Is Israel Headed Towards Religious Civil War?

A small sampling from what’s appearing in the Israeli media today:

from The Jerusalem Post:

Ultra-Orthodox protest ‘incitement’ and ‘hatred’

Approximately 1,500 ultra-Orthodox men gathered at Shabbat Square in the capital’s Geula neighborhood on Saturday night to protest what they called the “oppression” and “incitement” of the “secular community” against them.

Dozens of men wore yellow Stars of David on their jackets with the word “Jude” in the center, and banners bearing slogans such as “Zionists are not Jews” and “Zionism is racism” were paraded at the rally.


Minister: Haredi Shoah display ‘insane’

Minister Yossi Peled, a Holocaust survivor, could not believe his eyes when he saw the pictures from the ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood on Saturday night.

“I admit that some things are inconceivable, like taking the horrifying picture of the little boy facing the Nazis with his hands up. Regardless of whether the struggle is justified or not, this points to something insane, irrational, immoral,” he told Ynet on Sunday morning.


New Law Would Prohibit Use of Nazi’s Yellow Star

A new law prohibiting the “Nazi” curse and the cynical use the Nazi’s yellow star for Jews will be introduced in the Knesset …

“We were witness last night to a cynical act and disparagement from the same extremists that spit on children and curse soldiers simply because they are women,” …

an opinion piece from YNet:

The year of the majority

The year 2011 may have been the year where Israel’s majority emerged from its longtime stupor, but maybe not so. At this time, the majority is stretching its loose muscles and feeling its arms and legs to ensure they’re all there, while trying to focus its gaze. This awakening is hesitant. The majority suddenly noticed, at a great delay, that it is being screwed.

Who’s doing the screwing? The Netanyahu coalition, which formulated a cynical deal with stubborn minorities and radical margins: Settlers of a certain ilk who took over key posts and state budgets, thereby preventing any chance of regional reconciliation. Haredim, not all of course, who milk the public coffers, live at the majority’s expense, and at the same time try to dictate a primitive lifestyle to it. A handful of corrupt functionaries and their associates, who were granted mafia-like protection by the government against the police and prosecution. And yes, several monopolies and sophisticated tycoons who exploited the situation for the sake of making inflated profits.


updated 3:00 PM IST: Every Sunday Israel’s Cabinet meets and the Prime Minister opens with remarks. Today’s opening statement made no mention of last night’s rally, or any of the issues leading up to it.

updated 5:55 PM IST: According to the officially issued Cabinet Communique, neither last night’s demonstration, nor any of the related issues from the past week, were discussed during today’s Cabinet meeting.

updated January 2nd:

YU Student Rachel Delia Benaim writing in The Jerusalem Post:

An open letter to the Shabbat Square protesters

“Although I do not practice Judaism the same way you do (I believe that science and Torah complement one another, and as a young woman I try to straddle both the secular and religious worlds), I used to respect you, and in a way, I always will. I respect your way of life, and your observance of Judaism in the way you interpret as most pure.

The latest news from Israel, however, has forced me to call your entire interpretation of Judaism into question. Moreover, I have been forced to question your connection to the Jewish people.

Your overflowing hatred, your misguided protests and your active embarrassment of Israel in the international media brings me to tears.”