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June 20, 1986 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-20

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24

Friday, June 20, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

community whose efforts to im-
pose fundamentalist lifestyle
and medieval beliefs have, at
long last, begun to arouse real
hatred.
The tension between the
ultras and the rest of society is
not new. In the Fifties, the black
hats struggled to keep public
swimming pools out of Jeru-
salem. More recently, they have
fought against archeological ex-
cavations in the Old City, push-
ed for a change in the Law of
Return that would de-Judaize
Reform and Conservative con-
verts, attempted to keep Israel
from going on daylight savings
time and supported a host of
similarl measures. Since the
ultras do not frequent swimm-
ing pools or go to Reform rabbis
for conversions, the import of
their activity is obvious — it is
intended to keep the majority of
Israelis from living as we choose.
The ultra-Orthodox communi-
ty led by the Neturai Karta sect
and the followers of the New
York based Satmar rabbi, claim
that their efforts are aimed at
keeping Israel "Jewish" , and
furthering their goal of turning
the country into a Torah based
society. But this claim is under-
mined by the fact that the ultras
are non-Zionists or, in the case of
the extremists, anti-Zionists.
They do not accept the legiti-
macy of the State of Israel,
refrain from participating in its
communal life and dodge the
most elementary civic obliga-
tions. For example, their child-
ren do not serve in the Army
(this year, 16,000 military ex-
emptions were granted to
rabbinical students); a very few
of their most extreme represen-
tatives have made common
cause with the PLO and Israel's
other Arab enemies. And, with
rare exceptions, they make little
or no contribution to the coun-
try's economy. Living is self-
imposed ghettos, they appear to
the average Israeli as fanatical
freeloaders.
The Israeli establishment is
largely responsible for this state
of affairs. For almost forty years,
successive governments have in-
dulged the ultra-orthodox,
allowed them to shirk the obliga-
tions of citizenship, and to create
what amounts to an auto-
nomous "state-within-a-state" in
their Jerusalem and B'nai Brak
strongholds. Politicians have
lavished public money on
ultra-Orthodox institutions that
deign to accept Zionist contribu-
tions; and have allowed rabbis to
"schnorr" funds abroad and
spend them in Israel with only
the mildest efforts at public ac-
counting or taxation. Partly this
is the result of residual respect
for rabbis and rabbinical institu-
tions; but it is at least in part
the cynical effort of secular
politicians to enlist the black
hats as passive coalition
partners.
Diaspora Jewry, always
jealous of its right to involve

itself in Israeli affairs, also bears
responsibility. Many of the most
violent and fanatical groups are
funded by contributions from
abroad, often donated by well-
meaning but naive 'philan-
thropists. UJA money, con-
tributed by non-Orthodox Jews,
is disbursed to institutions that
preach hatred of liberal Judaism
and its adherents. (See Part
Four, "Where Do All Our
Dollars Go?", Page 30.)
For years, Israelis have shown
an amazing patience with these
ultraOrthodox fanatics. Sur-
rounded by enemies, the large
secular (and modern Orthodox)
majority have been unwilling to
open a new front against fellow
Jews who see themselves engag-
ed in a war against the country's
Zionist and democratic values.
But the events of recent days,
distasteful as they are, are the
tip of a mighty iceberg. People
here are finally getting the
message: the ultra-Orthodox
minority is not a quaint, Fiddler-
on-the-Roof community, but a
collection of violent, hostile and
ultimately dangerous group.
The confrontation with the
ultras has become Israel's most
pressing domestic issue. It is up
to the sane majority of orthodox
and secular Israelis to make it
clear to the politicians that the
situation has become intolerable,
and that there will be a political
price for coddling the "black
hats". The tune has come for the
Jews of the diaspora to reach a
similar realization, and to cut off
support — economic, moral and
political — for the fanatics. That
is not "anti-Semitism"; it is sim-
ple self-preservation.

Editor's note: See Editorial,
Page 4.

Ramat Gan
• Explosion
Injures One

Tel Aviv (JTA) — A man was
slightly injured last week when
an explosive charge went off in
a street in the center of Ramat
Gan. The explosives had been
placed in a garbage can in busy
Herzl street in the center of the
town.
An IDF spokesman announced
that security forces recently un-
covered on the West Bank a ter-
rorist gang which is suspected of
having carried out 29 attacks in
the north and center of Israel
during the past year.
The gang were members of the
mainstream Fatah wing of the
PLO.
The attacks attributed to
members of the gang included
the placing of 10 booby-trapped
explosive devices in Haifa and
10 divices in Afula. Other
charges were placed in populated
centers in half a dozen other
towns and villages.

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