Jun 19, 2008

TOV is getting ready for the upcoming Bet Shemesh elections

A Guest Post by a TOV supporter

A group of thirty or so Ramat/Bet Shemesh residents gathered in the Shul Mevakshe Hashem, on Nachal Katlav, a meeting which, hopefully, will represent a turning point in the history of Ramat/Bet Shemesh.
In the past number of years, the residents of Ramat/Bet Shemesh have been witnesses to very disturbing trends: threats, intimidation, violence, personal attacks, children being denied an education. Just this past week, a family on Nachal Micha was told to move because the father, a European Oleh, wears a knitted black yarmulka. This is just one story from hundreds.
Elie Friedman, who is the driving force behind Tov, spoke about the goals of the new party and plans for the upcoming elections.
A number of English speakers attended the evening. More than anyone, Anglo-olim have suffered at the hand of extremists. The Anglos had plenty stories to tell about discrimination and quality of life problems. And the Degel Hatorah representatives not only have not cared, but have actively participated in discriminating against Anglo olim. Elie Friedman related an interesting story, that shows how "out of it" Degel Hatorah is.
Degel called in Elie Friedman to the party headquarters, to try to prevent him from starting Tov. Friedman refused any offer of a seat on the Degel list, pointing out that Degel has consistently refused to help the majority of RBS residents. "What do you mean?" said the Degel hack. "We have a Degel person in EVERY shul in RBS!"
"Really," responded Friedman, "How about Beis Tefila? It's the largest Anglo shul in RBS and has a very choshuv Rav." The hack calls Degels iriya representative, Shmuel Greenberg. Greenberg tells the hack and Friedman with confidence, "Of course we have a Degel liaison in Beis Tefila -- EC".
Friedman nearly fell on the floor laughing -- EC has his own shul, a small caravan 1/4 mile away from Beis Tefila. You can count on one hand how many times EC has stepped into Beis Tefila. As an aside, EC has openned up a Degel Hatorah front organization called "ABA". In case you had any doubts that ABA is affiliated with Degel .....
As much as Anglo Olim don't like politics and factionalism, we have to deal with the reality in Israel. If we are going to build a community that is liveable -- even thriving -- we will have to have city representatives that listen to us. That are from us. That speak our language.
Elie Friedman stated unambiguously: the second place on the Tov list is reserved for an Anglo.
The time has come for change.


  1. Anglos in RBS AriseJune 19, 2008 3:04 PM

    I certainly hope that Elie and TOV will make some changes for Anglos here.

    However I have a bone to pick with Elie about this.

    I live quite close to Elie and know him as a good person.

    Yet, he is my local rep for Kupa Shel Tzedaka,which while being generally a good organization, is run by Rabbonim behind the Degel faction.

    While TOV speaks about discrimination against Anglos (from extremists), etc., what does Elie feel about the blatant discrimination in our community against Lema'an Achai.

    This organization, run by Yirei Shomayim and L'Shaim Shomyim, has had to bear attacks against them, their Da'as Torah and the amazing work that they do.

    More and more I hear criticism of everything they do. And from whom do I hear this? From the same Anglo Charedi that claim they are biased against.

    As a supporter and volunteer I challenge all of the naysayers to go to Lema'an Achai themselves (as I did) and see the great contribution they make to RBS.

    Until the Anglo Charedi community will wake up and support Lema'an Achai at least as much they do the Kupa there is no room to complain about discrimination from the "kitzonim".

    Thise who criticize of Lema'an Achai without seeing it first are just as kitzoni.

  2. The anonymous guest writer responds....

    Elie Friedman is a rep for the RBSA Kupa?

    It could be.

    But I think that the idea of Tov is for the party to rise above these internal politics and try, as much as possible to unify. The irony is that you have to make a party (ie, a division), in order to unify.

    Tov very much wants to work together with all rabonim in R/BS (Rav Soloveitchik is a name that has come up a lot).

  3. Have organizations been invited to participate in these meetings?

    Perhaps this could be a forum for much needed cooperation.

  4. Certain organizations have been contacted.

    We are definitely looking to get in touch with organizations and people interested in helping.
    For more info, email:


  5. CERTAIN organizations?

    Forgive me for asking but is TOV starting with a disriminating policy as well?

    Humor me...have both Kupa and Lema'an Achai been contacted or just one or the other?

    The answer will tell us much about TOV.

  6. Who will that #2 be?

  7. Response:

    Let me clarify again. I meant certain, in the sense of several. The founders of Tov are limited by the people that they aquainted with, whether through shul, work, or social settings. Don't worry, there is no discrimination going on here.

    Let me state Tov's "kav" in general:

    The goal is to represent a broad a spectrum as possible. The values that Tov stands for are values shared by people all over R/BS.

    As I mentioned, Tov is working on getting in touch with different community leaders and it will be a process.

  8. Who the #2 will be depends on a few variables, one of which, who is going to be willing to take on the job.

    If you have more, detailed questions, please send them to the email mentioned above.


  9. Anon-

    Thank you for your response and clarification.

    After reading your response I am still baffled...

    I phoned one major organization here in RBS who has yet to be approached by anyone from TOV.

    This organization is well known in all areas of RBSA.

    Would it have been so difficult to contact the "non certain" organizations?

    Their numbers and contact people are clearly listed publicly in the Shemeshfone and other pirsumim.

    I am not trying to be combative about this. On the contrary - I believe that TOV could breathe much needed fresh air into RBSA.

    To be successful however TOV must be careful not exclude or offend the people who work tirelessly to make our community a better place.

  10. Organizations (such as Lemaan Achai and Kupa) generally try to avoid getting involved in politics. they are meant to be non-partisan (usually), and it is dangerous for them to support one over the other, because if the other guy "wins" they could lose funding/support/etc.

    As well, TOV still has not made any official announcement. They are still in the support building stage. So just because someone you know has not yet been called, does not mean they will not be (though it does not mean they will be either)


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