Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

24 Shevat 5759 - Feb. 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Huge Protest Rally to Protest Secular Incitement Campaign

by B. Kahn

A huge rally has been scheduled for the coming Sunday, the 28th of Shevat in Jerusalem. The rally will protest the antisemitism and incitement being perpetrated against the chareidi community, the autocratic Israeli judicial system and the persecution of religion in Israel.

Last Monday, announcements of the rally were already posted in many conspicuous places throughout the city, such as at the entrance to the city, near the old bus terminal, and in many adjacent areas.

The planning committee of the massive rally said that since the rally will be only one of prayer, the students of all the city's educational institutions, from grade five and up, will be asked to participate in it. A special and large area for women and girls will also be set aside. Transportation for participants from other cites will be available.

The massive rally, which will express the unity among all elements of the religious and chareidi community and the deep pain these factors feel over the daily persecution of religion in the secular media and the judicial system, has been given a license by the Police Department. During the rally, on Jaffa Street near Binyanei Ha'Uma, special ushers will ensure public order, as suits such an event. In addition, the Police will grant the rally necessary protection, and special security guards will be present.

At 11 a.m., prior to the rally, the heads of the of its planning board will hold a special press conference in Beit Agron in Jerusalem, in which they will explain the purposes and procedures of the rally.

It is hoped that his will be the largest protest rally the Jewish world has seen in years. Similar protests are planned worldwide on the same day.

The rally, which will be attended by all of the gedolei hador as well as by rabbonim and leaders from the entire spectrum of religious and chareidi Jewry, will beseech the Borei Olom with heartfelt prayers to bring an end to this dark period in the annals of the Jewish people. The rally has been approved by the gedolei haTorah.

At a recent organizational meeting Rabbi Menachem Porush, who has a wealth of experience in these matters, noted the urgency of the issues on the current public agenda, since we are reverting, he said, to the situation which prevailed in Israel fifty years ago, at the incipient stages of the State.

"Currently, the wildest and cruelest form of anti-religious incitement is being waged against us. If we don't take drastic and immediate steps, we are liable to reach a stage of no return. Who knows how far things will go," Rabbi Porush said.

He added that the first step is the holding of this huge, unprecedented-in-scope rally, which will be primarily a prayer rally.

Rabbi Porush then mentioned the struggles which took place during the early years of the State, and said, "Today, as then, we must hold a mass prayer assembly to prove that we are not a negligible force and that we are capable of warding off all of the dangers which lie in ambush, waiting to assail us."

Rav Simcha Hacohen Kook, Chief Rabbi of Rechovot, spoke about the total destruction which the Reform movement has wreaked on world Jewry. "The Reform movement is not a religion which thus seeks freedom of religion. Its only purpose is to fight religion. It is interested only in waging a battle against all that is sacred that was given at Sinai. It is inconceivable to force Rav Ralbag, chairman of the Jerusalem Religious Council, to convene a council meeting with the Reform."

Rav Kook noted that "a prominent left winger had once called the Israeli flag a rag, but no measures were taken against him. But when another Jew tried to refute the idea that the flag is `sacred,' he was bitterly persecuted."

Rav Kook cited many other examples of discrimination against religious Jews and proposed that every Jew who attends the rally contribute a half a shekel for the cost of the NIS 30,000 fine imposed on Rabbi Ralbag by the High Court, and that the fine be brought to the authorities in sacks filled with coins.

Rabbi Yisroel Eichler, editor of Hamachane Hachareidi, said that we should learn from the propaganda methods of the Reform movement. "We should issue a call for a civil disobedience campaign," he said.

Rabbi Yaakov Litzman noted that the Attorney General opposes everything related to Judaism.

MK Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Lazerson said, "The entire Torah observant community from all circles and sectors must unite."

MK Rabbi Shmuel Halpert mentioned the provocative remarks made in the media by Labor MK Avraham (Beiga) Shochet against the chareidi community. These remarks, Rabbi Halpert said, bordered on appalling antisemitism, and are included in the category of "words which can kill." He then said that he had shown the prime minister the Manof organization's pamphlet, Words Can Kill, which cites many of the remarks made against the entire chareidi community.

At the end of the meeting, Rabbi Porush announced the establishment of three committees: an information committee, a committee for inviting gedolei haTorah and one for inviting prominent public figures to the rally.

The attendees at the meeting included: HaRav Chaim Brim, HaRav Simcha Hacohen Kook, HaRav Zundel Kroizer, Rabbi Moshe Frank, as well as Rabbi Yisroel Eichler, Rabbi Nachman Berland, Rabbi Nosson Greenberg, Rabbi Tzvi Haber, Rabbi Shmuel Halpert, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Weiner, Rabbi Yaakov Wertheimer, Rabbi Yitzchok Mattisyahu Tennenbaum, Rabbi David Yosef, Rabbi Tzvi Yaakobson, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Cohen, Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Lazerson, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, Rabbi Yehuda Mutzafi, Rabbi Chaim Miller, Rabbi Uri Maklev, Rabbi Moshe Salant, Rabbi Yehoshua Pollack, Rabbi Avrohom Yehuda Feiner, Rabbi Menachem Porush, Rabbi Naftoli Porush, Rabbi Yitzchok Ralbag, Rabbi Mordechai Shlomo Steinmetz, Rabbi David Simchon and Rabbi Yehuda Shapira.

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