Monday, June 8, 2009

Here's where my tolerance ends עצור! גבול סובלנותי לפניך

For some strange reason, Gideon Levy suddenly decided to champion the cause of the poor, maligned ultra-Orthodox עברית who want to move into the secular stronghold of Ramat Aviv. As another columnist already responded*, we non-Orthdox don’t go into “their” neighborhoods and attempt to familiarize their young people with humanism, so the Ramat Avivians’ indignation is justified.

I also have a problem with Levy’s terming the Ramat Avivians’ justified indignation “anti-Semitism”, a deliberately inciteful use of a loaded term. Because I hate Jews coercing other Jews into giving up their freedom so that we all live in a Torah-pure environment, that makes me anti-Semitic? I don’t think so. I think it makes me anti-coercion. Requiring that I tolerate the intolerant is taking PC-ness too far, or to quote Tevye, “If I bend that far, I’ll break”. I cannot condone intolerance in the name of tolerance.

Besides, it’s hard for me to believe that Levy doesn’t realize that the ultra-Orthodox are in the same camp as his “beloved” settlers, the only difference being each group’s respective priorities: The former prioritize bringing about the redemption by adhering to the commandments and trying to get as many of us as possible to join them; while the latter prioritize bringing about the redemption by settling the Greater Land of Israel. But make no mistake about it: Both see the redemption as embodying a theocracy no less terrifying than that of, say, Iran. And, just because the ultra-Orthodox are infiltrating Ramat Aviv and not some hilltop in Samaria doesn’t mean their goals aren’t the same as the settlers’.

As Levy wrote yesterday, sipping espresso on Sheinkin עברית is not mutually exclusive to being a productive ― and yes, patriotic ― citizen, any more than does sipping espresso on the Champs d’Elysee or Fifth Avenue. Yet, sipping espresso on Sheinkin is antithetical to living in fill-in-the-blank-with-the-name-of-your-favorite-settlement. What Levy fails to acknowledge is that sipping espresso on Sheinkin is also antithetical to the ultra-Orthodox world, even though the latter doesn’t confine itself to a specific locale, as do the settlers. They’re one and the same, Levy; you can’t evade this truth.

*I searched for the response, but couldn't find it. All I recall is that it was written by someone named Carl.

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