Unfair Portrayal Of Haredim


I find the coverage of recent events regarding the haredim extremely biased and one-sided (“Beyond Beit Shemesh,” Jan. 6).

You condemn the haredi rabbis for not coming out against the Sicarrim (the small band of militant protesters). Nothing can be further from the truth. The haredi rabbis have been condemning them and trying to combat them for years. Every time they discover someone as part of the group the person is immediately put in cherem [publicly shunned]. Just recently the daughter of a chasidic rebbe was beaten up by the Sicarrim because of his public opposition to them.

Outside of a few media outlets, no one has tried to get the haredi side, like how they have been fighting these thugs for years and how the media has only empowered the Sicarrim. Out of 50,000 haredim who live in Beit Shemesh, a group of about 30 people (who comprise the Sicarrim, according to the mayor’s office and the police) has been portrayed as mainstream.

After years of persecution and discrimination by general Israeli society, the haredim have finally been moving into society. Record numbers of haredim are serving in the army, graduating college, and getting professional jobs, all with the support of the rabbis. The bigots hate that fact and that their fantasy image of the evil, lazy haredim is crashing down around them. These critics want the haredim to remain the whipping boy for all of Israel’s ills and are mounting the campaign of faux outrage and selectively edited, or even falsified, articles to poison the world against the haredim.

Unfortunately The Jewish Week has played right into their hands and has even printed false and bigoted comments about the haredim.