The end of racism and incitement: Based on many recent harsh expressions from politicians about the chareidi community, and in the wake of difficult steps against the chareidi public, the chairman of UTJ, MK Rabbi Yaakov Asher, has introduced the amendment to the Law of Racism according to which those who incite against the chareidi public will be brought to court.
Rabbi Asher initiated the amendment in reaction to the recent frequent incidents in which foremost political figures, both on the national and municipal arenas, have made it almost a policy to abuse the chareidim verbally and in action by outright declaration and actual steps to thwart the Torah public and deny them their rights. Concurrently, the office of the Attorney General determined, in a most precedential manner, that such conduct is not considered racial provocation is not considered racism and is therefore not against the law, since the chareidim do not constitute a racial group as defined by the law. As a result many expressions that are criminal when applied to particular racial groups, can be used with impunity against the chareidi community.
This brought Rabbi Asher to formulate an amendment to the original law whereby racial provocation or abusive statements against the chareidi public be incorporated into the law so that inciters are prosecuted, just like those expressing racism on the basis of national or ethnic origin and so on. This amendment has been presented in the Knesset and will be dealt with as soon as the next Knesset session is convened, following the upcoming national elections, and will be voted upon at the first session of the 22nd Knesset.
Comments on the amendment explain in writing that, "against the background of increasing provocation against the chareidi community which was perpetrated by public front line representatives seeking to divide the nation and achieve political gain at the expense of an entire section of the population, and to foment hatred and racism against chareidim. It is also in reaction to the response of the attorney general's office to a complaint presented according to which `the base of criminal intent of racial incitement does not apply to abusive expressions against the chareidi public, since the law defines racism as applying only to incidents including statements against color, race or national origin.
"It is imperative to amend the law immediately since the chareidi public is not defined by those categories of color etc. but is different and definable because of attire and lifestyle. Thus, it is not logical to exclude them from the law. The suspicion surfaces that the state's reply would evoke additional incidents of racism and provocation against the chareidi sector."