Why are Haredim hated and envied? – Haaretz.com

Posted By on September 29, 2020

Its easier to admit to hatred of the Haredim than to envy of them. Its easier to give expression to hatred than to envy. We envy the Haredim, and hate them. The envy is over the obedience, the stubbornness and the herd-like behavior. They have no moderate left, radical left, white left and Mizrahi left. That is, they are a varied and multifaceted public, but they unite as one when (we) the enemy loom at the gates.

One can envy the Gur Hasidim, who would never consider marrying someone from Vishnitz but would go protest alongside them if that is the order that comes from above. We envy them because they are rigid and uncompromising, with none of that lets meet in the middle stuff. With them its all or nothing. We envy them because their public servants serve them and not themselves, and then we hate them because they trample on us on the way there.

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Their display of religious and political identity stirs powerful feelings of envy in us. The pride and the disregard for what others may think. They are part of the street, but not assimilated in it. Yes, they say, this is how we are, were different. You see the beard, the long coat and the shtreimel? So now you know where we live, what we eat and who we vote for. We who are so careful to avoid automatically labeling a kippa-wearing Mizrahi person as a rightist and a guy with glasses on a scooter as a leftist, are stunned by how they go right along with the diaspora Ashkenazi stereotype we created for them.

They dont wage wars, they present facts. They crowd in the synagogues not to protest or be defiant like the protesters on Frishman Beach. Theyre there because prayers are not the governments or anyone elses business. Nor do any of them rebuke another for protesting the wrong way, for being impolite, for holding a meal on Balfour Street during the lockdown, for not keeping quiet between 2 P.M. and 4 P.M.

We envy them, but we wouldnt trade places with them. The price of obedience, herd behavior and obstinacy is too dear. We wont live with eight kids in a cramped apartment, we wont depend on our wives to support us, we wont keep our children ignorant even if that was what would make us the most democratic country in the world. We wouldnt be willing to be wretchedly poor while our leading rabbis are incredibly wealthy (The admor of Gur is estimated to be worth $100 million).

We can distinguish between their generals and the soldiers, but still we envy them and hate them. We ourselves are startled to see how much racism and hatred of the other they evoke, and how much of it we harbor. Their scorn for democracy frightens us (Rabbi Shach called it an incurable decree) and their incredible ability to exploit it infuriates us.

Were angry about the fiction known as a Jewish and democratic state. This notion does not have any foundational basis anywhere. Weve been seduced into believing that it was handed down at Sinai or appeared in the Declaration of Independence. But it doesnt. It was no more than an amendment to a law that came into being in 1985 to prevent Meir Kahane from being elected to the Knesset. Ever since, their Jewish has been stepping on our democratic toes, and pushing that part to the wall. Theyve pushed us away from Judaism and tossed us to Israeli-ness.

They are not above the law, they dont even oppose it. But they have laws of their own, and you better not bother them with your laws. You take care of your health, and well take care of ours. No police officer who values his life will dare enter Bnei Brak on Yom Kippur to check if people are praying in the mandated capsules, and whoever wants to thank them for letting him drive to the beach on Shabbat should remember that he helped finance them himself with the taxes that came out of his pocket.

We envy them and hate them because they were the first to notice that solidarity is nonsense and unity is a joke. They were the first to realize its every tribe for itself. We envy their politicians who have Bibi by the balls. Oh how we wish we could say that about our politicians!

We envy and hate them for the skill and speed with which they take advantage of the weakness of our democracy. In his book Haredim, Ltd, Shahar Ilan illustrated the Haredims relationship with the state in a story told from their perspective: Cossacks overturn the cart of an apple peddler. Passersby snatch up her apples while she stands there shouting. Why are you shouting, they say to her grab some yourself.

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Why are Haredim hated and envied? - Haaretz.com

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