Op-Ed: Israel Has Bigger Problems – The Truth Behind the Recent Tumult in Israel


yerushalayimBy Chagai Segal

During  the eight days of Chanukah, three people were murdered in Israel and the murder of a child killed on the eve of the chag was solved. A resident of the northern “triangle area” was gravely wounded by assassins. Terrorists fired at an Israeli vehicle in Samaria.

Elsewhere, Kassam missiles exploded in Gaza-region communities. Seven Jewish girls reported that they were abducted by Bedouins. Meanwhile, the massacre of civilians by their leaders near our northern border continued.

Yet nonetheless, most attention here on Chanukah was dedicated to an eight-year-old girl spat on by a local idiot.

The prime minister delivered two impassioned speeches against the spitting, the president expressed his presidential disgust, and even the IDF chief of staff was indirectly required to address the issue.

The main headline of Lieutenant General Benny Gantz’s holiday interview with Army Radio did not deal with the Iranian issue or the Gaza problem, but rather, with the singing of women. The news about the boosted defense budget was cast aside in favor of two female soldiers who were prevented from singing solo during a Chanukah party.

For a moment, the impression that was created is that military bands are the essence of the Israel Defense Force’s existence.

Ladies and gentleman, you got carried away. The inflated preoccupation with the phenomenon of women’s exclusion does not only constitute a wild exaggeration and a cynical distortion of our priorities, it is also a lethal boomerang.

The ultra-Orthodox community suspects that the major campaign against women’s exclusion is not premised on frank concern for women, but rather on deep hatred for charedim. Hence, instead of developing anger at the violent minority within it, the charedi community is developing a feeling of collective persecution. It feels that there is no point in protesting against the radicals, because in any case the outside world despises the radicals and the moderates equally.

Regrettably, this is not a case of paranoia. The incidents of women’s exclusion are an effective secular means for slamming the charedim, just like the “price tag” acts are a leftist means for slamming the settlers.

In both cases we are dealing with grave phenomena, yet certainly not ones that justify the overwhelming mass emotions of recent days. When one hits a nail with a hammer that is too big, the nail breaks.

{Ynet/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Mr. Segal, I would have agreed with you totally, until last night. That is when I saw photos of hundreds of smiling, laughing chareidim in Kikar Shabbos, wearing yellow stars on their chassidic outfits, and parading their children, dressed in striped concentration camp prison uniforms. That is when I realized that this problem goes much further than “an eight-year-old spat on by a local idiot.” These are extremely sick members of the Orthodox community who will destroy their community from within, and cause destruction in Israeli society in general. The chareidi community most certainly should develop a feeling of persecution, not by the leftist media, but by those of our own who are shattering the ideals by which we live. This will finally prompt us to eradicate this scourge from our midst and show the secularists, leftists, and members of all nations what it really means to be a G-d fearing, Torah observing, “chareidi” Jew.

  2. WOW!!! I just read some of the comments on that Ynet article, my dear Matzav readers the situation is BAD!!!!

    The leftist media has done a great job in painting ALL chareidim as violent extremists who oppress our women.
    And it looks like our non-religious brethren have become deaf to any reasoning which tries to explain away that its only some religious lunatics gone mad who are violent.

    We must wake up FAST and start a counter hasbara campaign before its too late ch”v….

  3. lets face it if theese extreeme fanatical people do this to a 8 year old then they are going to turn on each other when they dont have enemies on the outside

  4. The fundamental mistake in this piece is that the newfangled gender segregation on public buses is STUPID and lacking any Halachik basis.

  5. ok.. you had me going there with your parade of horribles until you wrote: ” Seven Jewish girls reported that they were abducted by Bedouins”
    Really? what does even mean?

  6. To #4 What is your “counter-hasbara” when pictures of women are not printed in frum women’s publications? Artscroll books have pictures of women. Removing them from our women’s magazines is outrageous and is done to copy what is done in Israel.

  7. Let me put my two cents, The Jews were the escape goat of antiquity and it has not change.
    What does Iran has against Israel? Nothing! it just that the discontent of the people always seek an escape goat a reason to escape responsibility.
    Iran has a long History of escapes..as recently as the Shah he was the evil..with the Shah gone…attention went to Iraq, Iraq was the problem, going to a terrible war causing the death of thousands…with Iraq neutralized the attention goes to Israel. Israel the escape of all troubles and discontent…
    In a similar scale inside our own Jewishness they seek escapes ,the Cheredi makes a perfect escape because most are unable to defend themselves from the constant tirades of hate since they barely read the papers of own a TV.
    Its about time that we realize the price and consequences of our loyalty to Hashem, namely that we acting as the conscience of mankind reminding them as well as ourselves the right and the truth. Right and truth are the enemies of mankind constant rebelliousness and DE-facto enemies of Cheredim. As long as our blatant message continues we will have enemies foreign and domestic. That Blatant sound of consciousness is so powerful that causes even a brother like Eisav to hate us forever.
    I think the message is more for us than for them.
    Let us keep the blatant sound of Torah resonance penetrate their hearts.

  8. There seems to be much more than one local idiot.

    We have to live by a higher standard.

    There is a time and a place for everything (including hatred and violence), but the time and place now is for love and kindness, not hatred and violence.

    The final nail on the head of the insanity of these nuts is their mockery of the holocaust. They obviously never went out of their daled amos other than to yell at people. Aren’t there better things to do with time?

    Whoever does not want to be associated with them, better stand up quickly and say something.

  9. I fully agree that there are BIG issues facing klal yisrael. And the problems of extremist crazies yelling at little girls going to school is one of them. While this only made most media outlets in the past week or two, this has been going on since the beginning of the school year and must stop. My mother is deeply involved with this school and has had girls ask her what a zonah is. What is she supposed to answer?

  10. these are the same people that no one stopped when their children threw stones at maran rav eliyashiv.they contnue because neither do their rabbonim or the normal olaim stop them.

  11. Excellent article by Chagai Segal. He hit the nail on the head. Important life/death news is pushed to the side and a mega story is made out of this orchestrated story of the chareidim and the modern orthodox. This has nothing to do with women being denied their rights. This is a religious issue and their business up until now, when of late, out of the thin air, a new cult, sikrikim, a bunch of violent crazies, appeared to menace the chareidi community, thus demonizing the whole community. Who are they? Also, the bus incident was definitely a set-up. Glad the community is waking up to the facts.

  12. Maybe one local idiot was found in Beit Shemesh, but please explain the 1500 disgusting people, dressed as religious Jews who paraded little children dressed in Holocaust depiction. The rally was advocated by Daas Torah?

  13. A really terrible article. It’s cynical and offensive for the author to use the other real problems facing Israel as a way of diverting attention from and excusing the truly awful behavior of the charedim in Beit Shemesh.

    To be persuaded by an article like this, you either have to be not very intelligent or plagued by bias.

  14. No Jack….1500 people did not parade “their” children dressed in holocaust uniform. How many children did you count dressed like that? And do you actually feel that the whole crowd was on their side? No onlookers…everyone there to cheer them on? Wow…wake up and smell the coffee.

  15. Kol HaKavod Rabbi Avrohom

    Let us remember chevrei that (not all but many) secular Israelishave a deep, abiding and passionate hatred for religious Jews.

    It doesn’t matter what these Torah Jews do or don’t do: they are hated just for being. Sound familiar? It should.

    Towns pass laws forbiding the sale of homes to charedim and neither the knesset nor the courts do anything. Israel has a political party — shinui — whose entire platform is to eliminate all influence of Judaism from public life. Israeli Media portrayals of charedim are reminiscent of nazi propoganda including regular calls for Israel to be rid of chareidim (judenrein?) by any means necessary: most recently, this past thursday on ynet, an op-ed calling for “violent civil war” directed against chareidim.

    Perhaps the holocaust analogy is more appropriate than you give credence.

    All this ruckus over a school girl who was ALLEGEDLY spit on is just an excuse; an excuse to rile up the troops in the ongoing war against Torah in Eretz HaKodesh. These holy — yes I said it, HOLY — yidden are on the front lines, defending a Torah way of life with the only tool available to them: protest. We should all stand shoulder to shoulder with them and be mispallel that they should succeed.

    And to those of you “moderates:” you think you will assuage the hatred of the seculars by joining their cries against the “crazies?” You are fools. Once the chiloni c”v rid themselevs of the charedi “problem,” YOU’RE next.

  16. This article and #21 are among the most sane, level-headed responses I’ve read since this whole hullabaloo hit the press.

    The Israeli media has a long history of literally inciting violence against charedim, and a somewhat shorter but still extremely significant history of lashing out in violent terms against anyone it deems a threat to the Leftist worldview, including Netanyahu and the “mitnachalim”.

    I think appropriating the yellow star is nauseating. But the press demonstrates its hypocrisy once again when it can call Netanyahu, settlers and anyone else who defies their Shalom Achshav ideology Nazis, neo-Nazis and fascists, and condemns others who use the same trick.

    Charedim “breed like lice,” it is considered no problem to suggests that charedi men should have their beards tied together and torched in Meah Shearim (yes this was actually said by a prominent media personality a few years back), yet one lone man spits (controversy as to whether it was at the child or the just to the side, which in middos may not make a difference but in the eyes of the law it does) – in a country where spitting is practically an article of conversation, although BH not in our world – and the whole world goes berserk.

    No, spitting is not OK. Violence is not OK. But neither is deliberately, knowingly, and gleefully taking the actions of a few – and the media knows very well that it’s the few – and using it to discredit and deligitimize an entire community.

  17. Unfortunately there is a tremendous problem of Jewish Anti-Antisemitism in Israel.

    Once upon a time it was directed at “the Chareidim” alone. Now it is directed at all Faithful Jews.

    It is apparent that these Anti-Semites seize upon any incident to use as an excuse to “bash” the Ne’Emanei Torah

  18. I think its fair to say that the yellow star ????? while it is very distasteful. It really made the point loud and clear. The — media??????? who have used languge very similar to the nazi. And they’ve also misused the holocaust whether it be regarding the treatment og infiltrators at our borders, or regarding Israeli soldiers acting in self defese. The truth hurts them terribly, and their call for democratic values, are an irony at its best. Seperate buses is fully understandable in a democratic society, if its run by a private company which is whats been asked for all along.
    Sometimes a terrible distastefull episode is whats needed to bring kukus to their senses.

  19. #18 & 22: You are both wrong. Mr. Segal hit the nail on the head and is absolutely right. There is so much happening that pertains to Israel and yet the biggest item in the news in Israel and everywhere was the actions of a crazy cult where their members pose as religious Jews. Demonization of the religious was the goal by the media of this whole episode.