Eda Haredit denounces state ‘oppression’

Ultra-Orthodox organization slams government intervention in haredi lifestyle.

Haredi man near a bus 311 (photo credit: (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Haredi man near a bus 311
(photo credit: (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
The ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit (Badatz) organization published a harsh letter this week condemning the government and police for waging a war against “those who fear God,” and against “modesty and holiness.”
The letter, which appeared on posters in haredi (ultra- Orthodox) Jerusalem neighborhoods on Monday night, was written in the name of Rabbi Tuviah Weiss, the head of the Eda Haredit rabbinical court, and his deputy Rabbi Moshe Shternboch.
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Entitled “God, Your People Are Being Oppressed,” the letter stated that anyone who opened his mouth to protest was dragged off to prison and subjected to “lies by ignorant lawyers” who aimed to extend their incarceration and bring them to “baseless judgements.”
The letter also strongly defended Shmuel Weisfish, an activist in the extremist ultra-Orthodox Sikrikim group, who began a two-year prison sentence at the beginning of January for rioting, extortion, assault and causing grievous bodily harm.
“They have thrown an important yeshiva student into prison for two years in order to silence the voice of protest and the voice of Israel. This is the dream, to God forbid uproot and destroy the boundaries of modesty and holiness, which are the foundations of Judaism,” the letter continued.
It described recent religious tensions as “another chapter in the worst of all the exiles, the one imposed by the evil people of Israel, who, having taken authority and government for themselves, now harbor a deep jealousy for those who fear God, who are increasing greatly and who serve God in truth and purity.”
Rabbi Uri Regev, director of the Hiddush organization for religious freedom, said in response that the Eda Haredit had revealed its true face as an organization that “supports thuggery of the worst kind.”
The Eda Haredit members who publicized the notice supporting the Sikrikim and calling the Jewish state the worst exile were shaming Judaism and desecrating God’s name, Regev continued, calling on other haredi leaders to denounce the organization’s stance.
Speaking on Tuesday, Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said in an interview with Radio Kol Hai that there was a limit to the “humiliations” that the ultra- Orthodox community could tolerate.
“No one should dare to tell me or my friends that I should transgress Jewish law,” he declared, stating that “tomorrow they will tell me to shake hands [with women] which I strictly don’t do, and after that they’ll say, ‘It’s not nice, a deputy minister should trim his beard.’”