Forget the haredim; where’s the state?

When police side with haredi extremists, how can other haredim oppose them?

January 9, 2012 19:58
Haredim riot [file photo]

Haredi riot 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

I’ve heard many complaints lately about the silence of the haredi leadership and public – that vast majority of ultra-Orthodox rabbis and laypeople who are presumably appalled when extremists in their midst spit on little girls, stone policemen, call female soldiers “whores” and the like. But I’ve heard far too few complaints about the real outrage: the fact that despite all the verbal condemnations by government officials, the very state agents who are supposed to protect the public from such thugs often side with the extremists instead.

Consider, for instance, what happened last month when Tanya Rosenblit sat in the front of a mehadrin bus – a public bus serving mainly haredi passengers, whose unwritten rule is men in front and women in back. One haredi man demanded that she move to the back, and to enforce his demand, blocked the door of the bus for about 30 minutes, thereby preventing it from moving and effectively holding all the passengers hostage. In this case, the other haredi passengers didn’t remain silent; they demanded that the driver intervene, and he eventually called the police. But instead of arresting the extremist for this blatant disturbance of the peace, the policeman urged Rosenblit to just be a good girl and sit in back.


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