Nov 12, 2012

Secular Dont Want Haredi Neighbors.

Israel Hayom yesterday published some results from polls taken that show, among other things, that 28% of Israelis do not want to have haredi neighbors, and 54% do not want a foreign worker as a neighbor.

This statistic is being looked at as a sign of a tendency to racism. Both the dislike of foreign workers and of haredim. Not only by the haredi media, but a haredi MK said it as well. MK Dovid Azulai of SHAS said that this is very disturbing and it surprised him. It indicates something is wrong, that the general public doesn't know the haredi community well enough. The solution, Azulai says, is that the two sides, haredi and hiloni, must have better familiarity with each other, and specifically the secular should get to know the better sides of the haredim.

Azulai is 100% correct in his analysis as to the source of the problem. The two sides need to get to know each other better. Stop stereotyping, stop demonizing, and actually get to know each other. This is true of almost all racism - when you actually get to know the real people on the other side, that racism, that fear of the other, that dislike, tends to fade away.

To me, though, this statistic is not even so worrying. I think it is played up more than it deserves. Only 28% do not want to have a haredi neighbor? That's nothing, considering the way the haredim are portrayed, whether deserving at times or not, in the media.

Now I would like to see a similar poll taken in haredi areas such as Beitar Ilit, Kiryat Sefer, haredi neighborhoods of Jerusalem, with the question posed the same exact way but asking if they would want to have a secular neighbor. Would only 28%, or less, of haredim be opposed to having secular neighbors? Would Azulai be equally distressed and say the haredim need to get to know the hilonim better and become more familiar with their good sides? I think the numbers would show more to the tune of 90% not wanting secular neighbors. That's the entire reason haredim almost always live in their own homogeneous neighborhoods.

Can haredim be upset, or insulted, that 28% of secular dont want to live near them, when most haredim dont want to live near the secular?

Either way, Azulai is correct that the way to solve this fear and/or dislike they each have of the other is by actually getting to know each other.

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  1. It's all a matter of lifestyle preference. If I was secular I would oppose haredim from being my neighbors, specifically because having secular neighbors fits in more with my lifestyle. Could or should I make a fight about who comes to live in my neighborhood? That would be racist. Opposing doesn't mean that I hate them. I would rather others that are more my type and therefore oppose charedim.

    Vice versa is true too. Someone who is charedi benefits greatly when his neighbors are also charedi. The stores will have better hechsherim, there will be more shuls to pray in, you wouldn't need to explain to your kids why everyone drives on shabbat besides for your family and etc.

  2. I'm surprised that it is only 28%. I've had DL neighbours telling me that they would be very opposed to Charedim moving into our building - even moderate "American Charedim".

    I asked him about specifics (what if someone like Rabbi ... moved in, would that be OK) - they replied, Rabbi ... is different, everyone likes him, he's not really Charedi, but anyone else with a black hat would be unacceptable.

    Like you said, we have to find more ways for different segments in Israeli society to interact so that we see each other as individuals, not as stereotypes.

  3. I would like to thank our media for fanning these flames (though 72% don't care if Haredi moves in next door is actually quite nice). The secular media is definitely anti-haredi, and frankly, the Haredi media might not be anti-secular, but really disappoints me for being elitist over the secular.

  4. Before criticizing this stat too much it would be interesting to see the percentage of Chareidim who would not want secular, or even RZ, neighbors.

  5. Of course there is an easy way for the two sides to get to know one another better, if they served side by side in the army.

    1. You are right!! If the jews are one people, every jews should serve in the same battalion, eat in the same table, marrie with other jews independent theirs religous level, ...

  6. The average Israeli is overtaxed (very often the gov't takes over 1/2 of their income) and does not receive enough services for what he pays. So what secular or RZ would want a population moving in which is voluntarily poor and receives the discounts of the involuntarily poor (i.e. able bodied men who don't work, at least on the books). They feel like a sucker - why shouldn't they. Just last year in Beit Shemesh Moshe Montag increased this discount from 80% to 90%. So this population consumes city services without paying in. As for the involuntarily poor, I think people are much more understanding.
    Add to the "sucker" feeling haredi macho declarations that their "city belongs to haredim," and the situation gets kind of unpleasant.

  7. if mk azoula believes that better familiarity with each other is needed, he should speak with his fellow Shas MK, the minister of housing. he is on record as opposing mixed neighborhoods or even mixed cities. hence, atias wanted charish to be chareidi only.


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