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Aug 27, 2008

Zeh Lo Fair

Zeh Lo Fair

This is a very common Hebrew phrase found among children, having converted the word "fair" to Hebrew. "It's not fair".

Mynet, a local Jerusalem publication, is reporting on an incident in which a Haredi family was chased out of a park in the secular neighborhood of Beit HaKerem.

While I wish we could all live together peacefully and not feel threatened one by the other - in both directions; Haredi with Hiloni, and Hiloni with Haredi, that does not seem to be the way of the world.

What this family had to suffer as individuals is very disheartening. It is very much "Lo Fair" to them. All they wanted was to mind their own business and enjoy a nice afternoon in the park with their family before the end of the vacation season.

But the world is not fair. Life is not fair. While as a family and as individuals these people might be very nice and perhaps even worldly (I have no idea of they are or are not, just suggesting the possibility), perhaps they are friendly with Hiloni people, but they went to a park and automatically became representatives of the Haredi community, and lost their identity as individuals.

Yes, it is "Lo Fair".

But there is something wrong with Haredim crying foul when it happens to them, when they are constantly chasing out hilonim from Haredi neighborhoods, and even from secular neighborhoods that have turned Haredi (even if just in part). Think of the signs in Mea Shearim. Think about what has happened in RBS B, and even the way they make it uncomfortable in RBS A with the signs calling on secular people to dress certain ways to accomodate the locals. Think of many news events where Haredim were not welcoming to hilonim claiming the different lifestyle and trying to avoid a clash as the hiloni dress would offend their sensitivities.

The Haredim do it so often to the hilonim, that it is hypocritical for them to now be crying foul when it is once done to them.

Yes, it is "lo fair" for the family it was done to. But, as a community, if you dish it out, you gotta be able to take it.


  1. no one is chasing chilonim out of the park. Chareidim have a certain standard of behavior they keep where they live. They dont run to chilonim and tell them to go away. They tell them if you are in our area, dress according to our rules. Many places in america have rules about what you can and cant do. Think of no smoking. Men needing to wear a shirt. No one is telling you you cant be here if youre a person who doesnt wear a shirt. Just put one on and stay. Same thing withthe tznius. Why are the chilonim telling chareidim they have to leave?

  2. you, my friend, are sticking your head in the sand, if you really believe what you wrote. The whole point of the signs and the way they make it uncomfortable is to make it so uncomfortable so that they will stay away. Look at the "shopping building" in RBS B whose construction was halted. Better not have a shopping area so as to avoid a risk that hilonim will come into the neighborhood. How many neighborhoods have haredim moved into and pushed out the hilonim? How many times have haredim chased someone out of the neighborhood when the person was not befitting the norms of the neighborhood? I do not know where you are from, but it happened in RBS a couple of times! Think of the kids in the park in RBS (I bring a lot of rbs examples because I am more familiar with it firsthand, but it happens in many places) that hang out on Friday nights that the Haredim have tried to chase out.

    The Haredim do it the most. The incident in Beit Hakerem is the exception in that it came from Hilonim. I am not justifying them. It is wrong. But when the Haredim do it to the Hilnonim, they should not scream when the Hilonim do it back.

    Why did they do it? Maybe they feel threatened like their neighborhood is being targeted for takeover. In Kiryat HaYovel, for example, slowly Haredi families started moving in and the hilony families have been moving out. It creates tensions and people on both sides get upset at each other. Think of Bet Shemesh which has over time become more and more haredi. now whenever a plan is mentioned to build for Hilonim, the Haredim scream that the rep is selling out the Haredim. Think of Ramat Eshkol in jerusalem that has turned fairly Haredi after always being a mixed secular and dati leumi area.

    Maybe the people in the park saw this family and felt they were being targeted. But that is a guess.

  3. This article really hit on a very sensitive spot for many people (there are already over 550 talkbacks!!). I was talking about it with someone from work who lives in Beit Hakerem and the average Hiloni response seems to be – they deserve it because the Haredim are destroying the neighborhood. He says the parks were built with small Hiloni families in mind and these very large Haredi families with 10+ kids come and there is nowhere to play for their kids. They also claim that many Haredim are not careful about cleaning up after themselves and the parks are full of litter.

  4. now the story made it to ynet as well. only 27 talkbacks there so far.

    The point about the litter is also true. While everybody litters (some try not to, but by everybody I mean secular litter just like Haredim litter), the litter of a family of 8 or 10 is going to be so much more than the litter of a family of 3 or 4. So they get a worse name as litterers. Look at Park Ayalon on any day during summer vacation and you will see how filthy it is with litter. And then people complain that the city does not clean up enough. The people should clean up after themselves! Those small garbage cans in the park are not meant for you to throw out your oversized trashbag from your picnic. They are meant for small amounts of garbage. But if you throw it all out in that little can, there is no way it is all going to stay in, and then it gets blown around in the wind...

  5. "Chareidim have a certain standard of behavior they keep where they live. They dont run to chilonim and tell them to go away. They tell them if you are in our area, dress according to our rules."

    The chilonim are saying the exact same thing. "When you're in our area, dress according to our norms." A charedi family that chose to dress in shorts and tank tops wouldn't have been kicked out of Beit Hakerem.

  6. I gotta agree with you on this one. While it does sound nasty, that religious Jews are chased away for being religious Jews, the big picture is generally the haredim chasing away the chilonim, the dati leumi, and anyone else who does not fit the mold. It does not have to be non-tznius. It could be a community that gives a cold shoulder (no aliyah etc..) to a bachur who stopped wearing a hat to davening.

  7. There is a difference between chiloni dress in a chareidi neighborhood and charedi dress in a chiloni neighborhood. I dont need to explain that to you.

    In RBS B no one is kicking out chilonim. There is a unified effort to upkeep the nature of the area in a way in which it does not offend the people who live there. Again, if chilonim didnt antagonize the chareidim with their dress and their chillul shabbos and their nagative traits, no one would mind them around

  8. Two wrongs do not make a right. If the Charedim weren't bothering anyone in the park, and were properly behaving themselves, then nothing of the sort should have been done!

    With this kind of behavior (Sinat Chinam) we are going to probably wait a very long time for the Mashiach.


  9. I dont think anyone is saying the hilonim did the right thing. they did not.
    All I was saying was that the Haredim cannot be upset when someone does it to them after all the times they do it to others. Others explained why the hilonim might be doing. But nobody said they are right for doing it.

  10. From a religious perspective, there is a big difference between chiloni dress in a chareidi neighborhood and chareidi dress in a chiloni neighborhood.
    From a secular perspective, when the chareidi says we don't want you in our neighborhood because you don't dress like us. They openly state that that kind of dress is unacceptable around them. That means that if they go to a secular neighborhood they will expect the same thing there. If they can't handle that kind of dress then they shouldn't voluntarily enter a secular neighborhood. The seculars are afraid that they will come into their neighborhood and tell them how to dress. It's happened before it will happen again.

  11. I have seen all sorts of people littering in Israel. What is worse about an apparently religiously committed person doing it, is that is hypocritical, as it is against halacha. Also, it reflects a certain negativity towards certain societal values that perhaps they view as associated with secular society. Perhaps it even shows a certain selfishness and "self-centeredness".
    Nobody is perfect and always acts in accordance with their principles, but generally when they do something that they consider wrong they will be embarassed about it. I have seen outwardly religious people (as well as outwardly irreligious people - where the trash can was a couple of meters away!) litter in full public view. In one case I saw someone who was embarassed to do it, so first he checked if anyone was watching and then he chucked his garbage underneath a car, but he was a foreigner.

  12. Even within a solidly charedi neighborhood, the charedim cannot (legally) make and enforce the rules. The infrastructure--streets, parks, etc.--are provided by the government (unfortunately secular, even in Bnei Brak. The council members may be religious, but they get their authority from the secular government.) They can post signs asking for cooperation, but they have no right to enforce the dress code in public places.

    Park Raanana used to charge admission to non-residents. The haredim protested and a law was passed saying they can't. I haven't researched the law, but the city of Raanana needs to set aside a lot of resources to maintain the park with its large numbers of out-of-town visitors. I'm not sure that's fair. But it works both way--if haredim take advantage of public parks in secular areas, they must welcome secular visitors to their neighborhoods too. What about all the pritzus on view in Park Raanana? Isn't that a problem?

  13. MOI - Haredi enforcement methods have never included anything that deals with legality or such issues. It is called vigilante enforcement...

    Last time I was in Park Ranana, there was plenty of pritzus, if that is what you want to call regular Israelis.
    BTW, if you think the Haredim gained anything by not having to pay for entry to Park Ranana, you are partially correct and partially wrong. They now charge a ridiculous amount for parking instead of the entry fee. So either you park illegally on the street (it is all marked red and white, but plenty of people parked there), or you pay very high parking rates. That might not be an issue for the haredim for maybe they are going there via public transportation and do not pay parking fees....


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