Jun 27, 2017

The Reform and Haredi Kotel fight in historical context

The reversal of the Kotel agreement has led to a lot of anger, along with what seems to be shock and surprise.

While criticism leveled at PM Netanyahu for this might be fair, the anger, and at least most of the platitudes, directed at the Haredi parties is disingenuous, as is the seeming shock and surprise at the reversal.

Nearly the entire response of the public seems to have expected the Haredi parties to be considerate of other people's desires to worship differently. It manifests itself as if this is an entirely new issue and conflict never before having been raised, and thus the move to seal Orthodox tradition as the only valid one at the Kotel, or in Israel, is surprising, unfair and inconsiderate.

The conflict between the Orthodox and Reform organizations have been going on for over 150 years, since Reform Judaism was founded. The Orthodox clergy always refused to recognized the Reform as being legitimate and always did whatever they could to not give any hint at legitimacy tot he Reform as a stream of Judaism. What just happened in Israel, at least what was done by the Haredi political parties, is nothing new. And the Reform organization and clergy, over the past 150 years, has fought its position against the Orthodox just as vociferously.

Why everyone seems surprised and shocked as if they expected differently makes no sense and is taking this battle out of its historical context.

And pointing to a few pre-State pictures of how there was mixed prayer at the Kotel is just silly, as the Jewish people in Israel (then called Palestine) did not have the ability to put up a mechitza, or have formal services, under British and Ottoman rule. Flashing those pictures and saying this is proof even Orthodox Jews did not care about mechitza just 100 years ago is ridiculous.

Whether you or I would have done differently, or would have wanted this to play out differently, is irrelevant. The Haredi MKs, as representatives of the Haredi rabbonim and the Haredi public, would not, could not, have done anything to give the Reform legitimacy, including giving them control of part of the Kotel. The fact that they have enough political power to get their way on this is a different issue and it says that the Reform and its supporters need to work more in the political arena in gaining more political influence - not just with money but with votes and actual political power.

Say what you want about what you think should have been or could have been - but what the Haredi parties actually did is basically consistent with the history of the fight between Orthodox and Reform.




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2 comments:

  1. This was no supposed to be Reform issue at all originally, but was because the Women of the Wall (which include Orthodox women as well as the Conservatives and Reform) wanted to read from the Torah. I think the aim was to have an area foir this purpose, not for mixed prayer. They simply hijacked the issue. I think the Orthodox women of the Wall would not want to be in a mixed service in this area anyway.

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  2. Everything comes down to the real reason for all this fighting. The left has an agenda which is globalistic at its basis. Their main goal is the deJudaization of Israel and of Torah Jewry. It's all about mixing all the avodah zorahs with the base being some kind of freak Judaism, c'v. We are at the most confused and chaotic period of history and the truly yirei Shamayim must stand firm and not give in. Those within our people pushing to push this chilul H' must be ostracized. Period. They have the choice of doing teshuvah and to stop politicizing Torah. Leave Torah to today's Sages. The role of government is to run the country and protect its citizens - nothing more.

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