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Tuesday, July 12, 2022 

Robinson's Arch prayer platform should have security personnel

Following the terrible incident the other week where some mostly ultra-Orthodox youngsters disrupted the prayer service of a Conservative bar/bat mitzvah, a call has been made for the Jewish Agency to employ security guards at the egalitarian section:
Senior officials of American Jewish organizations have expressed their willingness to the Jewish Agency to deploy security guards at Ezrat Israel, the egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall. In their eyes, the Israeli authorities haven’t effectively managed to minimize violence at the plaza.
A more challenging query is whether they're even trying? This is exactly what's horrific about these incidents.
On Monday, the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors engaged in a heated discussion. Mainstream and liberal American Jewish organizations have been urging the BOG to vote on a proposal to enforce security at Ezrat Israel.

The discussion related to the Rosh Hodesh service at the egalitarian prayer section, where haredi youth were physically violent towards Reform and Conservative Jews at a bar mitzvah service. Dozens of these youths employed whistles to disrupt the service and called the bar mitzvah boy a “Christian” and a “Nazi.” One of them even blew his nose on a page torn from a Conservative siddur seconds before clashes broke out.

One of these violent demonstrators is allegedly the son of a haredi MK, who is affiliated with the Eretz HaKodesh party in the World Zionist Congress (WZC).
Whoever his dad is should be absolutely ashamed of how he's raised his son, and doesn't belong in politics. He should be expelled from the WZC.
Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, participated in the discussion. “Perhaps it’s time to say clearly and truthfully that if the Israeli government can’t or won’t protect Jews at the holiest site, the Kotel, then perhaps security teams need to be placed there,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

“Since every plea, negotiation, agreement and reasonable expectation appears to be mistaken or overturned, perhaps we should work to ensure that Jewish families won’t be scared of violence and harassment at the Western Wall,” he said. “After all, if we defend Jewish life in Europe and around the world, surely we should be committed to protecting Jews in Jerusalem, too?”
Absolutely. Security, public or private, matters everywhere. In fact, why wasn't the latter considered before? Don't wait to see if public servants will do their duty. Set up a special security team beforehand.

There's also been an argument made by a representative of Orange County, CA, that liberals are bestowing collective guilt, using this as an opportunity:
One has to ask a vital question: are all guilty for the actions of a few? Recently, a group of teens interrupted a bar mitzvah service at the section of the Western Wall that is designated for non-traditional prayers. Clearly, their actions were reprehensible. Does the rowdiness of a couple of teenagers at the Western Wall mean that everyone who looks the same, supports and agrees with their acts of violence?

People are individuals and are to be judged on their actions. Not every citizen of Israel is guilty if some Israeli contractor rips you off in a home remodel in California. This is actually what liberals are doing to haredi Jews right now.

Personally, I believe that the traditions of Judaism reaching back to King Solomon, of separation of men and women, and classical Jewish observance, should be maintained and respected on that hallowed ground. Still, what these teens did was wrong; violence should not be used to impose one’s views.

Now, liberal Jewish groups are using this unfortunate incident to bestow on all religious Jews’ collective guilt. They have gone as far as calling it a new form of antisemitism; even Deborah Lipstadt, the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, has echoed those comments. Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs called last week for change in the haredi educational system, which he believes is replete with animus of Reform Jews.
Well of course it's not great that liberal movements are exploiting this incident, but that's exactly why, if there's something else that needs to be condemned, it's Kitty Genovese syndrome, if/when any Orthodox Judaists - Haredi or otherwise - who're aware of these acts refuse to defend the Conservative congregants from mayhem. Failure by Orthodox realists to do so only risks damaging their image further.

And while there is a valid argument to make whether the actions of a few illustrate the whole or not, I don't think this should deter from asking whether the insular lifestyle led by a lot of Haredi clans is a healthy one. The same goes for whether they're doing the right thing to uphold socialist-style beliefs, which is practically what most liberals uphold, ironically enough. Did these folks ever consider?

Update: the Jewish Agency voted to boost security, and that's an important step.

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