Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Adar 5759 - March 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Opinion & Comment
Who Is Our Real Enemy in Israel?
by Rabbi Nochum Eisenstein

The unprecedented mass demonstration by Orthodoxy two weeks ago is a clear proof of truth of the ideas that I have been advocating the past several months, namely, that the Orthodox in Israel represent a significant part of the population and that they care about the deteriorating status quo of religious rights in Israel.

The counter demonstration of secular Israelis was not even 10% of the size of the Orthodox demonstration. I call them secular Israelis since the Reform and Conservative have no real members in Israel who are interested in their distorted presentation of religion. The Reform and Conservative are being used by the anti-religious secular population to undermine religion and the religious people of Israel. They do not really support Reform and Conservative which they are not even members of -- they are only fighting the Orthodox. It is important that this be made clear so that we can properly assess who are our real enemies in order to wage our counter battle against the real targets.

The Reform and Conservative, who have no following in Israel, are being used by their Meretz counterparts to fight battles in the name of democracy and equal representation. The Meretz people say they also want representation on the Religious Councils, for example, which they are entitled to according to the law. Up until recently they never exercised this right, since they wanted nothing to do with religion. Now they exercise their right to representation and send the Reform to represent them.

In a newspaper appeal in the secular press Amos Oz, a non religious intellectual, and 20 of his colleagues called upon the secular public to become members of the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel, in order to increase their almost nonexistent membership. Oz realizes that without real members the Reform and Conservative bluff will soon become evident.

Meretz does not want the Reform and Conservative in their ranks. This is obvious from the Meretz primaries which excluded Meir Ezri, the so called chairman of the Reform "Rabbis" in Israel, from a realistic slot on their upcoming Knesset list. These same Meretz leaders are using every possible method to infiltrate Reform and Conservative members into the Orthodox religious councils.

The hypocrisy is evident -- the so-called Reform and Conservative supporters commonly known as Meretz told Mr. Ezri that he has no place in their Knesset list for the obvious reason that Reform and Conservative voters are almost nonexistent in Israel, and therefore a representative of them would not bring in any votes. Still they help the Reform and Conservative force their way into the Orthodox religious councils.

In America the campaign against the Reform and Conservative should be directed at 1] The uneducated masses who are led to think falsely that Reform and Conservative is religion; 2] Those who call themselves Orthodox and still cooperate with these heretic groups in spite of a clear universal ban from all gedolei Yisroel.

Here in Israel our efforts must be in other directions. In Israel there are virtually no Reform and Conservative lay members, and the Israeli public is not fooled by Reform and Conservative misrepresentation of religion. In Israel one who decides to practice Judaism knows that some kind of Orthodoxy is the only answer. If he has not yet seen the light of the Torah, he remains secular and nonobservant.

An article published in Ha'aretz by its resident chareidi "expert," Shachar Ilan, clearly confirms these facts. The article quotes a survey commissioned by Ha'aretz that of the 20 who signed the appeal to join the Reform and Conservative movements, only two actually attended services at one of the temples that Shabbos. Thus, no new participating members joined the ranks of Reform and Conservative, despite a massive and expensive advertising campaign.

Furthermore, Yair Tzaban, one of those who signed, clearly said that by his own beliefs he cannot be a member of any religious group, no matter how liberal, and that he was doing it only as a "temporary" and "emergency" measure.

Therefore our battle in Israel is political. Our efforts must be directed against the Israeli High Court which automatically supports the almost nonexistent Reform and Conservative. What a farce is the court for forcing these people who have no real members to be given a seat on the religious council.

Those politicians who took part in our mass rally and tried to camouflage the real purpose of the protest are not our representatives. I specifically refer to the Sephardi Chief Rabbi who justified his participation in the rally saying that it was not more than atzeres tefilla and Rabbi Chaim Drukman who supposedly represented Bnei Akiva yeshivas, but minutes before the rally refused to sign on the decisions of the rally since they specifically mentioned the High Court.

To conclude I again emphasize that in every battle it is most important to determine the real enemy. In this battle our enemies are the Israeli secular courts and the anti-Orthodox Israeli public -- we must remember that Reform and Conservative don't really exist in Israel.

The harsh punishment for Amolek was because they mixed into a machlokes which was not theirs. They were not affected and had no reason to attack Klal Yisroel.

The Reform and Conservative are mixing into an ongoing battle that the secular Israelis are launching against Am Yisroel hayosheiv betzion. To them we say mind your own business ve'al tikoneis leriv lo lochem. Take a lesson from Amolek.

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