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May 27, 2008

the protest raging in RBS

The following "pashkevil" was distributed around the mailboxes of Bet Shemesh/RBS yesterday.

It kind of speaks for itself. The issue has been going on for about a week, but it seems the protests have not swayed anybody so they decided to raise the tone.

This family, the Levi family, has decided to install cellular antennas on the roof of their building. They are getting paid money by the cellular company to do so. The neighbors are concerned, rightly so, for their health. They have been holding protest vigils outside the Levi's home for the past few days, blowing shofar, saying tehillim, etc.

The Levi's have clearly not given in, and the protesters have now published this sign.
I blacked out the phone numbers but not the names, because while the names are already well known, I think publicizing the numbers and asking people to badger them was inappropriate.

A couple of thoughts:

There is no conclusive proof that cellular antennas cause sickness or other dangers. Their are studies that support both positions, but nothing conclusive has ever been proven, to the best of my knowledge.
That being the case, I fail to understand what right the neighbors have to protest the Levi's decision to install the antenna. (and I checked with my Rav to see if this position was correct and he told me this as well) If you feel you have a case, take them to beis Din, convince beis din that it is dangerous or against the rules and have an injunction forcing them to remove it. Without that, I fail to see how they have the right to do this. Protest, I guess that would be ok. They are concerned so they can try to sway the Levi's to being sensitive to their concerns. But to distribute inflammatory sings like this - to me it seems wrong.

Furthermore, why is it signed "Concerned and endangered neighbors of RBS A, B and Kirya Charedit"? The location is in RBS A by their house. What do the other neighborhoods have to do with it? Why do they call themselves "endangered"?

If the Levi family is moving to Modiin, maybe the solution has already been found. While they write that everyone else is afraid but they sleep peacefully because they are soon moving to Mosiin, maybe the new residents cna be swayed to remove the antenna. I am sure an agreement with an owner is not forced upon somebody who buys the aprtment from them. Convince the people buying the place, or moving in, to cancel the contract. In essence, this affects the lives of the Levi's as much as anybody else's, and they seem convinced that it does not present a danger. So their moving to Modiin seems to be irrelevant at best, and possibly even the solution to the problem.

It is ironic that these are the owners of Kidma, which is a center for the child's well-being. They provide services for children with various issues that need different types of therapies. While there might not be proof of the dangers, it can't be good for you. And perhaps people involved in such a business should be more sensitive to the anedotal evidence as well.

Lastly, it always bothers me seeing these protests against cellular antennas. Everybody walsk around carrying cell phones on their hips, in their pockets, talking on them all the time, etc. If they only carry one phone, they are unusual. Many carry two phones. People cannot be a moment without their cellphone. Yet they protest the antennas. And then when there is no antenna in the immediate area, and reception is weak, they complain about that. So everybody wants cellphones with great reception but no antennas.
If you want your cellphone, which anyway is probably more dangerous to your life than the antenna, deal with the antenna. You can't sit on both sides of the fence.


  1. I personally don't believe that cell phone antenna's cause any medical harm, although I wouldn't want to live next to one (mostly due to property values). That said, I think installing one in a residential neighborhood against the objections of your neighbors is quite wrong. I presume you saw the article in Chadash about the protests; there was also the following post the RBS lists:

    If you live on Lachish or Nachson and heard an alarm going off all night you
    can thank your absentee neighbors at Lachish 16/1.

    These are the same people who installed a cell phone tower in their apartment and now live in Modiin.

    I've removed the name of the person who posted the email, although unlike the cowards behind this flyer (why won't they post their names), he was at least willing to identify himself.

  2. they already live in Modiin? according to the sign they will be moving there, but not yet live there...

    somebody probably set the alarm off, so why should they be blamed? blame the protester who set it off.

    I saw the article in chadash.

    I understand the neighbors. Even though there is no proof, most average people consider them dangerous. they are concerned, and have the right to be, for their health. But they put it on their private property. While maybe you and I would not do this because we know our neighbors would not like it, he did do it and he had the right to. Take him to court or beis din and fight it. Maybe they can convince a beis din that it is against normal neighborly conduct.

  3. Kidma is located on Rechov R Pinchas Ben Yair. The signs are up in order to scare people the kannoim don't like from showing up in that part of town.

  4. FWIW, They're still listed in the shemesh phone.

    I also think that the good Dr who wrote the email was wrong about the alarm; besides, if it's really going off all night, file a complaint with the police.

    If it were my neighbor, I would probably try taking him to beis din since I'm not convinced it's considered normal household usage, but I wouldn't really expect to win. OTOH, even if I disagreed with his choice, I certainly wouldn't attempt to contact his mother!

    Ah well, I guess cowardice and stupidity often go together...

  5. Considering there was an instance of 3 cases of cancer in one building on Lachish, I would prefer they took a more conservative approach to the lives of their neighbors' children.

  6. and did that building have a cellular antenna? (I know which building you are talking about, but I have no idea if they had an antenna)

  7. Rafi,

    When you buy a property you also (typically) buy the contracts and other liabilities and assets of that property. For example, if you are rening a flat and have a lease and I buy the flat from the owner I am obligated to abide by the terms of your lease because the contract is part of the property. So depending on the contract the cell provider has with the owner will determine if a new owner can dismantle the antenae or not.

  8. dan - maybe. But there are probably much easier ways to get rid of it then. I mean, If I buy that apt and want to renovate, am I not allowed to because I cannot remove those, even if they are in the way of what I want to do?

    i guess it depends on the contract they would sign. It just seems to me that it would be fairly easy to get rid of once the apartment is sold (this is asusming they sell it and not rent it)

  9. again, it depends on the contract. But, typically a business is like a person. The entity renting that spot for the use of the antanae is no diferent than if a person was renting that apt. If you have a lease and I buy the apt from the owner I can't just kick you out unless their a clause in the contract allowing for it.

  10. Obviously anecdote does not equal data, but how could you be so cavalier about it when lives may be at stake? Yes, there may not be concrete proof...but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence that would seem to indicate that we should err on the side of not risking the lives of our neighbors.

  11. Obviously anecdote does not equal data, but how could you be so cavalier about it when lives may be at stake? Yes, there may not be concrete proof...but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence that would seem to indicate that we should err on the side of not risking the lives of our neighbors.

    I agree; should. If one of my neighbors put in a cell phone tower, I would be absolutely furious, and, as I mentioned, would probably try any legal (i.e., halachic) method to stop him.

    I would not attempt to get random strangers to harass his mother!

    I would also point out that the risk of _using_ a cell phone (especially the amount that many people do...) is probably greater than the antenna, and many small antennas lead to fewer patches of very high radiation than several huge ones.

    OTOH, I'm not a biologist or a doctor; just a lowly electrical engineer who knows some physics...


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