Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rioting in the Holy City

As many of you know, there is a "Gay Pride Parade" planned to take place this week in Jerusalem despite aggressive opposition, mainly in the form of riots. This is in addition to an Israeli competitor recently acquiring the title of "Mr. Gay International" in Palm Springs.

Opposition to the parade reached a crescendo the past two days, with a fake bomb placed in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood and violent rioting instigated by haredim.
Late Sunday evening, a surprise decision by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to deny police requests to suspend the Jerusalem Gay Pride March planned for Friday set off urgent moves to reach a possible compromise.

[...]

Mazuz's decision quickly reverberated across Jerusalem's haredi neighborhoods, as residents of Mea She'arim, Geula and Romema took to the streets, blocking Rehov Sarei Yisrael and Kikar Shabbat with burning dumpsters and tires.

On Sarei Yisrael, people in the crowd threw rocks at police officers, and five protesters were detained for questioning. A failed attempt was made at blocking Rehov Tzefania and the major artery and frequent flashpoint Rehov Bar-Ilan, and similar protests were also held in Bnei Brak.
It was this effect - and worse - that police had feared when they held a situation assessment Sunday morning, at which the country's top law-enforcement officials decided that the risk to human life was too high to allow the parade to be held.


Full story
I am going to omit my own opinion of the situation, but please enjoy my vlog as an embedded observer on the front lines.

13 Comments:

Blogger netmessiah said...

Such a shanda. Why? Yes, they believe gays are defiling the Holy Land, but to destroy the Holy Land because of rifts in the Tribe? Nu!?!?! Isnt this why we lost the 2nd Temple!?!?!

Sun Nov 05, 06:55:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

No. As I recall, that was because of baseless hatred.

These riots are in opposition to open desecration of the Torah in Jerusalem. Whether open desecration of the Torah is a thing to riot about is another question altogether, and whether hatred is involved is another. But this is not baseless hatred, in any case.

Mon Nov 06, 10:08:00 AM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

And, if we're speaking about specific Jewish history, promiscuity was one of the main causes of the mabul. Which, apparently, made all of humanity deserving of destruction. But then again, that's just according to the Torah, and not everyone holds by that.

Mon Nov 06, 10:18:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe in tolerance for homosexuals, but I'm upset with their insensitivity to other groups that exist in the world around them. I understand where they come from, though. Personally, I'm not gay, but I understand that those who are are tired of living on the fringe and in the shadows of regular society. They don't want to live with what they believe is false sense of guilt for their activities.

Nonetheless, I think people in the gay rights movement need to be cognizant of others and their differences. By marching through Jerusalem they are trampling on the spiritual traditions of that city. Certainly, there are Jews in that group, who might view it as a march for progress, but there are going to be many non-Jewish, aetheists who will relish in giving a good slap to the face of the G-d responsible for Western civilization's abhorence to homosexuality.

As a I said, I'm not gay, so I can't trully assess how I would feel about this situation if I were, but I want to say that even if I were gay, I would respect the sensibilities of the people of Jerusalem, whether I agreed with them or not. Remember, "Tolerance is the oil which takes the friction out of life," and I believe some kind of basic, civil respect for others protects us from having other people's beliefs shoved down our throats in the name of goodness and progress. In my opinion, impressing a demand for acceptance of homosexuality is similar to impressing the belief on others that its a sin...the connection (for those who don't get it) ="don't tell me what to think."

Honestly, sometimes I'm not sure whether the Gay Rights Movement is making the right calls with their aggressive campaigning for Gay Marriage and this current march through Jerusalem...It's not that I don't support those activities, but rather I'm worried about creating extreme ill will with the rest of society. The Gay Rights Movement has come a long way in just a few decades. When I was a child just a few decades ago, in mainstream society, many men and women were still living in the closet...those who came out were worried about social ostractization and violence to a degree much higher than now... Now, we regularly see gay people on television, and in much of the country, people who act and talk prejudiced to gays are the ones to be punished and ostracized. Nonetheless, tolerance for homosexuality, in my opinion, has grown in this country mostly because the values of the U.S.A. are predicated on freedom and individualism. People believe in homosexual rights, not necessariy because they believe in homosexuality, but moreso because they believe in the rights of people to be who they are, the right to pursue one's individual happiness, and the right to live in freedom from other people's opinions. I would fear that by creating too much ill will with the rest of mainstream society, the Gay Rights Movement risks undoing much of the progress they've made over the last few decades, by creating a backlash.

......So, after going on that tangent, how do I get back to Jerusalem. Question: Is this march through Jerusalem about tolerance, or is this about acceptance? People in that march know they're going to the wrong place for acceptance, and this march is a statement to the religious communities to either change their belief structure or abandon it all together.

My Momma always used to say, "Pick your battles." Is this the right battle at the right time?

Mon Nov 06, 11:11:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Zev said...

In many ways I agree with Mr. Anonymous.

It would be extremely disrespectful for a parade of this nature to go on in Jerusalem. It's one thing if people want to hold a pride parade in places like LA or San Francisco where this would not offend a large bulk of the residents. But in Jerusalem this is obviously offensive to many sectors of the populace as well as many Jews/Christians/Muslems elsewhere.

I think the very values that many of the secular Israelis may think they're trying to promote by supporting the parade are really being twisted around and in fact are undermining their own values of having a safe refuge for their fellow Jews-you know Jews of all colors; Yemenite, Syrian, Morrocan, Iraqi, Persian, Litvish, Hassidic. Many of these groups still have large, flourishing communities of Torah observant Jews and an event like this in their home-town is not going to fly by very easily. Could you even imagine what it would be like for them? First of all it's rude because people at these kind of parades will probably not be wearing the most formal attire and this will be deemed immodest and perhaps a bad influence on the kids. Second of all the message that its sending-that it's alright for Jewish men to violate a severe commandment in the Torah is not going to be taken lightly by religious communities there.

It's like a bunch of yuppy, business people in fancy suits and cell phones marching down the road of some nudist colony comune saying they only wanted to get away and are just excercizing their rights to express themselves (in a complete inverse sort of way.)--it's extremely imposing, and inconsiderate.

Some might even go so far as to describe it as exporting globalization since its bringing something foreign into a place where the culture already has their own values and customs and does not necessarily want to have to accept new modern, secular, ideals from the arrogant West.

Forcing traditional/religious Jews (who live in Jerusalem of all places!) to be exposed to something like this in their own streets and putting upon them, what they see as, the shame that comes along with this parade being in Jerusalem is such an egregious act-it's beyond words. the Israeli gov. ought to be ashamed of their decision to disregard police experts and grant legitamacy to this parade.

I want to add that if I were in Jerusalem this week I feel I'd have a moral obligation to show support for the Haredi communities (who oftentimes have to put up with enough stuff from the government and from secular culture without such a parade) and I would certainly attend one of the counter protests. May they, b'ezrat Hashem, be successful and not let a single person take part in this parade.

Last thing: we should understand that it is not only Haredi Jews who are offended (while they might be the most outspoken at this point), the more modern religious (dati Jews) are also very opposed to the parade, as well as traditional Jews, as well as millions of people of other faiths who feel strongly that Jerusalem is a holy city and this is not something that should go on there.

Tue Nov 07, 03:36:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Rakdannit427 said...

Todah for the live footage Uriel. Be safe.

Hmmm... It's interesting how the blogwaves circulating from our liberal-leaning shtetl of SC could be tilted in the direction of the sanctimonious rioters.

Tell me, why ignite trashcans when a mass sit-down could have worked?

Our very own R. Shlomie Chein, in a Leviathan article from Spring/Summer 2006, emphasized how before a Jew could criticize another Jew, s/he must engage in self-introspection and scrutiny.

Who are these hooligans to decide to what extent the Torah is violated and the extent to which punishment is warranted?

I think the rioting is utterly reprehensible. Torah-esque? More like grotesque.

In their repudiation of queers, they have violated a host of commandments, including:

1). Lev. 19:16

2). Lev. 19:17


A friend last shabbes (a beautiful meal, btw) said something like this:

"Israel doesn't belong to the Israelis; it belongs to the Jews."

My own addition:

"Jerusalem belongs not just to the Haredim, but (in the the Jewish parts) to all Jews."

Wed Nov 08, 03:07:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said I (formerly anonymous) was supporting rioting. I just think a Gay Pride Parade through Jerusalem, in this day, is highly inappropriate and deliberately offensive.

People who demand acceptance, tolerance, and respect from others need to start learning how to reciprocate those kindnesses.

(sorry I keep forgetting my name and password...which is why I'm "anonymous." Really, I'm not trying to hide. This is "Veridian" speaking.)

Thu Nov 09, 04:04:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Fedora Black said...

Two short remarks:

1)

The land of Israel, and Jerusalem, does not ultimately belong to Israelis, Zionists, or even Haredim; it belongs to G-d. Let's remember what it say in parshas Acherai mot/Kedoshim:

'Don't let the land spit you out for having made it impure, as it
spit out the nation that was there before you.' (V'yikra 19.2)

The land itself cannot stand the unholy. When Jews do allow this the land, I fear what the land will do to us.

2)

This event is happening the week of parshas Vayeira, in which we learn of the fate of Sodom and Gamorah...don't for a moment fool yourselves into thinking that this is coincidence.

Thu Nov 09, 09:41:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Zev said...

Just for the record, don't assume I meant that I condone violent protesting or protesting that turns hostile in any way.

I figured people who were reading my comment would automatically understand that the issue at stake and the ways of going about reaching the desired results are two seperate things.

For instance, take some of the protests at UCSC. Sometimes certain individuals might have gone too far by creating an unnecessary hassle. Does this mean students should give it up and not have a say in their education or the institution that provides it?

Also just this morning I heard about a guy who is behind bars and is being labeled the 'eco-terrorist' for setting a few SUV's on fire at a dealership. Does this mean that everyone should abandon the struggle for less poluting/more sustainable means of transportation?

In both these instances the way certain marginal individuals went about trying to achieve their goals does not at all detract from the virtue that is inherrent in what they were trying for (albeit in very innappropriate manners).

So all I was trying to get at is that I feel if I were in Jerusalem I'd side with the people opposed to the parade and I would participate in some form of protest--if this means only signing a petition, so be it. But I think we have to remember that the Hareidim who are going overboard in their protests (and are threatening other Jews with actual violence against them) are a very small minority--to the best of my knowledge, and many of the rabbis who are just as vociferously opposed to the parade are also speaking out to make sure their students and followers don't do things that would be contrary to Jewish Law.

Fri Nov 10, 12:41:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of you guys have any idea what you are talking about. First of all Jerusalem is not a predominatly religious city. Second, The march is not taking place in neighborhoods that are predominatly religious. Third the attitude that Charedim have about homosexuality is not about religious zeal as much as it is about blind hatred. There is in fact alot of closet homosexuality going on in the charedi world, and by labling homosexuality as evil they condem many of their own sons to a life of enourmous guilt and unsafe sex lives. True homosexuality is against the Torah but if they really want to do something about upholding torah values they need to start with love for their fellow jew.
Rioting and senseless violence and destruction is what create the rift between secular and religious jews and makes communication impossible.

Sun Nov 12, 01:29:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

I don't know if anyone said that Jerusalem is predominently religeous, which it may or may not be, but it is the holiest city on Earth and religious communities in Jerusalem and around the world (from three of the world's most populous religions) are very, very sensitive to matters like the one under discussion. Especially when it is meant to take place in the holiest city on Earth.

As far as "creating a rift between secular and religious jews"... don't you think there is already a major rift when one group comes in and says "we want to normalize homosexuality" and that group is very aware that the other group has a Torah world-view which prohibits homosexual acts?

If we are to talk of hate (which I think is probably not relevant to the discussion) it's just as likely that a group that wants to make a statement normalizing homosexuality in Jerusalem hates Torah-observers and Torah values.

Also, who said that the majority of the people in the parade were even Jewish?

As far as there being "alot of closet homosexuality going on in the charedi world," that is a very interesting statement and I would be interested in seeing the proof to back that up. Because I could just as easily say that all of the homosexual friends that I've ever had in the secular world led habitually unsafe sex lives of their own volition. Which may or may not be true.

Wed Nov 15, 02:28:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You bigots make me ill.

Wed Nov 29, 08:37:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous tziporah said...

very well done.

Wed Dec 06, 12:29:00 PM 2006  

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