Haredi attack on child – Australian Progressive movement takes action

January 3, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The Union for Progressive Judaism has written to Israeli Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu expressing their concern over the recent public behaviour demonstrated by members of Israel’s Haredi community.

Steve Denenberg

In a media release, executive director of  the UPJ, Steve Denenberg, said: “It is always a strange feeling when an issue that has caused huge concern amongst those “in the know” suddenly hits the headlines and causes an entire nation to erupt with indignation.  On one hand, there is a concern about the possible repercussions of the truth being seen for all its ugliness.  At the same time, though, there is the sense of relief and vindication that efforts to combat a social evil have been justified.

This is exactly the feeling that we and the 26 congregations and communal organisations that we represent, along with our colleagues in the Progressive movements in Israel and around the world, experience as the efforts of the Haredi minority to make Israel a society segregated by gender are exposed as un-democratic, un-Jewish – and unacceptable.

The Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC) has been fighting these excesses for years and their efforts to expose the insidious efforts of people who use religion as an excuse to discriminate against women have been tireless.

The revulsion felt by the vast majority of Israeli society at the sight of a Haredi man spitting on an 8-year old girl because of her “immodesty” will hopefully encourage the Government to act decisively against these groups and not allow their so-called religiosity to protect them from the rule of law and the demands of a democratic society.

We have written to Prime Minister Netanyahu in order to offer support and encouragement for him and his Government to stand up to those groups in the hope that this will lead them to take further action to ensure that Israel becomes the inclusive and democratic state described in the Declaration of Independence and longed for by Jews around the world, including within the State itself.

President of the UPJ David Robinson was the co-signatory with Denenberg in the following letter to the Israeli PM:

Dear Prime Minister,

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu

It is with great concern over recent events in Israel that we write on behalf of 26 Congregations and Communal organisations across Australia, New Zealand and Asia in order to offer support and encouragement for you and your Government to stand up to those groups seeking to make Israel a country of gender segregation and discrimination.  

It is clear that the vast majority of Israelis have no desire for the fundamentalist minority in the community to impose their extreme views and code of behaviour on others.  We hope that you and your Government will be strengthened in acting against the extremists by knowing that Jews around the world join in condemning their behaviour and their efforts to take Israel along the path of exclusion and discrimination.

It is our hope that you will lead the way in not only condemning these acts, but by taking real action to ensure that Israel becomes the inclusive and democratic state described in the Declaration of Independence and longed for by Jews around the world, including within the State itself.   

Denenberg told J-Wire: “Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, is aware of the letter and has assured me that the Prime Minister will read it.”

 

Comments

One Response to “Haredi attack on child – Australian Progressive movement takes action”
  1. Emes says:

    Many have condemned the horrific acts of this extremist minority within the Bet Shemesh charedi community. One would hope that additional charedi rabbis – the only ones whom the extremists might possibly listen to (but haven’t, thus far) – will condemn such acts as perversions of halachah and Jewish morals.

    A notable condemnation from the major Charedi organisation in the US – the Agudath Israel of America – can be viewed here: http://www.vosizneias.com/97776/2011/12/28/new-york-agudath-israel-acts-of-violence-by-self-appointed-zealots-are-beyond-moral-jewish-behavior

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