Monday, January 21, 2008

Count me in.

I doubt seriously there's anyone who reads my blog that doesn't already know this - but I am posting it anyway to add another voice to the blogisphere.

At Emet ve-Emunah, Harry Maryles had this to say yesterday:

I am at my wits end and am shaking as I write this. A short while ago, les than a couple of hours as of this writing, an innocent man was severely beaten in Ramat Bet Shemesh. I just received a phone call from a source informing me of this. Why was he beaten? What was his crime? It was organizing a peaceful protest against exactly this kind of violence a couple of months ago. His car was vandalized. The windows were smashed. And he was beaten to a pulp!

An observant and Ehrliche Jew who cares about his community, who dared to sugest that his community be a peaceful one... one of tolerance and acceptance… has just paid a very heavy price for expressing that desire.

This incident follows a letter I received less than 24 hours ago. It is from another resident of a Ramat Bet Shemesh neighborhood called Sheinfeld. He informed me of new threat violence from a Charedi neighbor… one who had just moved into a new development adjacent to his. The threat is described in a communication by a community leader to the residents of that neighborhood. Here it is:

One of the families that already moved in received their second letter this week from the Recido buildings (…Buildings which are the beginning of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet and are filled with only Chareidim) across the street regarding a television they had that faced the street. The first letter simply asked them to remove it, but the second letter included a threat- basically that if any harm falls on them or their belongings, they (the Recido residents) cannot be held responsible, since they (the new family) had ignored the first warning.

I don’t know what is happening to the beautiful community I see when I go there. But things are getting so out of control that it frightens me...


And today:

The victim’s name is Tuvia Stern. He is a Charedi. He lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh B and he is a hero who has paid a price! An American Oleh, he is man of conviction who stood up to these Charedi terrorist thugs! And now he lies in a hospital after being severely beaten by people from his own community!...

...The entire community of Ramat Bet Shemesh A, Charedi and Dati alike ought to unite. This outrage transcends all Hashkafos. The goal is to rid this community of the Charedi terrorist thugs primarily by putting them in jail for a long time... to the maximum extent of time the law provides for these crimes. There has to be maximum cooperation with the police.

The homes of the Ramat Bet Shemesh Rabbanim should be peacefully picketed. The Rabbanim of Ramat Bet Shemseh A should unite in opposition to the violent Charedi terrorists and lead the way in demanding that the entire community cooperate with the police. To the extent possible Rabbanim from Ramat Bet Shemesh B be should be invited to join forces with them. Those Rabbanim that refuse should be publicized as terrorist sympathizers in magazines, newspapers, and billboard posters....

...Another source has actually had contact with the victim’s family. Here is what he told me:

One of the main leaders of the gang of thugs in RBS is Avrohom Yitzchak Mermelstein.

He lives at: 6 Karlin Blvd, unit 304

His phone number is: 845-781-8025

First, I implore all residents of Ramat Bet Shemesh to refrain from any violence against this individual. We are not the terrorists. But this individual should not be left alone either. He needs to know that there will be consequences to his actions. He needs to be picketed peacefully but relentlessly. He should never be allowed to go anywhere without the escort of picketers… potential witnesses to his crimes of terror, whether they be directly committed by him or instigated by him.

Let Tuvia Stern know that we stand by him and that his acts of courage that resulted in his being so severely being beaten will not be in vein.

Post script: My source arranged for me to speak to the victim. I got off the phone with him moments ago. He graciously consented to give me his e-mail address:

tuvya.stern@yahoo.com

Please send letters of support.


DovBear said yesterday:

I'm waiting for a statement from the Orthodox Jew who was brutally attacked by zealots yesterday in Ramot Bet Shemesh. I hope to have it soon.

In the meantime, if you are offended as I am about the ongoing Orthodox Jew-on-Orthodox Jew violence in that city please take twenty seconds today to do something about it. My suggestions:

1 - Write the Haredi Members of Knesset and tell them they are standing by while a chilul hashem of monsterous proportions is being carried out by men who dress like them and look them. Tell them the Orthodox Jewish world is watching and waiting for one of them to stand up for justice. You can start with MK Moshe Gafni [mgafni@knesset.gov.il] MK Meir Porush [mporush@knesset.gov.il] and MK Yaakov Litzman [litzman@knesset.gov.il]

2 - Contact Yitzchak "beyond the pale" Alderstan via the comment section at his blog and ask him if labels like "beyond the pale" are reserved for Nosson Slifkin, or if maybe he can find the energy/guts to criticize the barbarians of RBS as powerfully as he's criticized woman prayer groups.

3 - Contact Avi Shafron at Aggudah and ask him to please summon some outrage. His ire and indignation are never in short supply when a Reform Jew says something positive about homosexuals. Ask him why his voice has vanished now that Orthodox Jews like you and me are under attack in Ramot Bet Shemesh. While you're at it contact the editor of YeshivaWorld (via the blog) and ask him to stop being such an insufferable coward.

4 - ...I'm reminded that Rabbi Horowitz has previously condemned the outrageous behavior of the RBS haredim. He deserves our thanks. DovBear regrets the error.

5 - Call Kupat Hair and tell them that you're cutting them off - no more donations, period - until they affirm that our contributions are not being used to support the hooligans of RBS.

6 - Call Moshe Friedman 972-57-317-7844 and tell him you've seen his name and words attached to almost every RBS story published in an Israeli paper. Tell him he appears to be a spokesman for the community. Tell him you want an unequivocal denouncement of the attacks, and if it isn't immediately forthcoming tell him he is neither a man nor a Jew.

7 - Put this post on your own blogs.

Its time to say enough. Its time to push back. The world, or at least the Orthodox Jewish world, is watching.

And today:

See it here: http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2008/01/haredi-man-beaten-in-bet-shemesh-last.html

Harry Maryles and others are reporting that this cowardly attack was organized by one Avraham Yitzchak Mermelstein.

I've verified this independently. You can reach this man at 845-781-8025. Tell him DovBear says hello, and that we're all sick to our stomach.


Like the couple in Kiryat Joel recently who suffered harassment and vandalism, hatred and intolerance in our communities starts with "pranks" - but it doesn't end there. Thugs who think they have a right to intimidate and coerce people to adopt their stringencies are criminals, pure and simple. They have appointed themselves supreme power over people who aren't even part of their shul - it's meshugganah. We cannot tolerate this. These people need to be punished so hard and so thoroughly than no self-righteous holier-than-thou terrorist ever even thinks about harassing anyone else ever again.

No comments: