing to me. Obviously, this rabbi is using the term, and I know other Israeli's use the term, so maybe he uses it to separate himself (an Orthodox Jew) from them, but I still find it awful. It says to me that the "plain old" Orthodox aren't are religious as the "ultra" and that's BS.

Are all of these crazy Jews anti-Zionists? And how can they live in Israel and be anti-Zionist? I read something from one of their rabbis not too long ago that said that Herzl was worse than Hitler. Hitler wanted to kill the body, but Herzl wanted to kill the soul. First, that's such utter bullshit, I hardly know what to say. At any rate, I can't believe a rabbi would say such things about millions murdered in the war. Many others who survived and those like me who grew up with the stories. If it wasn't for Herzl, Israel wouldn't be there.

The Sikrikim, the group we're talking about are linked to Neturei Karta, who are hardcore anti-Zionists. They live in the state, they take the protection of the IDF, and the social support provided by the state, and they curse it and lend their support to people like Ahmedinejad.

At least they've named themselves, and we can put a name on it. Not Orthodox, not ultra-Orthodox, not haredi--these are all labels used by sane people. Sikrikim. The Sicarii are back. And nobody wants them.

10 Archangelus  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 3:10:21pm

re: #8 marjoriemoon

Are all of these crazy Jews anti-Zionists? And how can they live in Israel and be anti-Zionist? I read something from one of their rabbis not too long ago that said that Herzl was worse than Hitler. Hitler wanted to kill the body, but Herzl wanted to kill the soul. First, that's such utter bullshit, I hardly know what to say. At any rate, I can't believe a rabbi would say such things about millions murdered in the war. Many others who survived and those like me who grew up with the stories. If it wasn't for Herzl, Israel wouldn't be there.

What you're describing are the worst of the worst here (i'm in Israel at the moment BTW); they're commonly referred to as "Sikrikim" ("סיקריקים") and are of the same mentality as the "Neturei-Karta" extremists who, among other things, notoriously hugged it out with Ahmanutjob a couple of years ago at one of his "death to Israel" hate-fests. Their rethoric is vile, riddled with the use of Nazi comparisons (they love to compare the IDF and Israeli Police forces to Nazis). They detest the very existence of Israel as a non-Torah state, and in their twisted POV, Herzl is evil for having established the foundations for a "fictitious" state of Israel which does not adher to Halacha, as is Zionism for not being Torah-based.

These folks are as xenophobic as it gets in their hatred of others, and could give Hamas a run for their money in how to damage Jewish property, attack vehicles, throw stones at people, and generally assault anyone not 100% matching their ideology.

11 Archangelus  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 3:11:20pm

OK, note to self: Check new comments while typing your own (SFZ beat me to it)... :)

12 Decatur Deb  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 3:48:54pm

re: #9 SanFranciscoZionist

The Sikrikim, the group we're talking about are linked to Neturei Karta, who are hardcore anti-Zionists. They live in the state, they take the protection of the IDF, and the social support provided by the state, and they curse it and lend their support to people like Ahmedinejad.

At least they've named themselves, and we can put a name on it. Not Orthodox, not ultra-Orthodox, not haredi--these are all labels used by sane people. Sikrikim. The Sicarii are back. And nobody wants them.

Are the Sikrikim named for the 'Sicarii' (knifers) of Josephus' time?

13 Archangelus  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 3:56:55pm

re: #12 Decatur Deb

Are the Sikrikim named for the 'Sicarii' (knifers) of Josephus' time?

Yes, they are, though seeing how the Sikrikim have targeted ice cream shops, bookstores and make a habit of throwing stones at little girls and attacking schools, the Sicarii should be rolling in their graves over the association, wherever they might be buried..

14 What, me worry?  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 3:59:11pm

re: #9 SanFranciscoZionist

re: #10 Archangelus

I was getting the feeling you're in Israel, Archangelus, or visited often.

"... and could give Hamas a run for their money..." Now there's a mouthful! It's so awful and disgraceful for Jews to act this way. I don't think I'll ever understand it.

15 Decatur Deb  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 4:02:07pm

re: #13 Archangelus

Yes, they are, though seeing how the Sikrikim have targeted ice cream shops, bookstores and make a habit of throwing stones at little girls and attacking schools, the Sicarii should be rolling in their graves over the association, wherever they might be buried..

They might get along--I read the Sicarii as irrational provocateurs who brought on the Diaspora.

16 Vicious Babushka  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 4:11:21pm
17 Decatur Deb  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 4:22:45pm

re: #16 Alouette

My essay on this topic.

Excellent, Alouette. Stereotypes flee before you.

18 Decatur Deb  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 4:30:38pm

re: #5 SanFranciscoZionist

I really hope this is some sort of a tipping point. I'm seeing very little now of the pushback you usually get, where people start to cry that the poor, poor extremist nuts are being harassed, and it's because people hate the Orthodox. Haredim are out there too, saying that they're sick of being hassled by these small-change Taliban groups.

I read the Ha'aretz and Jpost commenters on the reaction last night. Chances of pushback, like everything else, seem pretty variable.

19 What, me worry?  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 4:40:18pm

re: #16 Alouette

My essay on this topic.

I was thinking of Rosa Parks actually.

I wasn't going to post this. I hope I don't regret it. I don't think non-Jews understand this. I hardly understand it so how could they? It makes us all look bad. And the anti-Semites? Forget about it. They live for this stuff. Jews who hate Zionists? All the better.

20 Vicious Babushka  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 4:43:06pm

re: #19 marjoriemoon

I was thinking of Rosa Parks actually.

I wasn't going to post this. I hope I don't regret it. I don't think non-Jews understand this. I hardly understand it so how could they? It makes us all look bad. And the anti-Semites? Forget about it. They live for this stuff. Jews who hate Zionists? All the better.

[Video]

Everybody wants to be Rosa Parks, but nobody wants to clean houses.

21 Eclectic Infidel  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 5:46:22pm

Perhaps it is time for the IDF to escort these young women to school, reminiscent of past U.S. history regarding desegregation.

22 SanFranciscoZionist  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 5:48:56pm

re: #21 eclectic infidel

Perhaps it is time for the IDF to escort these young women to school, reminiscent of past U.S. history regarding desegregation.

I wouldn't mind seeing that.

23 Vicious Babushka  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 6:06:59pm

re: #21 eclectic infidel

Perhaps it is time for the IDF to escort these young women to school, reminiscent of past U.S. history regarding desegregation.

The IDF Nahal Haredi battalion

24 SanFranciscoZionist  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 6:19:19pm

re: #23 Alouette

The IDF Nahal Haredi battalion

I think the sight of them might make some of these yahoos rethink how much they need to scream and spit at little girls.

Unlike little girls, those guys are big. And armed.

25 Vicious Babushka  Tue, Dec 27, 2011 6:26:46pm

re: #24 SanFranciscoZionist

I think the sight of them might make some of these yahoos rethink how much they need to scream and spit at little girls.

Unlike little girls, those guys are big. And armed.

Heh.

26 Randall Gross  Wed, Dec 28, 2011 5:40:08am

Marjorie - I know you don't like portmanteau word combination of "Ultra-orthodox" but it's the word people use to avoid smearing all of the orthodox. The word "Ultra" by itself is a synonym for extremist, and it's used across the world to describe extreme sects, movements, and cults. Ultra might mean "more than" but like "uber" it's usually used in a sense of "too much" or to the point of a fault. (e.g. in India the Naxalite- Maoist terror orgs are sometimes called "Ultras" along with some tribal nationalist groups to differentiate them from the normal Maoist citizens of the same areas.) It's the Eurasian construct used most often as a descriptive whereas in the Americas people use "Fundamentalist" instead. Sorry for the convention, but it will probably continue to be used that way by most reporters when actual groups like the Sikikrim or Neuturei-Karta aren't easily identifiable.

27 What, me worry?  Wed, Dec 28, 2011 7:13:04pm

re: #26 Thanos

Marjorie - I know you don't like portmanteau word combination of "Ultra-orthodox" but it's the word people use to avoid smearing all of the orthodox. The word "Ultra" by itself is a synonym for extremist, and it's used across the world to describe extreme sects, movements, and cults. Ultra might mean "more than" but like "uber" it's usually used in a sense of "too much" or to the point of a fault. (e.g. in India the Naxalite- Maoist terror orgs are sometimes called "Ultras" along with some tribal nationalist groups to differentiate them from the normal Maoist citizens of the same areas.) It's the Eurasian construct used most often as a descriptive whereas in the Americas people use "Fundamentalist" instead. Sorry for the convention, but it will probably continue to be used that way by most reporters when actual groups like the Sikikrim or Neuturei-Karta aren't easily identifiable.

Well clearly, Orthodox are using it to describe other Orthodox, so where do I have to complain?

I like what you said and I'm glad you recognize these people are intolerant fundamentalists. I'm not sure that others see that, though, and are separating them from other Orthodox. Mostly because I don't think the general population has a clue what Jews believe. I still run across people who think we believe in Jesus. They have no idea.

I think people hear "ultra Orthodox" and think there are multiple kinds of Orthodox, the "regular" and the "extra religious", even if they don't know what those terms are. I don't think they understand them to be fundamentalists. I could be wrong, of course.

I absolutely think people, media, whomever, should take the time to use the name of the sect so people can clearly see it's not a matter of religion, per se. It would be like defining a specific Christian sect. The Methodists are different than the Pentecostals, etc. No one says "Ultra-Christian".

28 What, me worry?  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 7:03:36am

I found this article this morning that uses the term "Haredi extremists". I'm totally ok with that, too.

[Link: www.worldjewishdaily.com...]

Haredi extremists have used a campaign of intimidation and violence in an attempt to drive the girls and their parents from the school, which they claim as their own.


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