What makes this post different?
- It’s not about any topic I’ve mentioned before.
- I’ve always avoided politics and this is political, although all the political parties, as far as I know, are on the same side.
- By writing it, I admit that my country is not perfect. (More about that below.)
This is an important issue, one that needs to be talked about and tackled. So I’m doing my bit. For those of you who don’t live here, I want to make two things clear:
- Most of the ultra-orthodox Jews are against this behaviour.
- Segregated buses run on specific routes and usually there are regular buses on the same routes. I’ve never ridden on one. No one polices the segregation; it is done by mutual consent.
Now read this.
This problem is at least as old as the state. Successive governments have turned a blind eye to it and let it mushroom, giving in to demands of the ultra-orthodox in return for support in other areas.
Why is it hard for me to admit that Israel is less than perfect? After all, no country is perfect. Why should Israel be any different? Because, when you feel the world is against you and believes all the lies that are bandied about, you want to counteract that with the good things, of which there are many.
I expect to be back to normal in my next post.
11 replies on “This post is unlike all the others”
Hi Miriam, reading this was shocking.
As an outsider (in many profound ways) I was unaware of this. It is both a shock and somehow unsurprising too. I came from a society polarized and divided, riven by tribal intolerance and religious bigotry that resulted in one of the longest civil wars of recent times. Many who could not tolerated it left and have never returned. This mass exodus left the most extreme or the most apathetic behind but it also left the extremists largely unchallenged. This prolonged the war and left a society still deeply divided and distrustful, that constantly simmers on the brink of violence. The views of the rational middle ground are swamped by the loud violent extremists on either pole. I wrote an 8 part series of novels exploring the political, political, personal and social consequences of the political expediency and collusions that so corrupted the society and which went largely unchallenged at the time. The murky espionage that went unreported is now slowly being exposed and remains a potent political weapon. Like the ‘Sword of Damocles’ it hangs over the British and Irish politicians keen to keep the evil doings of their predsesors hidden. It is used by one side to exert undue influence over the other.
Collusion and choosing not to confront the extremes in our societies always returns in this way to haunt future generations.
We must confront those who would bully with violence and intolerance. Reason must be held above religious or tribal belief and fear must be faced. Other wise the extreme poles will silence the rational middle ground. Violence, both actual and verbal, are the tools extremist use to silence those who would restrain their excess. Clothing this intolerance in religious garb of whatever hue is often an effective protection for these forces.
Crying ‘racist’ or ‘bigot’ or ‘atheist’ or ‘Zionist’ or ‘infidel’ or ‘unclean’ or any of the other labels used to sweep away criticism aimed at religious fundamentalist is too often effective as a deflection mechanism for these elements.
We must be brave and risk such epithets. We must challenge by all means at our disposal. Otherwise they win and the result is always a deeply unhealthy society filled with fear and distrust.
Well done Miriam and apologies for the length of this rant!
Thank you, David. I think the content justifies the length.
Came across this article which is also quite illuminating:
Thanks, Gill. That article provides a good, detailed explanation. I’m not sure about the term “physically accost” though. To me, it implies hitting or manhandling. They would never do that to a female; they wouldn’t even touch her.
That’s true, Miriam, it is rather misleading but I don’t think the term accost necessarily implies any physical contact; it’s defined as to approach and confront someone aggressively, to call to, shout to, hail, address, speak to, detain, stop, or waylay with hostility or harmful intent. So it would seem to be quite possible to physically accost someone without requiring any actual physical contact.
It is certainly wrong to stand by and do nothing but it’s heartbreaking to think that Jews might soon be fighting against Jews. We should all be supporting each other. There’s too much fighting in this world and not enough real care for one another. You’re quite right to speak out. We all need to be political occasionally or we will get walked upon.
I applaud your courage in standing up against the behavior of the ultra-Orthodox men in your society who have chosen to become abusers. Am I surprised? Not at all.
I’m hoping not to offend you, but I do not believe in god. As an atheist who reads a lot of science journals, I have just found no proof in his existence. I think it is sad that there are ppl who decide to live a life believing in a thing that has not one shred of proof as to its existence and then use that belief to destroy and intimidate others.
But, it’s been going on for thousands of years. This is only the latest example of it. Religion is responsible for the most barbaric acts in human history. And it will continue to be so, mostly because humans for the most part cannot live without it.
No, you haven’t offended me. I don’t want to go into my views on religion here, but I will say that, in my view, religion is not usually responsible, although it’s nearly always the excuse. If there were no religion, other excuses for violence would be found.
This was given quite wide media coverage in Australia. Where I live the Jewish community is almost invisible. I don’t think there are any ultra-Orthodox even at the conservative synagogue. (Certainly on the two occasions I have attended services there I have not observed any.) The Jewish people I know here are upset by this, first because they believe such behaviour is not just wrong but very wrong and second because they believe that some in our community will choose to believe that this is the way all Jewish people behave.
I try to explain that these people are behaving in a similar manner to the members of another very small, very rigid and exclusive (“Christian”) sect here. It in no way excuses their behaviour but it does give people a parallel they can – sort of – understand. I just find it inutterably sad that people can do this to people.
Yes. I’ve seen a figure of 10% of the population mentioned. But actually the percentage of people who support such behaviour is much, much lower.