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Monday, July 20, 2009
Posted by Jameel @ The Muqata at 7/20/2009 07:14:00 PM
This past shabbat, many people asked me about my posting concerning the Ultra Orthodox riots in Jerusalem this past week -- resulting from the alleged "deliberate starvation" of a 3 year old child by his mother.
Many asked me - "Why defend them" -- many commented, "Their riots are a Chilul Hashem" and "the mother should be locked up."
So, I would like to clarify a few points.
1. My oldest teenage son couldn't stop ranking on the Chareidi behaviour and riots. My wife replied to him very clearly: "Don't generalize." I wasn't defending the riots -- my only point was perhaps their was more to meets the eye in the mother's actions.
2. As you can see from the pashkevil/posters alongside this post, Hadassah hospital is clearly indicted by the Chareid community as having plotted this entire episode (including all sorts of really awful condemnations).
3. A friend of mine from Hadassah hospital stated unequivocally that there hospital's medical allegations of the child's treatment are true.
4. Last night, there are reports that the hospital's director and senior medical staff met leaders of the Jerusalm Chareidi community to stop the accusations against them and the hospital -- for the sake of the hospital, and also for the sake of the Chareidi community -- they will lose just as much if they start to boycott the hospital.
5. In addition to the vandalism and rioting, one of the most disturbing aspects of this story is the behavior of the Jerusalem Police and Jerusalem's Welfare/Social services department. This entire story could have had a different ending had an investigation into the mother's health been conducted prior to the media circus that the "mother intentionally starved her son". While this could have been done tactfully, someone decided that a show of force would be the best way of handling the story.
When you force any community that already feels threatened -- and push their back against the wall, the reaction is usually violent. Yet that's how Israel's police loves to handle things --Amona, outpost evictions, Gush Katif, and now this story as well.
The police takes pride in violent, physical, and hyped up circumstances -- as a means of warped public relations, showing that "they are the boss."
This isn't a new concept. Previous Labor (and then Kadima) Member of Knesset Chaim Ramon was asked on Ted Koppel's nightline show about the passive civil disobedience protesters in 1995 -- who opposed the Oslo process. Ramon unashamedly faced Koppel and said, "we will crush them."
"Crush them" -- what a lovely way of dealing with those you disagree with.
And turning this story into a media circus, publicly accusing an obviously sick woman of intentional criminal behavior, without even obtaining the court ordered psychiatric evaluation of the mother prior to her arrest -- snowballed into the mess we now have.
Jerusalem...and Israel have enough problems as is -- a tiny bit of "sechel" is needed, especially now.
The riots need to stop. The mother needs psychiatic evaluation. The police and social workers need to get a clue about PR.
Update: There have been 2 cases today of Chareidim who refused ambulance medical transport to Hadassah hospital, and insisted on going to Shaarey Tzedek instead.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד