Haredi sages can't curb rioting

Head of the Eda Haredit Rabbinic Court says he specifically ordered his followers not to use violence.

By MATTHEW WAGNER
November 5, 2006 23:09
1 minute read.
ilan franco and haredim 298.88 aj

ilan franco and haredim . (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit leadership said Sunday night that although it opposed violent demonstrations against Friday's planned Gay Pride march, it could do nothing to stop them. Rabbi Moshe Sternbach, head of the Eda Haredit Rabbinic Court, said he had specifically ordered his followers not to use violence. "I said 'don't give blows,' but the public is really angry and cannot control itself." Shmuel Poppenheim, editor of Ha'eda, the mouthpiece of the Eda Haredit, said that the rabbis called on their followers to do everything in their power to disrupt citizens' lives. "But everyone knows not to do anything prohibited by the Shulhan Aruch [the compilation of codified Jewish law]," said Poppenheim. Poppenheim said that blocking roads was legitimate but other tactics that have been used by haredim in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh, such as pouring oil on roads, burning trash bins and throwing rocks, were all prohibited. "Most of the public listens to the call to wear sackcloth and smear ashes on themselves [signs of mourning], pray that the abominable march will be canceled and scream gevalt. There is nothing we can do about a few people who lose control." Asked what is done with haredim who are homosexual, Poppenheim said that they must be ostracized and removed from the community. He rejected the claim that homosexuals had no control over their sexual desires. "I believe God gave each person the strength to overcome his bad qualities if he wants to," he said.

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