from Forecast Highs:
So what set off the latest Haredi riots in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh? This time it wasn’t immodest dress by little religious girls. It wasn’t even the threat to open a Jerusalem parking lot on Saturday. It wasn’t anything to do with religious coercion or secular coercion or anything of the sort.
So what did happen?
It turns out that six Haredim were arrested for allegedly running a massive charity scam for the past decade. While the charges against the men have yet to be formed into an indictment, the police say that the six men employed dozens of employees and operated charities under various names, including “the widow and orphan foundation,” “the national council for troubled families” or “good deed foundation” and other such noble causes. This gang of alleged thieves swindled tens of millions of dollars from Israeli and American Jews, who gave from the bottom of their hearts to what they thought were worthy charities. The thieves, instead of actually helping orphans, widows and the needy, pocketed the money, and spread it amongst their families and acquaintances.
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Haredim came out to riot on Sunday against the “brutal assault on the holy sages of Jerusalem.” They came out to protest the arrest of the thieves with the same fervor they have been protesting what they call religious desecration and immodest dress. Why? Because their source of money was abruptly stopped. Because the men who brought them regular non-taxable ‘donations’ were suddenly behind bars. Their ATM was shut, the money stopped. And when you don’t work for a living, and you rely solely on state handouts, the little extra cash you get every month from other sources is vital.
… One of the ringleaders arrested was a chief aide to a top eda haredit rabbi. So did the rabbi know what his aide was up to? Was the rabbi in on it too? These kinds of questions are heresy in the eyes of the eda haredit.
… The leader of the eda haredit went on radio this morning, saying that his movement does not recognize the law of the state of Israel, its policemen, or its judges. Only the rabbis and the Torah rule. You can often hear eda haredit spokespeople say “we answer only to a higher law, not the law of the land…”
… There is a double challenge here: the mainstream ultra-Orthodox leadership, if they can be found, must start putting their house in order. The minority is running roughshod not only over the country as a whole, but primarily over the haredi community itself. The chief rabbinate must go down to Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh and knock some sense into these people.