New York – Agudath Israel: Acts Of Violence By Self Appointed Zealots Are Beyond Moral Jewish Behavior

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    New York – Reports of recent events in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh are deeply disturbing.

    Violence of any sort, whether physical or verbal, by self-appointed “guardians” of modesty is reprehensible. Such conduct is beyond the bounds of decent, moral – Jewish! – behavior. We condemn these acts unconditionally.

    Those who have taken pains to note that the small group of misguided individuals who have engaged in this conduct are not representative of the larger charedi community are to be commended. It is disturbing, though, that some Israeli politicians and secularists have been less responsible, portraying the actions of a very few as indicative of the feelings of the many. Quite the contrary, the extremist element is odious to, and rejected by, the vast majority of charedi Jews.

    Lost in all the animus and ill will, unfortunately, is the concept ostensibly at the core of the controversy: the exalted nature of tzenius, or Jewish modesty.

    Judaism considers human desires to constitute a sublime and important force, but one whose potential for harm is commensurate with its potential for holiness.

    In a society like our own, where the mantra of many is, in effect, “anything goes,” many charedi Jews, men and women alike, see a need to take special steps – in their own lives and without seeking to coerce others – to counterbalance the pervasive atmosphere of licentiousness, so as to avoid the degradation of humanity to which it leads.

    It would be tragic were the acts of violence to lead Jews to, G-d forbid, reject the culture of tzenius that has always been the hallmark of the Jewish nation, to regard Jewish modesty as something connected to violence and anger, rather than to refinement and holiness.

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    33 COMMENTS

    1. Thank you Agudah for finally coming out and condemning these thugs. Granted, it’s a bit late, but better late than never.

      To all those who are inevitably going to bash the Agudah, think of this: Yes, it is a bit late and this statement should have been published long ago, but don’t forget that after all’s said and done Agudah is the first major Jewish organization to come out publicly with such a statement. Give credit where credit is due.

    2. If this is supposed to be an “unconditional” condemnation of the violence and its perpetrators it utterly fails to do so. While the first line grabs the eyes of the inattentive reader further down the author engages in the expected excuses of “it’s only a minority of a minority”, “the Israeli media are persecuting us” and “we’re just counterbalancing the pervasive licentiousness around us”. The last assertion is patently ridiculous considering just who the targets of the hooligans’ ire are.

      Violence is wrong. Period. Full. Stop. That is where your statement should have ended. If you cannot make a truly unconditional statement to that effect (and this one misses the mark completely) then you have no business lecturing the public about modesty. None. At. All!

    3. The problem is not “guilt by association”. It is rather “guilt by enablement”. How hypocritical to cry about the publicity but not the problem itself.

    4. Where were all those Rabunim when Rottenberg from New Square was burned or when the Gerers in Jerusalem almost killed another man for not moving out f his home in Buty Warsaw..? Now that a girl got spit on (which i also condem) they all come out against it..?

      • How can you compare stories that are political and internal fighting, to where a few thugs are trying to portray and force their interpetation of Halacha on the whole Frum community!?!?

    5. Well said article, just missing 2 very important points:
      1. It fails to CONDEMN the media for blowing things out of proportion, spreading false information peppered with lies and therefore smearing a community and a nation as a whole.
      2. It fails to condemn in the same manner any sort of wrong doing by the non religious charedi hating people in EY especially in Beth Shemesh,
      for their many acts of violence and for terrorizing the frum community for being the way they are.
      If u condemn the wrong, do it all the way. Condemn it all.

    6. Did the Agudah do any investigation if there was ANY violence at all ??
      In today’s day & age of twitter ,Facebook etc, where we even get images from Syria ,Iran ,Is there even one photo of violence in Beis Shemesh?
      Yes I’ve seen the photos from Beis Shemesh, all we see are arguments between Police & Chareidim or Chilonim & Chareidim, but NO acts of violence….
      The only “reported” act of “violence” is of a deranged person spitting on this poor girl, yes this is despicable, but not considered violence.
      This entire Violence issue is a libel of the Secular media with ZERO proof…
      But again, to bash Charedim you need no proof,
      The Agudah wanting to be political correct, just swallows all what the media reports without checking the facts
      SHAME ON YOU !!!

    7. When we see videos of large numbers of chareidim demonstrating in support of the sikrikim, and videos of hundreds supporting the crazies in Beit Shemesh, it becomes difficult to swallow the repeated line that it’s only a few extremists.

      When these extremists operate in full view of the chareidi community with no fear of being condemned by the rest, it becomes difficult to swallow the repeated line that it’s only a few extremists.

      When we repeatedly hear from everyone that the women in the bus urge any “miscreant” to go to the back, it becomes difficult to swallow the repeated line that it’s only a few extremists.

      When I read so many of these comments that support the “extremists”, it becomes difficult to swallow the repeated line that it’s only a few extremists.

      When we hear that the “Gedolim” agree with the aims of the extremists, but merely complain about their actions only when the secular press starts to yell, it becomes difficult to swallow the repeated line that it’s only a few extremists.

    8. It is obvious that the chareidim are more Zionist than the Zionists.

      They obviously must feel that with the advent of the State of Israel Moshiach has arrived. Someone who truly feels that he is still in Golus behaves as if he is in someone else’s land; these chareidim feel that now they are no longer in Golus and are now the “Baale batim”.

    9. The Agudath Israel’s statement is reasonably responsible, notwithstanding its lateness. And for that I commend the Agudah.

      Unfortunately, the Agudah’s statement is not written on a clean slate. The Agudath Israel has, in the past, taken positions which have, indirectly if not directly, served as enablement to many of the elements which now have gone out of bounds.

      That said, I do welcome the Agudah’s statement, and hope that it will, to whatever degree, cool down this feeding frenzy.

      • the agudah uses 4 sentences to condemn,the strongest wording being “beyond the bounds of decent moral jewish behavior’ and then 5 paragraphs to point the finger at everybody else. this is hardly a strong message.it’s politically correct,not calling the behavior disgusting,horrible etc and then basically saying but everyone else is so much worse.

    10. Sure took them long enough to figure out in which direction the wind was blowing, but they still can’t get away from blaming the media.

      Notice how they try to minimize the problem by insisting on the lunatics being a tiny minority?

      Aren’t these the same chachomim who blasted the bloggers for reporting on the Kolko mess, claiming they have the situation under control, they know how to deal with suspected abuse better than anyone and the bloggers were making a big deal out of one case that slipped thru the cracks, while anyone with eyes and a brain knows the yeshivos are running out of room under the carpet?

    11. The statement is so diluted and, frankly, hard to read. The message is lost with all the political correctness and excess verbiage. Can’t the Agudah just make a plain, simple, direct and straight condemnation without going into a whole unwieldy lecture about secular Israelis, tznius and all other crises. A simple direct approach has far greater effect than these verbose overwrought statements.

    12. It’s sad that our rabbinic leaders need the media to push them before making these declarations, and that they don’t feel a moral obligation to do so beforehand.

    13. A day like this was expected to arrive. Aguda has openly hated the modern orthodox for years, and now they’re getting their just desserts. They try to cover it up with a bunch of double talk.

    14. To politely tell a person that “this is a mehadrin bus, you are all welcome but please respect our stipulations for using this bus”, i don’t see why this is a crime worthy of imprisonement without trial for prolonged amounts of time, and i sincerely hope it will eventually be prosecuted and there will be no leniency toward those responsible for this disregard for justice and abuse of the system to vent their feelings of hatred towards chareidim.

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