S P E C I A L S

For the week ending 31 December 2011 / 4 Tevet 5772

Why Do They Hate Religious Jews?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Insights into the current anti-religious campaign
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The current campaign in Israel to demonize the religious community as discriminators against women must be understood by analyzing the motives of leftist politicians and media. Anyone familiar with the lifestyle of Jews whose lives are governed by Torah law is aware that this campaign is based on lies and an old anti-Semitic tactic of blaming an entire community for the excesses of a few.

The motive of the politicians has already been exposed in a Knesset debate following a motion of no-confidence in the government put forth by the Kadima party on the issue of the alleged religious discrimination against women. Minister of Culture Limor Livnat of the Likud blasted Kadima-head Tzippi Livni, accusing her of exploiting this issue for political advantage in anticipation of primaries which may soon take place in her party. Livnat came under fire from the Opposition when she voiced her opinion that religious Jews should be allowed to conduct their lives according to their religious principles.

Another criticism of the motive of the leftist parties was voiced by the Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, Rabbi Moshe Gafni of the Torah Jewry party. He saw the anti-religious campaign as an attempt by the Opposition to bring down the government which is a coalition of right wing and religious parties. "If we would only agree to join the Left in a coalition government," he said, "the anti-religious campaign would immediately come to an end."

What about the media? Why do radio, television and the secular press project the issue of discrimination as the most important topic of the news?

In addition to the media's familiar leftist leaning there is the motive of blowing up an issue in order to gain higher ratings of listeners, viewers and readers. No wonder then that television crews invaded the religious community of Beit Shemesh in order to provoke protests which could be portrayed as violent.

It is truly remarkable that the real issues of a nuclear Iran and the upheavals in the Arab world have given way to this outpouring of hatred of some Jews of those who are faithful to Torah law. Can it be the fear that the religious community will someday become the majority? The Central Bureau of Statistics recently reported that in the year 2059 religious Jews will represent forty percent of the nation's population with the secular element behind them.

Jews who have remained loyal to their faith despite persecution from non-Jews will not be fazed by the propaganda of fellow Jews and look with hope that the number of Jews returning to their religious roots will continue to grow and bring an end to self-destructive hatred.

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