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Wednesday, May 02, 2018 

Natural history museum's director continues making a fool of himself

The natural history museum director in Jerusalem who censored an evolutionary exhibit for the sake of Haredis is making himself look worse by refusing to cut it out:
The Natural History Museum in Jerusalem has vowed to continue its policy of hiding an evolution exhibit from view, along with other displays on dinosaurs and the human body, during visits by ultra-Orthodox groups in order to avoid offending their religious beliefs. The announcement came despite an outrage caused in Israel and abroad by its decision to self-censor displays on evolution, dinosaurs and the human body.

“Of course,” the museum’s educational director, Dr. Evgeny Reznitsky, told The Times of Israel on Tuesday when asked whether he will carry on with the practice, citing the institution’s dire financial situation and saying it was better to have ultra-Orthodox schoolkids visit on their terms than have them not come at all.
Umm, I thought they were getting subsidies, so I don't think this makes much sense regardless.
As people protested outside the building with a megaphone and demanded that the museum reject the demands set by Haredi schools, Reznitsky said he would only reconsider his position if ordered to stop by municipal authorities.

The Times of Israel’s story about the museum prompted angry protests on social media and was followed up by major Hebrew-language news outlets. Many Facebook users called for a boycott of the museum and contacted its staff in protest.
While everybody's right to protest against the museum, there should also be some condemnation reserved for the Haredi clannists who're indoctrinating their subjects so badly. That aside, I'm fine with a boycott of the museum, if this is how the director's going to behave.
But the museum welcomed the attention, saying that the number of visitors had only risen, and justified its policy.

Going around the museum’s various exhibits on Tuesday, Reznitsky pointed out many references to evolution and pictures of dinosaurs that are never covered up, saying a biodiversity exhibit and other displays of various animals were in fact all about evolution.
What if it turns out they're in a wing the Haredis don't visit? Besides, the rise in visitors could be just blowing smoke, and it could just as well turn out to be the Haredi schools he's talking about.
“The ultra-Orthodox have never come to the museum in my 25 years of working here,” he told The Times of Israel. “Never.” He said that the museum made an agreement last September with the Jerusalem Haredi Education Division — a joint body which is part of both the Jerusalem Municipality and the Education Ministry — to bring groups, with the subject being “animals in the bible.”

“The goal is to reveal to them the splitting of species. What bothers them on the way is this exhibit,” he said, pointing to the human evolution display, which was not covered up this time. “I agreed to cover it during the visits, it’s my decision.

“Now, who does this offend?” he charged. “There isn’t anyone else in the museum when a group is here since there is no room for that. We are hiding something from an audience that doesn’t want to see it.”

“When I see the twinkle in the eyes of ultra-Orthodox kids who see our exhibits, for me it is worth [receiving] all the curses in the world,” he said.
Man, this is starting to sound sleazy and even creepy. Not to mention it's the very same excuse used to censor drawings of Mohammed, so as not to offend Muslims. I don't know how to say this, but the guy sounds disgusting, and not somebody you'd want your daughter marrying. Why would you want to alienate people over a petty issue and say it's perfectly fine receiving curses?
Meanwhile, outside the museum, several protesters gathered Tuesday morning for a demonstration, carrying signs and shouting slogans such as “The curtain won’t hide the truth on the wall,” “Evolution is for all,” and “Don’t leave the skeletons in the closet.”

They argued heatedly with a museum employee who vehemently defended the practice as respecting the museum’s visitors and as a needed step in light of its financial woes.

“We don’t accept this,” said protester Yaki Hertz. “Science is not custom made. Whoever wants to learn science will do so using all the findings we have today.”

“We want the public to be here,” retorted museum employee Uzi Danon. “Had the museum received funds we would immediately tell the Haredi groups ‘Bye-bye, go home, we don’t need you.'”
Uhh, but they're getting funding, so the only people they're telling bye-bye is the public against petty censorship. Anyway, I suggest the protestors come to the museum at a time when Haredi schools visit, and hold up signs with dinosaurs and evolution criteria on them, mainly to tell the teachers they should all be ashamed of themselves. And if the museum is suffering financially, well, why don't they just update some of their exhibits to make it more attractive?

One of the article commenters said:
This is absurd. According to our Sages, there is no conflict between faith and science. According to the Ramban, when scripture conflicts with science, an allegorical explanation must be found. One can also reference what Rav Kook wrote about Evolution early in the 20th century, or what Rav Yitzhak of Acco wrote about the age of the universe, or how the Kaballists explain the Big Bang theory. Actually, many of the great Rabbis (especially in Spain and Italy) were also men of science. It's only because certain ignorant groups of Jews clinging onto some Eastern European voodoo mutate our cultural patrimony, and other groups of Jews are to spineless to put them in their place.
Indeed, there's no disconnect between the Bible and science. The Haredis only want it to be that way.

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