Israel, Sex & Gender

Black Hats Set Jerusalem Ablaze

You might have heard about the riots engulfing Jerusalem this week as the city’s ultra-Orthodox population vents its rage leading up to Friday’s Demonstration for Pride and Tolerance (aka, the Gay Parade).
Sadly, the virtues many of us learned in Jew School – such as tolerance, pluralism and respect for “the other” – are too much for Jerusalem’s holy homophobes to handle. We should note that most of the men setting dumpsters on fire, blocking roads, and pelting pedestrians with stones, don’t have much else to do on a day-to-day basis. As ultra-Orthodox men, few of them hold jobs, pay taxes, or serve in the army, like every other Israeli. Their “job” is the Torah, whose message of peace and respect for all human beings has been quite lost on them.
This week, the “eternal capital of the Jewish people” is filled with posters offering $5,000 for anyone who murders a homosexual. The Council of Rabbis in Judea and Samaria, a settler movement rabbinic body, plans a prayer rally atop the Temple Mount on Thursday morning in response to the “menacing plot” hatched by Jerusalem gays. Most excitingly, Rabbis of the “Pulsa D’nura” (“Blows of Fire”) sect are gearing up for a kabbalistic ceremony in which unearthly powers will be unleashed against the city’s gays. What would Madonna say about this flagrant misuse of Kabbalah?
Orthodox Jerusalem’s animosity for all things under the rainbow is nothing new, and it’s not limited to preventing an annual display of tolerance and diversity. The campaign against gays in Jerusalem comes from City Hall itself, where Mayor Uri Lupolianski has done everything in his power to prevent the gay community from even caring for itself.
Several months ago, Israel’s Supreme Court forced Lupolianski and his cronies to release mandatory cultural funding to the Jerusalem Open House, the city’s gay community center. The Open House’s “sins” include providing support to gay teens (known to face higher suicide rates), reaching out to gay Palestinian men and women (the only organization in the region to do so), and building awareness of the unique healthcare challenges faced by gays and lesbians.
Fortunately for Israeli democracy, the Attorney General and Supreme Court have upheld the Jerusalem Open House’s right to hold Friday’s demonstration. Thousands of black-clad thugs hoped to intimidate national leaders into canceling the event; however, their terrorist tactics and gross display of homophobic hate will likely have a boomerang effect. “Middle Israel” has long been disenchanted with the excessive power over civil affairs wielded by Israel’s relatively small religious parties. This week’s hate orgy is but a small taste of what Israel could become if these anti-democratic forces go unchecked (namely, Iran).
To many people’s surprise, Israeli law is years ahead of the US in terms gay rights and anti-discrimination measures. Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem’s behavior this week does not reflect the sentiment of your average Israeli, committed to freedom of expression and a “live and let live” mentality. This “silent majority” must take decisive action to make sure Israel lives up to Judaism’s highest values. This week, “religious” men set those values ablaze with each dumpster they torched in our Holy City.
Visit Matt’s blog at mattlebovic.blogs.friendster.com.

17 thoughts on “Black Hats Set Jerusalem Ablaze

  1. “We should note that most of the men setting dumpsters on fire, blocking roads, and pelting pedestrians with stones, don’t have much else to do on a day-to-day basis.”
    If studying Talmud, Midrash, Chumash and raising their kids is nothin’…than yeah, they ain’t doing much.
    Now WE on the other hand have much more important things to do. Y’know, surfing porn, playing on-line games, x-box, listening to hip-hop, posting on blogs, dropping $60 on a hipster tee…yes, we’re contributing much more to humanity with out leisurly pursuits. Of course, I have no doubt that all yee enlightened Jewschooler’s don’t do these things…I mean, y’ere all too busy advocating for gay rights and stuff.

  2. Streimel, if the end result of all the torah is this violent and destructive behavior, then they should have closed the books, read the port, played the billionth game of spider solitaire, bought the T-shirt.
    Aside form the fact that you’re making unfair generalizations about the people reading this site, what I’m doing doesnt make me go out and hurt people.
    If their hours of study has only made them hurt people, they havent actually learned torah. At least not any torah I want to learn.

  3. The fundamental difference between the rabbis and the sages, and these black-hatted hooligans, is that the rabbis and the sages had day-jobs. The Talmud is thus steeped in the language of the various trades they plied. Maimonides asserted that one should spend 8 hours working at a trade, 8 hours studying torah, and eight hours sleeping. These men who spend all their time studying Torah miss the point – Torah is supposed to be applied to the real world.

  4. “As ultra-Orthodox men, few of them hold jobs, pay taxes, or serve in the army, like every other Israeli” thats pure bigotry those are the same things that whites say about blacks in this country I think your ignorant to streotype all ultra orthodox that way you of all people as a liberal should know better

  5. It’s about time the Jewish people have recognized and accepted the truth that a cult of rightwing religious fanatics has set loose gangs of street thugs in a declaration of war against the democracy of the State of Israel. The problem is that Israel, in a horrible Faustian bargain, has given extraordinary and unwarranted special privileges to the far Right, subsidizing their schools, exempting them from taxes and military service, and – incredibly –giving them a monopoly on the such fundamental civil functions as birth, marriage, and death. Enough. Goddamn it, ENOUGH. Let them start producing something for a fucking change instead of feeding off the labor of those who work for a living, and perhaps they’ll have less time to worry about who other people fuck in the privacy of their bedrooms.
    Of course, there will always be apologists whose fanaticism justifies the most egregious acts of violence and social deviance. In expressing the view that terrorism is a perfectly valid way of shaping the political process, Streimel sneers,
    Why If studying Talmud, Midrash, Chumash and raising their kids is nothin’…than yeah, they ain’t doing much. Now WE on the other hand have much more important things to do. Y’know, surfing porn, playing on-line games, x-box, listening to hip-hop, posting on blogs, dropping $60 on a hipster tee…yes, we’re contributing much more to humanity with out leisurly pursuits.
    Funny, I don’t remember the part of the Midrash that focused on spraying women with bleach, committing arson or assaulting cops and bystanders. But I guess the consuming hatred of gays, of liberals, of Muslims, and of every other enemy of the far Right can be used to justify about anything. It’s about time we took back out religion and our country.

  6. Seriously, it might be time to start shutting down these yeshivot and forcing their members into various compulsary work-force projects. Everyone here knows, full-well, a huge majority of heradim do *not* support Israeli democracy. Let’s recognize them for the true 5th Column they represent, and start dealing with them as such.
    Their hate must be stopped. To ignore it merely means, in due time, they’ll be setting even more cities on fire with their rabid, animalist-style hate.
    They are, clearly, the antithesis of the Zionist dream and must be dealt with appropriately and constructively.
    [email protected]

  7. It’s nice to see Jews standing up to other Jews. I hope the Haredim don’t get the same message as you’ve been sending the arabs about prayer rights at the temple mount, which is “if you want our cooperation, kill somebody”.

  8. missyaicha,
    Ah, yes, I feel so chastened now; I guess you must be those intrepid, clear-thinking “centrists,” floating above the fray, tut-tut-tutting as the nasty extremists stake out a position on the ground and attribute responsibility for the fact that sections of Jerusalem are burning to the goddamn ground. I sure wish I were as moderate, as temperate, and pure and reasonable as you and Rodney King, as you gaze down upon us and earnestly ask, “Can’t we all just get along?”
    Though I envy your cool detachment, there’s no sense in denying that, sadly, the less steadfast among us are destined to be ruled by our baser passions. And just think: not only do you get keep clean and dry, but, at the end of the day, no matter whose blood is running in the streets, you get to tell us, “See, I told you so.”
    Rob,
    it might be time to start shutting down these yeshivot and forcing their members into various compulsary work-force projects.
    Compulsory work-force projects? There’s nothing compulsory about them. Unless you want to eat, that is. In that case, yes, such “compulsory” work is quite a bitch. But rest assured, you get used to it after the first 20 years or so. Time to start shutting down these yeshivot? By no stretch of the imagination. Unless, of course, you’re referring to the monstrous persecution of forcing them to keep them open with their own damn money. Just like everyone else. It’s difficult for me to locate the particular horror in that state of affairs. Moreover, that proposal has an additional salutary effect as well. To wit, when people are required to use their own hard-earned wages to maintain their educational institutions, they tend to be a bit less casual about burning down the property of others.

  9. Rob and missyaicha,
    Oh, and I have to aplologize to either of both of you if your observations were not sarcastic, as I obviously assumed. The intensity of my opposition to those supporting the rioters is the same, but I shouldn’t have automatically attributed that position to you, without first being sure.

  10. David…you’re so busy frothing at the mouth, you’re taking swipes at your own kind. Not unlike someone who hates gay people (we’d suggest they’re closet homosexuals), are you my friend a closet Satmar Chassid?

  11. i’m positive that had they made the parade in tel aviv, there would be alot less roiting if any. anyhow they did move the parade. that may be the proof that violence may be the answer. sometimes. i dont care what a person does in his own bedroom, but who asked him to go parade about in the streets? of JERUSALEM? imagine they tried this in the vatican. mecca? well, they had this coming and in a way they deserve it. maybe next time they’ll think twice about parading in a city, holy to three greatest religions.

  12. Streimel,
    Yes, I suppose that taking swipes at “my own kind” might well identify me as closet charedi, except for the fact that I’ve neither issued any statements calling for the murder of my political opponents, nor roamed the streets myself looking for prey. Among the fundamental principles that “my kind” follows are adherence to the rule of law, even the ones we really don’t like, and an unyielding opposition to thugs and religious fanatics who try to overthrow democracy by force.
    missyaicha: thanks, but no, I generally find my own presrciption quite adequate, even if it seems to have been working poorly yesterday.
    jacob said,
    i dont care what a person does in his own bedroom, but who asked him to go parade about in the streets? of JERUSALEM? imagine they tried this in the vatican. mecca?
    Do they still teach anything like “social studies” or “civics” in the fourth grade anymore? Are you actually oblivious to the fact that Israel is a democracy? It couldn’t be any more simple: If you maintain that Israel is superior to Saudi Arabia, it is then incoherent to compare the two based on the lack of civil rights in the latter.
    If we’d like to retain the distinction between Jerusalem and Mecca,
    it may well be time to stop focusing quite so much on the Ismalo-fascists, and start worrying about the antics of the Torah Totalitarians.

  13. And Jacob, you should know that they have had a parade in Tel Aviv EVERY YEAR for at least the past 15 years… but somehow the haredi didn’t care so much then. And, for the record, this was to have been the FOURTH pride march in Jerusalem. This is not a new phenomenon. And why should the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered residents of Jerusalem have to go somewhere else to be accepted? If residents of your hometown suddenly started protesting against you, would you just quietly leave?

  14. Who are your minds conformed by??? Hollywood, the Talmud or Torah? You judge yourself…for now, don’t forget that life is just a blink and you will personally be judged for your rejection of the King of Kings and His ways….No Terror by the independant hand of man, G-d will enforce His wrath on the workers of iniquity. Just wait ………….HE ALWAYS HAS!

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