Something appears to be going awry among the ultra orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem. The recent child abuse incident involving a 30 year old Haredi woman suspected of literally starving her three year old son over a two year period to get more attention from him, appears to be yet another incident involving a community who is not only a “culture within a culture” but one that is now trying to exert it’s influence â€“ and even control â€“ over a city that is not only sacred to the Jewish People, but to other religions as well.
The furor that been created, resulting in mass rioting by Haredi Jews, especially those belonging to extreme sects such as the anti-Zionest Toldot Aharon and Neturei Karta sects, who have set themselves apart of the rest of the community and have turned parts of Israel’s capital into a virtual battleground, and is causing widespread disruption to normal life in the city, especially in regards to municipal services.
The woman involved in this latest incident, was detained and later released under house arrest to the home of a prominent Haredi rabbi, was due to undergo psychiatric examinations today to determine her mental ability to face charges for her actions, which have been flatly denied by members of the Eda Haredit groups whose anti-Zionistic extremities may have set back normal relations with Jerusalem municipal authorities “at least 20 years”.
The woman, who is 8 months pregnant, has four other children, whose whereabouts as presently unknown; with speculation that they have been “absorbed” into this community that not only does not recognize the existence of the State of Israel, but often has members seen in photo clips at very unusual places â€“ even posing with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at international anti-Zionest conferences.
Jerusalem in former years used to be city in which both religious and non-religious people seemed to coexist with each other, despite major differences â€“ especially to the observance of the Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. This was especially true under to municipal leadership of Mayor Teddy Kollek, who managed to keep the “pressure cooker” of religious differences from exploding during his long mayoral administration which lasted nearly 3 decades.
More recently, however, secular and even mildly-observant Jews have been leaving Jerusalem and have been replaced by more religious groups, especially Haredi Jews who have moved into many Jerusalem neighborhoods, especially those within reasonable walking distance of the Old City and the Kotel Maaravi or Wailing Wall. This new trend may be the reason why such an uproar has been recently made by Haredi Jews over the parking lot located under the new shopping mall in the Mamilla Quarter, just outside the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. The opening of the parking lot on Shabbat, for use by non-religious Jews and other visitors to the Old City on the weekends, resulted in mass rioting and demonstrations by the extreme Haredi communities in recent weeks.
Why all of this happening, including personal incidents within these extremely closed communities, is bringing more and more attention to groups of extremely religious groups who now appear to be trying to gain an even greater hold on Israel’s capital, as well as bringing attention for people to appear to live under their own moral and even legal codes of conduct, and seem unwilling to act according to legal codes and statutes that have been set up for the benefit of all residents.
How both municipal and even national legal authorities will be able to deal with this apparently growing problem is one that remains to be seen. But most likely, non-religious Jews will continue to make attempts to exert their presence in the capital as well, resulting in further friction among the various groups of residents which make up the cultural and religious mosaic of the city of Jerusalem.