Mar 22, 2012

Youth bring Peace To Bet Shemesh

I am not quite sure what to make of this article on INN..

It says that during the visit yesterday of President Shimon Peres to Bet Shemesh, a statement of appeasement was signed by members of the various sectors - Haredim, Dati Leumiim, and Hilonim.

This is a blessed event, after the hostilities and tension in the city after the events that began in September surrounding the extremists and the OROT school.

The article then explains that students from the Bronco Weiss school and from the Ahavat Yisrael school got together to make peace, when the adults were unable to do so. The statement says "We, as Israeli citizens of Bet Shemesh - datiim, haredim and hilonim together, believe that in the spirit of this joint agreement we will be able to succeed in advancing the City of Bet Shemesh, in whose framework we live, and turn it into a better place to live in. We stand for all the sides reaching a compromise that will be good for the existing reality, with complete understanding that a multi-cultural society can be a disaster or a boom. - the choice is in our hands."

Richard Peres, the city councilman responsible for the city education and welfare systems commented on the importance of this statement and added that he is convinced that the haredi community will also be a part of this movement. He also said that he is trying to bring dialog among all the youth of the city - secular, dati and haredi while adhering to the restrictions of separation between boys and girls...

I don't know what exactly happened at this signing and who was involved. It starts off sounding like it included representatives of all three sectors - dati, haredi and hiloni, but then, from the comments made by Peres, and from the lack of identification of the school representing the haredi community, it sounds like the haredim were not included and hopefully they will be convinced to participate.

Does anybody know more details of what happened?

And here are some other thoughts and questions I have:

  • I don't remember hearing about the students, or parents of students, of Bronco Weiss or Ahavat Yisrael having conflicts with people or students of other communities. So does this statement add anything, despite being a nice start? 
  • Why are they representative of anybody but themselves, despite being a nice start?
  • Despite this being a nice start, I find the entire situation to be a bit shameful. That such a statement is at all necessary is a shonda. I find it to be similar to the almost regular news reports in the frum press about historic and dramatic meetings between different hassidic leaders who are usually related to each other who finally, after years of not talking to each other, get together and make peace. While it is nice to make peace among warring factions, isn't it a bit of a shonda that all these various hassidic rebbes have been fighting with each other for so long ? And similarly, isn't it a shonda that different groups in Bet Shemesh have been fighting to the point that such a statement is necessary?

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