How to Issue a Condemnation of Violence

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stop-violenceBy Rabbi Eliyahu Fink

Thugs and hoodlums from extremist religious groups in Israel have been terrorizing fellow Jews for some time now. They have done so without fear of condemnation or retribution from the religiously adjacent charedi community. This recent wave of violence is not new nor is it shocking or surprising.

Spitting on young girls, calling women whores, forcing segregation at bus stops and on buses are all acts cut from the same cloth as the violence at Manny’s Bookshop and a political beating in Meah Shearim. We’ve known about this for a while. Nobody has said a word.

However, this time the media found out about it. So now it’s national and international news.

This has prompted responses and condemnations from rabbis, rabbinic authorities and lay people. That’s great. Finally. The problem is that these condemnations are so weak, hedged and long-winded that they, in my opinion, are a failure.

There is only one way to condemn violence and abuse towards women. That would be something like this:

We strongly condemn any and all violence towards women under any and all circumstances. Those who commit such acts of violence will feel the full effect and power of the religious and secular court system. They will be excommunicated from all religious circles and are heretofore to be considered persona non grata. If you know of any individuals who have abused anyone, whether verbally or physically notify the police and rabbinic leadership immediately.

What we don’t need is an explanation of how these people are not “real charedim”. We don’t need poetry on the majesty of tznius. We don’t need snide remarks about the secular media. Just speak out against violence, promise retribution and to take action.

Enough with the apologetics and handwringing.

{Fink or Swim/ Newscenter}


  1. the police know exactly whose involved here and have been weak to follow through here. a cheirem will do little to stop those who have their own community.

  2. you are so far off base it’s scary that people like you are around.
    the media knows that there are only a few extremists. they choose toignore this fact and attack all frum jews because they are haters and inciters. writing p[ointless letters will not change anything but will make you look silly.

  3. If you were talking about a reasonable, decent, understanding, and accepting [secular] Israeli public,


    an over-determined unaccepting handful of youngsters in chareidi garb, whom are out to get violent and blow social issues out of proportion at all costs –


    I would be the first person to echo your call,

    provided that:

    the local police and the rabbanim would work together in administering the proper reaction according to Torah law. [In some cases the element of “chilul hasheim” would even warrant MORE strict measures that even Israeli secular law would call for.]

    Tragically however:

    The issue has been blown well out of proportion by the ultra-irreligious Israeli media, and slanted outrageously against chareidi interests in general. There was, by contrast, no outrage several years ago when a secular Israeli youth stabbed to death a passerby who kindly remarked to him that a 100 shekel note had fallen out of his pocket.

    Likewise, there was no public outrage when the Israeli high court of Injustice had pardonned
    a Nazi butcher, despite the incontrovertable evidence against him – including his remark to his attendant upon extradition – “They won’t understand, it was war, I had to do it”, before “changing” his identity.

    In addition, there was no public outrage several months ago when the regional court in Tel Aviv declared that a clear-cut case of manslaughter “was not murder”.

    Likewise, there was no public discalaimer from any known secular source 2 weeks ago, when a woman in Ashdod had entered a seperate seating bus with clear acts aimed at provocation. (And to claim that such bussing arrangements are “illegal” is to pay homage to anti-democratic legislation which is deleberately biased against the added safegaurds of Chazal throughout the generations. [See Sukkah 52:] I will NEVER accept this approach from distorted secularists, who turn democracy upside down to suit their interests.)

    In short: To issue the above statement is to simply play into the hands of the secularists. They are not in any way using fair judgement, and you will only cause their biased approach to re-flare again, chas veshalom. Remember: You may wish to remain resonable always in your approach. Regrettably, – they are incapable of doing so at present, and they will use such a well-intended proclamation to “prove” the validity of their distorted values, r”l.

  4. “We’ve known about this for a while. Nobody has said a word.”

    Nice letter , but the above is simply a FACTUAL INACCURACY.
    Over the past few years the Eida Hacharedis , as well as R’ Moshe Shternbuch personally(among others) has come out against all types of violence.

  5. Y’know what we need? We need to get into our cars and go to Beit Shemesh first thing Sunday morning. They will stand outside the Orot school and greet each child with a warm smile and bracha for hatzlacha in their learning. I think this would be the strongest possible message to these thugs that their position stands contrary to our holy Torah.

    (I feel compelled to add that, even should this somehow happen, I don’t think it will deter these hooligans. They are just wired differently than the rest of us… so sad.)

  6. Easy to condemn when u sit over the ocean and shoot from your keyboard. Its never going to ricochet back to you. Especially when you have got your facts wrong. No one called a lady a zonah (how do you know that word by the way) she was called a “prutza” (immodestly dressed lady) and the girl wasnt spat on, the man spat in disgust next to her which is a common israeli practice.

    No doubt that various so called kanoim ruin the image of the frum society, and violence of any sort is not ok.

    But this is perpetuated way beyond reasonable proportions by the israeli media which is controlled by Left wing post zionists. This is an attempt to topple Netanyahus goverment which is cemented by religious parties. And the frum community is paying the price. Its timed at Kadimas internal primaries (tzipi is running on a Ladies token) and Netanyahu trying to call for early elections due to his current popularity.

    What US Jewry sees is a lone tree, they dont see the whole forest. They dont see the full picture, not even half of it.  

    We have nothing to be embarrassed of collectively and shouldnt be scapegoated for cheap political stunts.  

    PS: dont get me wrong. I dont back the kanoim. I am far away from them. Just I read the political/social map correctly. 

  7. Left wing people and media hate us and always will, and the extremists who are encouraged and embraced by a silent majority will continue to bring down “Kavod Shamayim” on a daily basis.

  8. This is exactly what should be done. Rav Fink is completely right, and I wish that this law would be enforced. The Bnos Hashem Yisborach are being treated horribly by these hooligans. These criminals spit at a little yiddishe tochters, because these men are doing bad and are full of corruption. The majority of Yisroel is yeraim and rachmanim, but these men act like behamos and are not b’nei Avraham Avinu. May Hashem return peace to Yisroel, and may the B’nos Melechim recieve the respect they deserve throughout Eretz HaKodesh.

  9. Numbers 2,3,7,8 and 11 are hitting the nail right on the head.

    People who live in chutz la’Aretz and don’t live the dynamics have a much harder time understanding this.

    This is not about the truth. This is about a media starving for negative stories about chareidim. They have even been known to make them up from wholecloth in the past.

    It is unfortunate that a few wackos have given them an opportunity. But, being wackos, no cheirem is going to stop them.

    The Leftist Israeli media has always strove to portray chareidi women as repressed, depressed, second-class citizens who are constantly being restrained by men from doing what they’d really like to do if they only got the chance. They operate on blowing stories that have a “man bites dog” quality out of proportion.

  10. We should get together and throw this gang of thugs, criminal cult, out of the community of Israel – meaning they no longer are part of bnai Yisrael. That would make it clear that only this gang of no-goods are responsible for this media frenzy against chareidim, and the chareidim could again feel secure in their communities. What would the hateful media then have to say!


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