Jan 27, 2010

Gafni and Yated vs. Shas, round 2

In this weeks Yated Ne'eman chinamon edition, the main theme was stepping up the hostility between Shas and Degel HaTorah over Shas having joined the WZO.

Gafni had spoken out very harshly against Shas for giving up the ideals of haredism simply to get jobs in WZO and other related organizations for people connected to them. Shas responded in kind taking it as a slight to Rav Ovadia Yosef, saying Gafni had no right to criticize - they have their gedolim they listen to who approved this and he has no right to speak against Rav Ovadia.

In the Yated, this was the main theme. Continuing the attack on Shas. Even their fight against the internet had to take a smaller role this week. The internet ban only got a small article (about not advertising on haredi internet sites), while the Shas-Degel fight got a large article and 3 large editorial columns.

Shas supporters responded to the Yated attacks by going around Jerusalem and other areas where the Yated is distributed for free on Tuesdays, and removed as many papers as they could and dumped them in trash cans. As well, some Shas affiliated rabbonim have stepped up the verbal spat further blasting Gafni, and the Yated, on air for what he said.

It seems to me that this is classic Shas against classic Degel. Degel is into ghettoizing the haredi community, Fight for what is necessary so the community can continue to thrive on its own, but don't mix too much into society or public affairs. Just the minimum to achieve what we need. This is why they ban the internet. This is why they ban furthering secular education and make it harder for people to join the workforce. This is, or perhaps I should say has become, the raison d'etre of Degel HaTorah.

Shas, on the other hand, is more involved in society. Their method is embracing the world and trying to improve it. They refused to join the internet ban because they realize the Internet is here to stay and instead of banning it, which will never work anyway, better to use it for good and teach people, affect people, over it in good ways. They get involved in all aspects of government.. Their people get educated and work, without having to feel second class.

This fight over WZO is the same thing. Degel says, via Gafni, better to seclude ourselves. WZO is Zionist and impure - they have Reform and Conservative representation. Better for us to not get involved. Shas goes out and gets involved. This is a realm in which they feel they can begin having influence.

And anyway, Shas was never really a purely Haredi party. they were always far more Zionistic than the ashkenazy haredi parties. Many of their supporters are traditional and not specifically haredi or even religious. This is true despite their having a haredi appearance and leadership.


  1. Rafi I agree with you but:

    Let's be frank it is also/mainly a matter of jobs for the Shas party hacks and to attract new voters.

    The Degel guys dont need to do this because they dont need to look for voters. They get their automatic votes for 4-5 seats with their core tsibur and dont want more, since they are not interested in taking part in leading the country.

  2. Bohr - I agree with that, and that is really just another extension of what I said. Shas is looking to become more attractive to more people, thus having more influence. Degel is interested in preserving the ghetto.

  3. "Many of their supporters are traditional and not specifically haredi or even religious. This is true despite their having a haredi appearance and leadership."

    They never had a haskalah. Most secular Sephardim are still believers and still have respect for their Chachamim. Rare to find an anti-religious Sephardi. Also why you don't find in the Sephardi world the schism between haredim, dati leumi, chiloni, etc. They generally get along with one another and daven together. Take a look at the spectrum in a Sephardi shul. I wonder what the stats are of Sephardi intermarriage.

    Enlightened Ashkenazim on the other hand, including some of the founders of this State, want to eradicate religion from their lives and anyone that represents religion. They could send back a boatload of Jewish refugees from Europe because they didn't want the shtetl, pushcart Jew, they wanted the new modern, enlightened Jew. That's why they can continue to strip away Jewish education from the school system, and many other examples. Whereas Sephardim know that in their heart of hearts, they're all on the same team, Ashkenazim can't get along because they're not all on the same team. Tons more could be said about this.

  4. Rafi, where is the "round ONE"? or the beginning of this post? Can you send me the links. TY :-)

  5. neshama - round one was the initial statement that Gafni blasted Shas for their joining WZO


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