At the back of the hill

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Friday, July 13, 2007


Biggest spitfest on the blogs this past week: The discussion about Amnon De Hartog knocking Knesset-member Ya'akov Cohen to the floor.

What happened is this: in a 'debate' over funding for Hareidi schools which do not meet the standards for certain allocations, Attorney De Hartog, on behalf of the executive branch of the Israeli government, informed Ya'akov Cohen of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party that approval would not be granted. Mr. Cohen got angry and said some things. Whereupon Attorney Amnon De Hartog said he would slap Cohen. Cohen responded "I'm waiting". And De Hartog did not let him wait anymore.

Two things especially should be noted:
1. It is Attorney De Hartog's job to ensure that every organization receiving funds actually qualifies. In that task he has blocked funding across the board, to organizations running the gamut from horrifyingly secular to sickeningly religious. The record shows that he has been honest and thorough.
2. The UTJ and Shas have both put pressure on Amnon De Hartog to break the law and pass funding for schools and programs which do not qualify. Because he failed to do so, certain elements in the Hareidi block have mounted a vicious campaign of harassment and character-assassination against him, going so far as to slander him in print and turn members of his own synagogue against him. This has been going on for years.

Now, what was it that Member of Knesses Rabbi Ya'akov Cohen said to De Hartog that elicited that slap?

"You are worse than the Germans. The Germans killed the body, you are killing the soul."

In effect, Mr. Cohen told De Hartog that he was worse than the very same Nazis who slaughtered over twenty of De Hartog's close relatives in the Netherlands during the holocaust - and it should be remembered that over eighty percent of Dutch Jewry were killed during the war.

Cohen. Said. That. He. Was. Worse. Than. Those. Who. Had. Murdered. De Hartog's. Family. And. Community.

Either Cohen is a remarkably ignorant piece of work with blinkers to boot, or he just has a low opinion of Dutch Jews in general.
Or, as De Hartog called him, Cohen is indeed a behaima.

In which Dov postulates that the Cohen fellow may have needed slapping.
In which Dov provides a link to another excellent blog.
Slapping in American politics.
Dov takes issue with Ed defending Cohen and attacking De Hartog.

In which, in his third point, he mentions the Behaima-slapping episode.
Mention of Dovbear's blog.
Which provides a more balanced perspective than many of us have been capable of to date.

What I REALLY think should have happened...
Dehartug: Um, bro, listen: You're schools aren't meeting the legal criteria, so according to the law I can't let you have the cash.
MK Cohen: Oh, I quite understand. And what you're saying is true. Our schools do fall short of the legal criteria, but I assure you that we still provide excellent educations.
Dehartug: Good sir, I don't doubt your assertion, but the law is the law.
MK Cohen: I quite agree. Well thank you for your time. Good day, sir.

Dehartug: Um, bro, listen: You're schools aren't meeting the legal criteria, so according to the law I can't let you have the cash.


Capping it all off, here's what Member of Knesset Avraham Ravitz said afterwards:
"Hartog attempted to expel the Haredim from Israeli society as if we were Darfur refugees, to keep us from receiving the bare minimum. The slap demonstrates the hate he has accumulated, merely because we tell him to his face what we think about his tricky tactics --- The master doesn't like it when the Jewboy tells him to his face what he thinks about him."

It should be noted that this is a frumm Jew speaking of another frumm Jew. Speaking in fact, of a frumm Jew who is a Hesder Yeshiva graduate and a religious Zionist.

There are several things one could say about people like Avraham Ravitz, Ya'akov Cohen, and their ilk in UTJ. Rather than going into detail, I wish to merely state that they should learn what the following terms mean: Ahavas Yisroel; Derech Eretz; Lashon Hara, Rechilus, Motzi Shem Ra'a, Ona'as Dvorim, Nibul Peh.....

Final note: De Hartog apologized publicly and completely for the slap. As of this writing, all Mr. Cohen has done is kvetch. He has not apologized for his odious statement at all.

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  • At 9:43 AM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    heh heh... you said "ilk" ...

    by the way, tag, you're it!

  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger Nikol said…

    While I mostly agree with your post, this article by Obadiah Shoher presents the haredim in somewhat different light Shoher argues against haredim isolating themselves from other Jews instead of bringing the religion to masses.


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