Apr 14, 2019

female polling station worker removed from station to let Gerrer Rebbe in

According to a report on Haaretz, tweeted out by the reporter Aron Rabinovitz, and then re-reported in English in the Times of Israel, there was an incident on election day in which the Gerrer Rebbe went to go vote with a group of his chassidim.

Upon arrival, the chassidim noticed that one of the workers in the polling station was a woman working there as an observer on behalf of the Likud. The chassidim decided this would be a problem for the rebbe, as he does not look at women. To solve the problem so that the rebbe would be able to go in and vote, they tried to persuade the woman to leave the polling station for a bit. They even offered her money to do so. When she persisted in her refusal, the chassidim contacted Likud headquarters requesting they remove her so the rebbe can vote. The Likud sent someone to replace her temporarily, ordering her to leave a take a lunch break, and then return after the rebbe would finish his voting.

The explanation given was that no insult was intended - the rebbe has nothing against her personally - , but his request should be honored out of respect, just as a request made by a President or Prime Minister would be honored and respected.

Personally I have no problem accommodating people's needs and requests. My question is what would have happened if someone did the same exact thing from the other perspective - say a secular leader would have requested any haredi poll workers and observers be removed form the polling station so he could vote. Nothing personal, but he normally avoids Haredi people and does not receive them, and his request should be respected just like a request by the President would be respected and honored. Would that have been allowed to pass quietly? I don't think so, nor should such a request be allowed to pass quietly. it is unacceptable. If you don't want to look at other people, don't leave your house and don't go where other people are.

The Gerrer Rebbe recently spent time in the hospital visiting with his sick wife - I have yet to find any report of him asking the hospitals, in Israel and in the USA, to clear out female workers, female doctors, female nurses, from the area he would be in. Perhaps in the case it was not the Gerrer Rebbe behind this but his over-zealous chassidim just assuming that is what he would want - but then it is a failure of him transmitting the proper behavior and tradition to his students.

The Likud should have refused the request, and I am disappointed that they did not. They should have left the decision up to the relevant worker.

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  1. I am sure that if the tables were reversed, there would be endless crying of antisemitism and persecution from Charedim. Charedim don't consider non-Charedim to be people, so they feel no obligation to treat them with any respect.

  2. I paid a Shiva call to a friend who lost his father recently.
    Someone comes in, talks to my friend who goes over to his sister, says something, she said no problem and goes into the next room. A minute later, a prominent rebbe walks in, and we all have a pleasant conversation in perfect English.

    1. I am accommodating person. It sounds like this sister is as well. I would usually not have a problem honoring a request. In the case discussed during the elections, the person chose to not accommodate the request and then brute force was used. Anybody can usually make a request, and anybody can choose to honor or not honor a request/ The question is what happens after that.


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