Journalist Amnon Levi speaks to Yaron Dekel concerning incitement against the Charedi community due to their failure to stand during the alarm on Yom HaZikaron:
YD: Welcome to the journalist Amnon Levi.
AL: Shalom Yaron.
YD: Let’s talk about one sector that is always portrayed in TV as one who does not respect the siren, and that is the Charedi sector.
AL: Yes, the truth is that for many years I have wanted to talk about this, and even to speak sharply, because in my eyes this is an example of ugly, blunt incitement against the charedim with this topic.
AL: You see, in truth every year they take photos of the charedim in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem that are not standing at the time of the siren on the Memorial Day for the IDF casualties.
This is ugly. Why? Because, first of all, it’s not at random that they select Memorial Day as the day to take pictures of them there. They also do not stand during the siren on Holocaust Remembrance Day that occurs exactly a week before! Last week as well, during the siren on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the charedim didn’t stand.
The more “Orthodox” charedim, let’s say – and by the way there are parts of the charedim that do stand during the siren – to the vast majority of them, the siren is very difficult to them, and they don’t stand on Holocaust Remembrance Day either.
You are saying that Holocaust Remembrance Day – this is not the casualties of the IDF that they are accused of alienating – this is their father and their mother, entire chassidic groups were consumed in the Holocaust, so you cannot say that the charedim have no interest in the Holocaust!
So perhaps the reason is not one of respect or remembrance, and what there is here is incitement.
YD: Incitement of who? Of the secular community against the charedim?
AL: Look, there is a secularist coercion here. You know, they talk so much about…
YD: What about respecting our feelings, us the secular people that do stand?
AL: Let’s talk about this for a moment, ok? I just want to say one thing. We the secular people love to say so many times that there is a religious coercion, and here is a clear case of secularist coercion.
Because if a religious Jew, charedi Jew, in all the ways of his life wants to separate himself from the ways of the nations and to go on his way, which is according to the code of the Halacha and Jewish way of behaving – for a religious Jew, to respect the dead is done by saying Kaddish for them, saying Kel Maaleh Rachamim for them, there is a very clear code of behavior.
Alarms, flowers, a bouqet with a black bow, this is not part of their code.
YD: 100%, and what about respect for the majority of secular people who respect, or other religious people who respect, the IDF casualties with a moment of silence?
AL: Come let me ask you: imagine that tomorrow, Shas becomes the ruling party.
AL: Or another charedi party, even more extreme, and it says, we want to respect the memory of IDF casualties – but in our way! Therefore at 11:00 am on Memorial Day, there is no moment of silence siren,
AL: Everybody, including you, the secular Yaron Dekel, is obligated to come to the synagogue to say Kaddish in memory of the fallen.
YD: Then we would say no, this doesn’t even come to mind!
AL: This is exactly the point. This is exactly the point, Yaron! We demand too much of them. Why shouldn’t we respect [their way]? You know they too have casualties, they too have dead. Why wouldn’t each and every one respect the dead in his way? This has no connection whatsoever to disrespect of the memory of the fallen soldiers. It is ugly to say this. It is incitement.
Because we know it! Everyone that is even a little familiar with the ways of charedi society knows it! This has no connection whatsoever to respect of the dead.
YD: I must say that I don’t remember hearing such things, especially not from someone who is secular. These are things that you would usually hear from charedi spokespeople, but we never heard them from a secular journalist.
AL: See, you need to know the charedim a little bit to understand, truly just a little, that this is not the issue. In the last few years, a patriotic national wave has flooded the charedim, in a way that their rabbis perceive a threat. The whole issue of saying it’s alienation against the dead, and they are not serving in the army at all, so this is why they don’t care about those who died… this is so low, this is so crooked, this is so…
YD: Is there no truth in it?
AL: There is no truth in it, but there is another one truth in it, a very big one, our lack of tolerance by us. You know I see it during the siren you mainly…
YD: And also in the intolerance of charedim towards eating Chametz on Passover, so this is reciprocal, it’s not one-sided.
AL: 100%, 100%. But I say during the siren I stand and think about myself and my friends. I’m not glancing to the side to see who is not standing.
YD: Amnon Levi.
Thanks to Tzippy Yarom for her translation of this video.