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Once Upon a Time in Sheikh Jarrah

Either it’s all in their mind or police officers in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah give a disproportionate dose of force to ultra-left protesters than those fighting for the Jewish claim to the neighborhood.
A few Jewish families moved into the Palestinian area recently, causing the eviction of a few permanent Palestinian residents.

Avner Inbar is a left-wing activist, he claims:

“The police are calling us outlaws and anarchists, despite the fact that the crowd here is mostly composed of professors from the Hebrew University and Jerusalemite teens who sing protest songs to the sound of drums.”

The peacenik continued:

“While the officers suppress our protests, sometimes violently, haredim and settlers riot unhindered in the neighborhood and attack Palestinian residents – sometimes to the point at which they require medical treatment.”

Complained Inbar:

“Jerusalem Police see themselves as the operating arm of the settlers in east Jerusalem, and this conduct harms the police’s credibility.”


Sarah Beninga another ultra-left activist was detained for more than 36 hours in a holding cell, she tells her story:

“I was standing next to an ultra-Orthodox family that had entered the neighborhood and the officers just jumped on me and took me to their car. I didn’t push anyone or do anything…I found myself undergoing a strip search and handing over all of my personal belongings,”

she said.

“The sheets in the holding cell were dirty, and when I asked for a blanket I got a wet one. I wasn’t treated like a human being, but like a criminal.”

She contrasted the treatment which she received to that received by the haredi Intel protestors:

“The haredim who protested at Intel torched garbage cans violently and without permits, but almost no one was arrested.”

This is what a police spokesperson had to say:

“In recent weeks leftists and anarchists have held illegal protests that disturbed the peace time and again. The protestors tried to break into Jewish homes, blocked roads, and attacked Jewish passersby and police officers…Officers arrested a few dozen protestors when they refused to respond to calls to disperse. They were brought before a court and released after indictments were filed against them. Law enforcement will continue without discrimination, and no violations will be allowed in Sheikh Jarrah or anywhere else.”

Shame Shame

Starving children, constant rioting, what’s next? What COULD be next? Jerusalem’s haredi neighborhood has found another way to offend their comrades…who they refuse to admit as being such.

Private investigators of the Education Ministry have revealed that several ultra-orthodox schools in the holy city have enrolled students who are probably fictitious.

The Education Ministry of the State of Israel provides elementary schools an annual sum of NIS 6,000 (about $1,597) per student. An inquiry showed that Haredi schools in Jerusalem were registering children affiliated with the Eda Haredit, who do not acknowledge the State of Israel and whose children do not attend its establishments. Altogether millions of shekels have been stolen from the government.

The Eda Haredit admitted that they may know something of the phenomenon but refused to cooperate with Israeli investigators.

“We are not interested in dealing with the State of Israel’s losses…it’s not our problem. We solve our problems in our courts.”

Satmar KinderlachThe Eda Haredit are the ones, by the way, who have refused to accept Intel’s compromise about keeping their Jerusalem factory open on Shabbat but not employing Jewish workers and are therefore responsible for embarrassing dangerous and needless demonstrations – just don’t torch any parked cars you guys!

If there was once a portion of the hard-working Israeli soul which felt guilty for being less religiously observant than the Haredim or for showing up in the holy land at a later era, these sentiments may be put to rest. When the State’s religious core has become almost the greatest example of vanishing morals in the entire country, we may as well reassert our values and our hearts.

More Clashing of Worlds in Jerusalem

Despite some violence and 1,500 ultra-Orthodox protesters, shouting”Shabes! Shabes!” Intel Corp. says that it has no plans of closing down their chip making factory in the industrial zone of Har Hotzvim on Shabbat.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSThe protests were sparked by Intel’s opening of a new facility near the ultra-orthodox area; the company has operated on Saturday’s for more than twenty years, and plans to continue to do so.

Intel is one of Israel’s biggest corporate supporters. They first opened a plant in Haifa in 1974 and in Jerusalem in 1984. By the year 2000, they employed more than 4000 Israelis.

Most businesses in Jerusalem close down for the Sabbath and those which stay open tend not to be located near haredi neighborhoods. There has always been tension in Jerusalem between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up one third of the city’s population. Well starting last year, things began to get worse. First, voters elected a secular mayor to replace the ultra-Orthodox incumbent, and then City Hall decided to open a municipal parking lot on Shabbat near the Meah Shearim neighborhood. These instances have been the cause of much controversy and violence over the last year, occasionally splashing onto the headlines.

What we have here dear readers is a “failure to communicate” as Paul Newman once put it in “Cool Hand Luke.” Who is right and who is wrong? This is a mere reflection of the case of the disappearing public sphere in the Jewish Country. There needs to a modifier, a common law to entice both sides to come together. It should be the blending of ancient Torah values, with modern Zionist vision; and an effective change of attitude should start in school.

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