Deri Says Chareidim Must Develop Better PR, Debunks Myths About Chareidim


deriFormer Shas chairman Aryeh Deri said Thursday that the chareidi sector needed better PR, in light of a secular campaign criticizing its small representation in the workforce. Responding to a secular attack on the chareidi work ethic led by journalists Gabi Gazit and Yair Lapid, Deri recommended a chareidi research facility be established in order to prove the claims wrong.

 “Charedi objectors are using efficient combat methods against us while we respond with combat methods from a generation or two ago,” he said in an interview with Sha’ah Tovah.

 “Instead of crying out ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘racism’ – which are unperceivable claims – we need to give a positive answer.” Deri added that an academic research center was needed in order to “present the true data.”

Deri added that he did not believe the statistical reports on which the claims were based, because much of the research was conducted by hostile agents and presented “in a manner that induces fear of charedim.”

 He said the chareidi research facility could present data on the number of jobs held by charedim at companies such as Tara, Tnuva, Strauss, and Osem.

“Has anyone checked the profits we provide cabin and hotel owners with? While the seculars go to Turkey, charedim turn to local tourism which provides for dozens of people throughout Israel,” he said.

Deri added that the research should also check charedi spending on supermarket products such as food, baby food, and diapers. “And who has checked how many charedi Jews from abroad – the US, France, and England – buy apartments in Israel and provide for its citizens?” he asked.

The former Shas chairman also answered criticism about anti-Israeli chareidi behavior, such as flag-torching and walking during the Memorial Day siren, calling these “phenomena that create problems.”

 He said the charedim who study Torah instead of working are only those “belonging to Shevet Levi.”

“Their studies actually save Israel and protect it, but not everyone gets to be part of Shevet Levi,” he said.

 Deri went on to say that yeshiva students were “the people of Israel’s Sayeret Matkal” (referring to the elite IDF unit) and that he was proud to represent them.

 But he was forgiving towards the secular leaders critical of his sect, such as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. “He may really be concerned. To my mind he is a serious man. It seems he is expressing a fear that was ingrained in him and that someone has nurtured,” Deri said.

When asked whether the secular public had anything to fear he answered, “I promise them that when we are the majority and the regime is in ourhands, we will be more democratic than they are towards us.”

Deri added, “The oppression that exists today is not religious but anti-religious.” In his vision of the future, he said, no one would tell anyone else how to live.

“The change will be in public. Education will not be charedi, but more Jewish. We want to tell you: we will not damage your lifestyle, and you will run your private lives any way you wish, but the character of the public sphere will be more Jewish.”

 {Ynet/Yair Israel}


  1. FINALLY finally a word of truth spoken. PR is so essential, let it be known the chesed, generosity of the torah community. Bash the flag and tire burnings who assault police and service providers..
    Wake up and realize that there are problem to be dealt with and we are ready, able and willing to deal with them. Show warmth and pleasantness to each other and to ‘outsiders’.