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Sep 27, 2011

Anti-Haredi Sentiments Expressed At The OROT Rally

A Guest Post By A Haredi Who Joined The OROT Rally

Hello all. I am a Chareidi resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh and I attended the Achdus rally on Sunday organised by Rabbi Dov Lipman. It sounded like a very promising event and, as a supporter of the Tov party and subscribing to its message of communal unity, related strongly to the aims of the rally.

Timing had it that I arrived just in time to hear the words of a Mr. Raanan Amsallem. He was going on about how Chareidim are leeching the municipal funds. I said to a colleague I was standing with - "this stinks" and I left not much longer after having come. I couldn't believe an event I had been promised would me no more than a rally of unity would be a platform for hate and venom.

I wrote to Rabbi Lipman to complain, stating that I had come at personal cost to support a cause that effectively did not directly affect me or my community (only by unreasonable association on the part of others) and one of the speakers chose to insult those of us from the Chareidi community who had chosen to attend.

Rabbi Lipman admitted to me that it was a small part of the speech that had been added in the last minute without him seeing it and in effect, was anti-chareidi and false. Specifically, 4 lines where Mr. Amsallem (in the words of Rabbi Lipman) "talked about budget cuts as if they were happening only in the non chareidi community when in reality it was done across the board".

He gave me permission to convey on his behalf that he "was against any message which came across as anti chareidi".


  1. Thank you very much for coming to support the community here. I agree with your criticism and certainly wish that speech had not been made at that rally.

  2. I agree, that it was upsetting that some of what was said did not adhere to what the organizers had in mind. Dov Lipman has worked very hard to create the right message and has reiterated over and over again that it is not anti charedi. He even suggested what signs were appropriate, but it is impossible to keep others from coming. When there is a protest everyone has their own reason for coming. I am not charedi but i too was very upset when the speaker you mentioned said what he said as i realized that this does not help the cause.
    Yes, unfortunately, outside of the charedi group, there is a lot of anti charedi feeling which relates to the fact that many people don't see the difference between the groups since as outsiders, they don't see these people opposing the actions or standing up and saying anything and instead see the mainstream leaders like Rav Kupshitz supporting them. This also shows why charedim coming and standing up to say these goons don't represent me would help remove these feelings. If charedim did join en masse these protest there would be no room for anyone to feel that "they are all alike" and then this would once and for all isolate the Kanaim in the eyes of all.

  3. I agree with what the Hershbergs wrote - it was great that you came, and it was very unfortunate that those remarks were made - they certainly detracted from what was otherwise a very positive and uplifting event, and were completely contrary to the spirit that I think the event was intended to convey.

  4. I also came and left. I felt uncomfortable and that it was a nationalistic rally as opposed to a unity rally. The flags and singing of Hatikva turned it into a political rally. I bet every RBSA person who didn't come but saw the video had the the same sentiment and justified their not showing up. I am posting anonymously because i don't want to upset some of my close friends involved. please respect that.

  5. Anon said:

    "The flags and singing of Hatikva turned it into a political rally."

    I hope that you don't mean to insinuate that RBSA people would be "offended" by flags and Hatikva.

    I am certain that they find no offense in the subsidized health insurance, school tuition and kitzvat yeladim from the "Zionist" government.

    Unity means that each person can come dressed as they do, with or without kippa and carrying the flag of our country.

    If there are people that would in fact consider this provocation perhaps they were standing on the wrong side of the street.

    I would also like to note that unlike certain leaders in the community who remain silent about the actions of others,Rabbi Lipman was able to publicly distance himself from the distasteful comments made at the rally he organizaed, by one speaker.

  6. I wasn't a fan of what Raanan said, although I know why he said it. The fact that the proposed budget cuts are not proportional to the budget or the population size is undeniable, although he could have said it in a much better way.

    It'd be a mistake, though, to extrapolate from that to the rest of the rally. If you would have come on time and stayed to the end, I think you would have found most of the messages to be things with which you'd agree wholeheartedly. I hope that you can also respect R' Lipman's response as a sign that while the rally definitely included elements you'd not normally feel 100% comfortable with, the overall atmosphere was a one of reasonable disagreement, and while not perfect, definitely preferable to the alternative being proposed by those opposed to Orot.

    Thanks for coming, and while I realize that it may seem like your best option is to simply stay out of the issue completely, I hope you'll conclude, as did I, that the best long term plan for our city is to support Orot and a fair rule of law. iy"H soon we will be able to address the disconnect between those who view the reaction to budget cuts as anti-chareidi and those who view the budget as being unfairly skewed towards chareidim as the most serious issue in our city.

  7. To Anonymous 11:59, I am surprised that you view Israelis holding an Israeli flag singing the national anthem as offensive. You may not want to sing it (I would have preferred Haemunah, personally, but that's life), or to wave the flag at all (or perhaps once a year a la Ponevezh), and that's entirely correct; we don't live in a fascist country where you're required to salute the flag daily.

    But if you think that the cause of uniting the people of Bet Shemesh and showing support for a school literally under attack is outweighed by having to see the national symbols... let's just say I'm not going to be counting on you to do the right thing.

    BTW, I don't know who your friends are (or is it future mechutanim?), but I'd be very surprised if they preferred public silent acquiescence and private backstabbing (well, ideologically, not literally) to a reasoned debate. I would never tell you what to do, but perhaps you need new friends, instead of just an echo chamber of yes (wo)men?

  8. I also agree with the Hershbergs and thank you very much for coming.

    I hope that you now realize that the vast majority of the demonstration and the demonstrators were not anti-Chareidi, and were pro-unity for all of the communities in Bet Shemesh.

    As someone pointed out, though the organizers of the demonstration have some control over what happens there, they cannot restrict who will come to the demonstration (or even how he will speak). However, it is unfortunate that Rav Lipman was not given a chance to see those additions to Raanan Amsalem's speech before it was made, and that Mr. Amsalem was not wise enough not to include those comments, or to phrase those comments properly (according to the commenter who said that Mr. Amsalem actually intended something that was not anti-Chareidi, but the wording came out anti-Chareidi).

    Rav Dov Lipman has indeed worked hard to bring unity to our city, and I think that we must all realize that the general tone of a demonstration is what should count in our eyes (though the organizers of demonstrations must do their very best to eliminate any pronouncements which contradict the type of tone that they are trying to set).

    Yasher Koach to Rav Lipman for directing all of this community action in such a positive manner; and Yasher Koach to the guest poster for coming to the event and for going to the trouble to clarify with Rav Lipman about the upsetting comment in that speech.

  9. i never said offended.

  10. just to mention, I didnt understand that anon was uncomfortable with the flag, just he was uncomfortable with the way the rally was made political (I dont think it was made political, but thats my opinion)

  11. Correction accepted. Please read my comment replacing offended with uncomfortable. I'm not sure I see the difference, since both lead to the same conclusion, but I wouldn't want to assign inaccurate feelings.

  12. When inviting speakers to a rally, for WHATEVER reason...it is impossible to control their speech/rhetoric.

  13. I am a "Chardei" and I was there too. I think it was a beautiful! I didn't really hear the speaches, and they really are not the important part of the even. The Rally was to show that all Jews have a legitimate right to live in Israel in peace and that we can live and let live.
    I would say that I think more chardei people would have comeif there would have been a section set aside for men, a family section and a women's section. Personally I don't care, but I think some Israeli's might have shown up too.

    About the Hatikva and flags- if you went to a 9-11 memorial would US flags and the singing of the anthem bother you.

    Get over it ! We live in Israel, you don't have to love everything the goverment does or stands for, neither do the mitnachalim, but it's your country and be proud of it! (And yes I am charedi, trust me, I can't even write my name here least, some spy tell my kids school and than. . . . . . )


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