Jewish Journal


June 19, 2010

Ultra-Orthodox Jews rally for ‘racism’



There’s a lot that has been going in Jerusalem since the Israeli Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a religious girls’ school needs to integrate. (I wrote a bit about the coverage of this story this morning.) The impermissible segregation pertained not to boys and girls, but Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, who is Orthodox, breaks the conflict down to it’s bare bones. This is about the ability to resist one segment of Israeli society because of an internal Haredi perspective that those other Jews, who have a different racial lineage, are an impure people. It’s remnants of Jim Crow, and Hirschfield pulls no punches:

How tragically ironic given that most of their ancestors came to Israel to escape the handiwork of others who wanted the exact same thing!

Of course, I am not calling the Haredim who protested today, Nazis. But it does help explain why they often use that word to describe those with whom they have political and religious disagreements, from women who want to pray while wearing a talit (prayer shawl) at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, to police who keep them from assaulting those women, etc.

To be sure, there are myriad challenges with Israeli public schools which are divided between Arab and Jewish (itself and oxymoron since Jews from Arab lands are no less “Arab” than Muslims and Christians from the same places), so-called religious and non-religious, etc. But unlike these other schools, which students from communities outside the stated target population can and do attend, the Hareidi community wants an enforced ban ala’ George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse doors.

On top of that, they demand public dollars for schools that operate in contravention of the law. If that isn’t; the definition of chutzpah, I don’t know what is.

Read the rest here.

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