Ovadia Yosef’s daughter meets J’lem tent protesters

"It’s impossible to do everything at once, but we have to do something," Adina Bar Shalom tells leaders.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
August 18, 2011 00:11
2 minute read.
ADINA BAR SHALOM

Bar Shalom 311. (photo credit: ADINA BAR SHALOM)

As the Jerusalem Tent City in Gan Hasus (Horse Park) celebrated its one-month anniversary, tent city organizers met on Wednesday with Rabbanit Adina Bar Shalom, daughter of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who is part of the alternative panel of experts offering independent advice to the protest leaders and acting as a bridge between government channels and the protesters.

“We can’t solve all of these problems at once, it’s a process,” Bar Shalom told 10 of the Jerusalem protest leaders. “But if we do nothing, we’ll be in an even worse situation next year.”

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Some leaders expressed skepticism that another committee could help them affect meaningful change.

“We feel like committees are just putting things off, it took us four years to get here and we feel like we’re at a key place, we don’t want to lose this,” said one activist, named Bar.

Bar Shalom encouraged the leaders to have a little faith, and added that each tent city should take concrete action by presenting the alternative panel of experts with a list of 15 specific demands.

The alternative panel, including experts in housing, sociology, health, education, employment, public leadership and legal rights, will be meeting with protest leaders across the country for an additional month before presenting their findings to the public and government representatives.

Other volunteers said they didn’t feel like they were connecting with religious and haredi populations and had trouble convincing them to get them involved in the protest.

“That’s why I’m here,” Bar Shalom answered, and added that if protesters were really serious about involving the haredi community, they would need to dress more modestly, including not wearing shorts or tank tops.

One activist named Tomer said he had difficulty accepting haredi protesters, because the haredi establishment does not give them the education or the tools they need to succeed financially, condemning them to a life of poverty that is subsidized by taxes from the middle class.

Bar Shalom countered that institutions such as her Charedi College worked to put haredim into the workforce in acceptable frameworks.

She stressed that the best way to work together is to listen to each side.

“It was a good meeting, she really came to cooperate and to listen,” Itai Gutler, the head of the student union at Hebrew University told The Jerusalem Post. He added that her insight would help the demonstrators reach out to more haredim.

“She’s a way for us to connect with haredi community,” he said.

“Contrary to the widelyheld opinion that there’s confusion and everyone wants something different, they are checking what will work and what won’t, what’s possible to attain and what’s not,” Bar Shalom told the Post after the meeting.

“It’s impossible to do everything at once, but we have to start with something,” she said. “When we sit and everyone tells what they’ve learned, we will definitely find the way to solve these problems.”

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