Charedim Demand Autonomy!

א.פלדינגר
כ"ו תשרי ה'תשע"ח 16/10/17
From an economic standpoint, there is, perhaps, no other place on the planet observant Jews – both Avreichim and working men with set study times – suffer as much. We would be just fine with a Lichtenstein of sorts with low taxation.

בס"ד

I unhappily read about the Supreme Court kicking back the accountability for removing the Tznius signs to the Beit Shemesh municipality.

I recently wrote a letter to the editor wherein I explained how laughable it was to pin the responsibility to the municipality. Everyone praised my letter and agreed. The only ones who refuse to acknowledge the point are the Supreme Court justices themselves.

Apparently their common sense has been "reformed", and the rest of us still lag behind their exalted intellect. How sad the country's judges don't match the nation.

Anyhow…

I have long wondered what things would be like if they put us behind a fence and gave us autonomy, as they did to the Arabs in Gaza. Would this be good news or bad?

As far as being a Ghetto, it's the same difference. We already are a Ghetto. You only have to observe what is presently going on with Arad and old Beit Shemesh.

As for Transportation, we, too, know how to organize bus routes. Some aspects to note: Getting a license for a private car is a painful bureaucratic process, car and gas prices are sky-high, car owners lose various benefits and discounts, the thorough investigation whether the car seats an extra passenger. When activists manage to obtain us a new bus route, it skips and misses stops and schedules, the rabbis have zero control over separate seating and the radio… All this on a bus covered with a warning sticker threatening us with criminal persecution, as we rejoice over the poor man's repast, considering the savings on VAT; which they also wished to take from us.

As for Electricity, we, too, know how to build generators, cheaper and more kosher.

Agriculture. We need only wheat for matzos, fruits for Tu Beshvat, and the Arba Minim. All other food products we would happily import from abroad for a quarter of the price.

As far as Medical care, a few people come to mind: Litzman, Firer, Fisher, Lupolianski, Shaarei Tzedek, Ichud Hatzalah, Bikur Cholim, Laniado, Maayanei Hayeshuah, Hatzalah Israel, Zaka. Nope. Not worried about medical care. In Monroe, they have Streimel-wearing firefighters.

Police. Shomrim, and citizen-arrests have been more effective than the police. As for youth-at-risk, the law is often the greatest barrier to effective treatment.

Courts. We aren't represented anyway, we are discriminated against, and neighborly disputes are anyway handled in Beis Din. By the way, the law prohibits them from mandating excommunication. What a pity to pay taxes for them.

As for Security. What does the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict have to do with us? We came here to perform the Mitzvah of settling the land, aware we are still in Galus. He who wishes to act with force, against Chazal's recommendation, let him. What does that have to do with us?

Especially seeing as the law frequently protects the terrorists... "The Right pushes away, and the Left draws near". What do we need this headache for? We won't push away and we won't draw near, but live Torah lives in the Holy Land.

(And in spite of our ideology, our gentle youths, pure as can be, receive forcible army conscription notices to a mixed-gender army, as through we owe anything to the seculars, are "Mechutanim" somehow. We are fortunate to have a refuge in the Beis Medrash, and that, too, is in danger.)

As for Government benefits, we anyway subsist about 90% off contributions from abroad. All the government benefits shrink facing a father of 15 buying them half an apartment.

What about Preschool and Daycare? Sure! The women are pressed into working themselves to the bone, upon which they are granted a significant discount for preschool and daycare…

Economically speaking, considering all the bureaucracy, the high taxes, and the raised price of living, I would only request: Don't do us any favors. Maybe if you stopped helping us, our Avreichim and work-horses would merit the lifestyle of a regular Yeshiva student in Gateshead and Lakewood. Every community in Chutz La'aretz has a few millionaires, who learned solely in Yeshiva!

And by the way, what do think of a Diamond Exchange free of immorality, with no need of getting army exemptions, and so on? Sound good? Nu nu. Just try to make separate hours strictly for men, and the state will immediately arise on its hindquarters!

Let's not beat around the bush: From an economic standpoint, there is, perhaps, no other place on the planet observant Jews – both Avreichim and working men with set study times – suffer as much. We would be just fine with a Lichtenstein of sorts with low taxation.

Charedim from all over could invest their money and build us workplaces in factories and offices and Yeshivas, where each Yeshiva Bachur from America would bring in thousands of dollars a year. They claim we live at their expense? Nonsense!

Trying to responsibly maintain the Status Quo, for national cohesion? On the face of things, the Supreme Court will sooner or later destroy any religious influence, Heaven forfend.

The upshot: Autonomy would, in fact, benefit us.

Some people respond: Are you insane? The state grants us food, housing, playgrounds.... Apparently these souls are reincarnated parrots. My parrot, too, accepts free housing, education, food, and even playground equipment.

Alright. Matters should be clear by now (especially to Olim, who have what to compare to).

And the million-dollar question: If we demanded autonomy, would it be granted? The answer? Forget it!

So why even try? Because if we gave them the feeling we are not guests but hostages, the Supreme Court justices would have to surrender a little when it comes to our internal affairs. Examples: A municipality which is unsuccessful in removing Tznius signs from a clearly Charedi street, repeat elections, wild dogs in Ramah Gimmel, and so on.

This article first appeared in Hebrew.

By A. Feldinger, Lev Simchah St. 12. 052 763 1946