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Dec 27, 2011

Massive Hafgana In Bet Shemesh This Evening

Today is the big hafgana against violence and extremism. The hafgana will be at 6 PM on the street outside OROT on Herzog Street.

Some interesting points about the hafgana:
  • Many people are coming from around the country to join a rally that began as a local issue but has ballooned into a national issue
  • Obviously, with so many different people and groups participating in the same rally, there will be a lot of different agendas on display and at work. 
  • Shimon Peres called on people from all over Israel to go to Bet Shemesh to the rally to show the extremists that they do not own the country.
  • TOV announced that as many haredim are planning to join the protest, haredim should be sure to stay in the area designated for haredim as many of the other people might be rallying around a cause "different than ours". Some of the other protestors might be anti-haredi. Therefore, "we should stand and protest in the area designated for Haredim. (area designated for haredim? does that qualify as hadarat haredim, or would that only be so if the designated area would be at the back of the hafgana?)
  • Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol said this morning that if he is not officially invited to the hafgana it will prove the hafgana is simply a political ploy against him. He does not understand that this is a protest of the people by the people and against some other people. No politics involved. Though, with so many agendas at work I am sure there will be some with political agendas, however, that is not the focus of the rally. If Abutbol wants to come as a private person protesting extremism and violence, he is invited as much as anybody else.
  • In what looks to be an attempt to save face and do some damage control, Deputy Mayor of Bet Shemesh Meier Balaish has announced to his supporters and targets of influence that they are joining the protest. According to the information put out by him, they are meeting at a different location and will parade to OROT while protesting violence.
There is definitely going to be a lot happening tonight, and it seems like there will be a little bit for everybody.

I expect many of the people coming will probably get stuck in the horrible daily traffic jams on Highway 38. They will probably be sitting on the 38 for a couple of hours and miss the entire hafgana! Maybe if some influential people, like the Minister of Transportation, would come to the hafgana and get stuck in the traffic, they would see how much our city suffers from having an inadequate highway and would speed up the process of improving it...


  1. It's worth noting Haaretz says R. Dov Lipman requested to speak and was denied. Says a lot about whether the rally is against violence or anti-religious.

    BTW, you may not have heard the announcement trucks going through the streets this morning calling on everyone charedi to come and defend the holy neighborhood, holy people, G-d and His Torah.

    This has the easy potential to turn into a very major riot, G-d forbid.

  2. I did not hear them. I was in Tel Aviv all day until recently.

  3. can you post a link to the haaretz article? I dont see an article that says that (I am not denying it is true - I dont know who is speaking and who is not)

  4. If there are chareidim wanting to participate in the protest, then that is welcome. I admit it will be confusing for the other protesters to know who is an extreme Charedi, and a non-extreme one. Also Dov Lipman dresses like a Chareidi too, which would add to the confusion. Of course, he should speak at this event. Otherwise it will just be a bunch of anti-religious lefties wanting to create a fight, but the issue is too serious for it to be hijacked by extremists on the secular side (there are those too), so I hope that will be sorted out

  5. My wife works in the charedi area near Orot. Her female coworkers didn't know what was going because they don't listen to the news (print, radio or TV) but said that maybe they should protest with the zealots.

    - dovid from modiin

  6. What time will the TV News coverage start? I live too far to drive there.

  7. Mayor of Bet Shemesh Moshe Abutbol said this morning that if he is not officially invited to the hafgana it will prove the hafgana is simply a political ploy against him.

    Pompous fool.

  8. Will the Haredi section have a seperate men and women section?

  9. they must stay home. kol kvoda bat melech pnima!

  10. Hey Rafi,

    Isn't that the name of the Chareidi women's dormitory?:
    Kol Kvoda Bet Melech Penimia!
    כל כבודה בת מלך פנימיה

  11. Isn't that the name of the Chareidi women's dormitory?:
    Kol Kvoda Bet Melech Penimia!
    כל כבודה בת מלך פנימיה

    Oi, Catriel! That is one of the most labored puns I have ever had the misfortune to read!

  12. No, Darth!
    The most labored puns are made on Labor Day, which is the American holiday when women are about to give birth (they go into labor - get it?).

  13. "He does not understand that this is a protest of the people by the people and against some other people. No politics involved."

    Rafi, I didn't know you were so naive.

  14. Looks like Abutbol was right, as they called for him to step down. YES politics involved. And guess he wasnt (proved to be) a pompous fool.

    And didnt look too promising. Some news sights are reporting 100's not 1000's and certainly a far cry from the 10,000's they were predicting. Which is surprising that they couldnt get that many people for an anti-chareidi protest. Maybe there is some hope for this sad country after all. Or was it just terrible traffic?

  15. My live report from the protest here.

    As the ONLY charedi guy there (the only one in a black hat and bekesha), the crowd was very well behaved and I never felt threatened. Glared at a bit, but not threatened.

    Kol HaKavod to the security forces - they should be acting this way to protect the girls regularly.

  16. anon - I had a specific purpose in writing that. I was hoping to influence certain people, or at least let them see what i know many people want. I left it open though, knowing that there would be a political edge to it, as I wrote there are different groups involved each with its own agenda.

  17. I note that the HaAretz report states:

    Israel Hofshit said politicians would not be allowed to address the rally or to conduct political activities, in keeping with the request of Beit Shemesh residents who say they don't want the event to become political.
    A group of Haredi residents of Beit Shemesh led by Rabbi Dov Lipman has asked to take part in the rally. Lipman has requested permission to address the crowd.

    The above does NOT say that R. Dov Lipman was denied permission to address the crowd. It does not state what response he got. It only says that politicians would be denied permission in order to keep the event from being political.
    Perhaps Rav Lipman is considered a politician, and that would be grounds for denying him permission to address the crowd; or perhaps not. However, this does not indicate anti-religious sentiment one way or the other.

    The call for Abutbul to step down is one that is heard a lot in Bet Shemesh these days. In my opinion it is basically NOT political, in the sense of opposition just trying to besmirch a blameless mayor. The call for Abutbul to resign is based upon the clear understanding (which was expressed to me by many CHAREIDIM even before the election which made Abutbul mayor) that Abutbul IS a pompous fool and is NOT a person with any leadership ability, and is therefore contributing to the city's problems by being a weak, non-leadership mayor when a true leader is needed to confront the city's problems!

  18. The same charedi population that voted in Abutbol is still there - and growing. And what they want is charedi representation. So if it's not Abutbol in the next election it may well be someone else from the charedi ranks.

    We can hope that such a person will offer more fair/enlightened leadership, but short of that the best strategy is to keep Beit Shemesh in the spotlight. National pressure coming down on local leadership may be the only way to curb extremism and favoritism.

  19. I do not agree that we have a "blameless mayor".
    If he had clamped down on the Orot demonstrators on September 1st and told the police to take strong steps, then it never would have got to this awful stage.
    He is certainly not blameless for many of the issues in Bet Shemesh - housing in Gimmel, use of funds to support charedi organizations etc.

  20. As a Torah Jew (I used to write Charedi , but recently that term, has been hijacked by both extremists, and those seeking to vilify us) I am planning on attending the protest. I believe (and so do my Rabbis) that the actions of the sikrikim are exactly the opposite of what the Torah expects of us, and am furious that they are blaming their violence on the Torah.

    I hope that those seeking to condemn the violence, and support the brave students, will truly be united, look past stereotypes, and realize that I am part of the "silent 99%". Don't become what you are protesting against! Be truly openminded!

    As my Rabbi has often told me, hating something is awfully close to loving it, and in fact the opposite of hate and love is actually apathy.

    If we come as one Am Yisrael, ignoring the superficialities, supporting our sisters and daughters, how could Hashem not have Nachas?


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