The Matzav Shmooze: Protests Do More Harm Than Good

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israel-police-yerushalayim-hafganahDear Editor,

I was dismayed when I read reports and saw pictures on Matzav of the protests in Israel this week. Let me be clear on one thing: I definitely do not support throwing yeshiva bochurim in jail for avoiding the army! Yet I believe the protests yesterday will end up doing more harm than good in this regard.

As frum Jews, I’m sure we all believe that people learning Torah is just as important to the safety of our homeland as the army is. Yet we must bear in mind that a huge part of the Israeli population is not made up of frum Jews, and they don’t see things the same way. We must try to bridge the gaps and come to some mutual respect. I know this is very difficult, as there are opinions already ingrained on both sides. Having protests and demonstrations is fine – when done properly.

Let’s look at the Atzeres Tefillah which took place recently. Hundreds of thousands of frum Jews attended. There was no violence whatsoever. It was a huge Kiddush Hashem. Now let’s contrast it with yesterday’s protest. There were people screaming abusive comments at police. Dumpsters were set on fire. Is this how we want people to look at frum Jews? Imagine how a chiloni sees this. Do you think they say, “Wow, look how the chareidim support this person. It must be very important to them!” I highly doubt it. Instead, the reaction is likely, “Ok, here we go again. Lighting fires, throwing things at police… these chareidim are terrible!” The entire message of the demonstration is lost because the focus is on the violence.

We know that deracheha darchei noam – the ways of the Torah are pleasant. Would you say that yesterday’s protest was showing that? When chilonim see the people who supposedly represent Torah acting like that, do you think it brings them closer to the Torah? Or does it just further the divide between us?

Instead of violence, let’s try to bridge the gap. I’ve heard from numerous Rabbonim that while they oppose the government, they have nothing against the soldiers, and are actually very thankful for what the soldiers do. Why not have a campaign to show that? R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l was known to go daven on Mt. Herzel because he held the kevarim of the soldiers were kivrei tzaddikim! Try having an adopt-a-soldier program, where yeshiva bochurim would each adopt a soldier that the merit of their learning would protect. While the soldiers might not think it actually does anything, I believe they’d still be appreciative of the gesture. How many chareidi yeshivos/shuls say a mi shebeirach for the soldiers on Shabbos? Why not start saying it? It says nothing about the government in it. It’s a tefillah for Hashem to protect the soldiers.

If the chareidim show their support for the soldiers of the IDF, it would go a long way to bridging the gap between the two sides. Definitely a lot more than lighting dumpsters on fire.

Daniel F.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

19 COMMENTS

  1. Well, it would be great not to have a mass of black & White people, who know the proper balance of things, but the multitude isn’t that way.

  2. Thank you for the first comment towards respect to wards those who risk their lives daily to protect Eretz Yisrael and all the Jews world wide.

  3. And what concessions do you suggest that the chilonim make? Oddly enough, you failed to mention any. I’m sure you just ran out of space…

  4. The Atzeres Tefilla in NY was perceived as a Chillul HaShem in may communities. I know because that is what many of my friends accused me of after I returned from there. Let`s not forget most of Queens, Teaneck , The West Side, Upper East Side. Many parts of Flatbush and other places did not attend.
    I feel the locals feel that if these work in E”Y then they should continue

  5. Well said, Daniel.
    Everything you’ve said -mamash be’duv ta’am vada’at.
    I agree 100% and I hope others will as well.
    Hazak U’baruch.

  6. say the Mishberach for the Chayalim on Shabbos. If they don’t like the current text that is in use, they can write another. This would go a long way to proving the Hakoras Hatov we have for the young men and women who put themselves in harms way and their lives on the line to protect Am Yisroel.

  7. Absolutely. I love the adopt a soldier idea, it makes it clear that we believe what we are doing protects Israel.
    Also, if they can’t go to the army because it’s bitul Torah, they can’t go to protests for the same reason. I think they shoudl move whole batei medrash to sit outside the jail and learn.

  8. That you for the (mostly) positive feedback.

    To #5: I didn’t write about concessions by the chilonim because they shouldn’t be necessary for people to do what is right. My point was that if the chareidi Jews in Israel helped to bridge the gap, the concessions would end up coming down the road.

    I once heard from R’ Avigdor Miller zt”l that the best way to change your enemy into your friend is to love him. When someone loves you, you can’t help but reciprocate. If the chareidim show love instead of violence, things would get better.

    To #6: True, the gedolim called from protests – but did they call for dumpsters to be lit on fire, or for people to yell at police officers, calling them Nazis? I’m sure if you asked the Rabbonim if it was ok, they’d say no!

    Oh, and by the way, my name is not Danny. It’s Daniel (with the Hebrew pronunciation!)

    To #7: Are the protests in Israel working? Have things gotten better there yet? I don’t think so…

  9. “As frum Jews, I’m sure we all believe that people learning Torah is just as important to the safety of our homeland as the army is.”

    You are a kofer. Learning Torah is way more important than the army. It is Hashem who fights our wars not guns tanks and planes!!!

  10. #13,#15, #16

    Yes, it sure worked with our previous oppressors , for example: nazis,….

    #7

    Remain unfazed by them
    (as the verse states “He who calls ‘Good : bad’ “)

  11. “R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l was known to go daven on Mt. Herzel because he held the kevarim of the soldiers were kivrei tzaddikim! ”

    The source of this story is nebulous.
    As his sons have said “We heard what our father REALLY held,behind closed doors”

    “Try having an adopt-a-soldier program, where yeshiva bochurim would each adopt a soldier that the merit of their learning would protect. ”

    How about the other way around!
    Let each soldier adopt-a-bochur to protect!

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